is cereal good or bad for dogs? this dog doesn't care!

Is Cereal Good or Bad For Dogs?

It is so funny watching dogs crunching on cereals with pleasure. There is no doubt that they love it and would gobble down a bowl of it if they have a chance to. But would it be safe for your dog to do that? Is cereal good or bad for dogs? We will answer all these questions in this article.

Is Cereal Good or Bad for Dogs?

There are a lot of different types of cereals, and they all contain different ingredients. But there is one common ingredient convinces us to say cereal is bad for dogs, which is sugar. Other than that, there are a lot of different ingredients in cereals that can cause some serious issues for dogs.

Let’s look at the most common ones found in all the cereals and evaluate the problems they can cause for dogs.

Common Ingredients Found in Cereals


We already mentioned that sugar is the common denominator of all the cereal products. Most dog owners already know that sugar is not supposed to be in a dog’s diet because they’re not naturally built to eat sugar.

Sugar consumption can cause a lot of different issues for dogs from irregular blood sugar, diabetes, weight gain, and even behavioral changes. Dog obesity is a prevalent issue among dogs, and sugar is one of the main reasons for that.

We should also mention that dogs have a similar palate to humans, and that is why they get the same pleasure from sugar as the same pleasure we get from them. What that means is that their dopamine receptors will activate when they eat sugar. So, the more sugar they eat, the more they’ll get addicted to it.


Even though dogs are omnivores, they are evolved from wild wolves who relied solely on protein to survive. Since they are not adapted to grains, they can cause all sorts of issues for them.

It is true that most dogs digest them well, but some dogs have trouble digesting grains such as wheat. Also, there is gluten in wheat, and gluten allergy is common among dogs.

cereal on the table


BHT is a preservative used by manufacturers to prolong the shelf life of products. They are used in a wide range of industries from pharmaceuticals to cosmetics. The scary thing about BHT is that it used to be a pesticide, but now it is used in processed foods.

Some countries in Europe have prohibited their usage. But their usage in small amounts is allowed in the U.S.A. and Canada.

Some studies show that it causes brain tumor in laboratory animals. That is why it is always a good idea to stay away from the products that contain BHT to avoid any potential issues.

Corn Starch

Corn starch is the by-product of corn processing. It is used as a thickening agent in processed foods to bind the pieces together.

It doesn’t have any nutritional value other than its carbohydrates content. Corn starch is just empty calories that will cause a sugar spike.

Caramel Color

Caramel color has been used in the food industry for years. It is the substance that gives the beer and colas its color. It has found to be possibly carcinogenic to humans in a study that was carried out in 2011. So, we can assume that it is also the case for dogs.

Other than that, specific ingredients used when making the caramel color can trigger allergic reactions in dogs. These ingredients include milk, corn dextrose, corn or wheat starch, malt syrup derived from barley.


There are different kinds of flours, but wheat flour is the one that is used when making cereals. Flour is made by processing the wheat.

After processing, flour doesn’t have any nutritional value left, and it becomes empty calories. Therefore, it is not beneficial both for humans and dogs.

Even though its taste doesn’t show, flour is not different than sugar in the sense that it also breaks down to glucose and raises the blood sugar.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is another ingredient that is used to sweeten the commercial foods and drinks. There is only a little difference between corn syrup and regular sugar.

The main difference is that corn syrup is liquid, and the sugar is dry. But your dog’s system will process it the same way as table sugar. In fact, many people claim that corn syrup is more harmful than regular sugar because it is processed more.

is cereal good or bad for dogs? this dog wants some!

Sodium Phosphate

Sodium phosphate is used in commercial products for several different reasons. Manufacturers add them to products to improve the texture, to prevent it from spoiling and to increase shelf life.

Even though most people consider it harmful, it is approved to be used in foods in most countries by significant agencies like the FDA and Europe.

So, consuming small amounts of sodium phosphate is most likely not harmful to your dog’s health. But eating too many foods that contain sodium phosphate can cause issues.

The ingredients that we listed are the most common unhealthy ingredients found in cereal products on the market. We should mention that those cereal products also include the brands that are trusted by most people, such as Cream of Wheat and Bran Flakes.

So, even getting a brand that seems trustworthy doesn’t seem to change the situation.

Conclusion: Is Cereal Good or Bad For Dogs?

All the ingredients that we listed above clearly shows that most of the cereals in the market are harmful to dogs.

At first glance, sugar seems to be the biggest issue. Yet, there are some other ingredients in cereal products that can cause serious problems for dogs.

BHT is the scariest one because the first use of it was as a pesticide and it is somehow approved to be in cereals.

Other preservatives like caramel color, which are used for different purposes, are also worrying.

Because of all the reason we mentioned above, we don’t advise you to give your pup any cereal.

You might also reevaluate your look on cereals because of all the issues that the ingredients in them can cause.

Alaaddin Sarac

I've been an avid dog enthusiast since childhood. I started this blog in hopes of helping owners find answers to questions I had after owning my first dog. This website was created as a way to share our love for all things canine with the world. From choosing the best food for your older dog to get the best beds for your tail-wagger, I aim to give you the information you need to give your dog the best care throughout his entire life.