In today’s post, I look at how healthy it is for a dog to eat cereal.
And I’m not talking about a bowl of oatmeal either.
Instead I have Cinnamon Toast Crunch firmly within my sights.
Which is a bit strange as at first glance it looks to be more sugar than anything else.
Anyway to help with some context, let me give you a few strange facts…
Did you know that Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the 114th most popular food and snack in America?
But should you feed it to your dog?
What are the main ingredients of Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
A quick look at a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch will tell you that cinnamon is the 9th most used ingredient in any box of this cereal.
The other top ingredients are: whole grain wheat, sugar, rice flour, canola oil, fructose, maltodextrin, dextrose, salt and cinnamon.
Just like most other foods that we buy at the grocery store, we don’t know the exact amounts of these ingredients.
Nutrition wise, each serving of Cinnamon Toast Crunch contains about 80% carbohydrate (of which sugars are 30%) 10% fat and 0.05% protein.
Are any of these ingredients toxic to your dog?
The good news is that none of these ingredients are toxic to your dog.
Even in the event that your dog managed to eat a whole box of these cereals it wouldn’t kill them.
I mean your dog would probably be feeling very sorry for themselves and have a very poorly tummy for a few days but they wouldn’t be at death’s door.
The main worry if your dog ate a large portion of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the high sugar content.
With up to 30% of each square being sugar, this isn’t a healthy snack for your dog.
Sugar is as bad for dogs as it is for people. Too much sugar can lead to teeth decay, obesity or diabetes in your dog.
This cereal contains lots of different types of sugars.
From the ingredient list, we can see that cinnamon Toast Crunch contains not only sugar but fructose and dextrose, which are other types of sugar…
Do any of these ingredients have health benefits for your dog?
It would be stretching it a bit to claim that eating this cereal will boost your dog’s health.
The main ingredient is whole grain wheat which can be a healthy part of your dog’s diet but not when it is covered in so much sugar!
The same can be said of cinnamon- the spice which gives it name to the cereal.
In reality, the amount of cinnamon on each square of toast is very, very small which is a shame.
As well as having a great flavour, cinnamon also has been found to have some incredible “medicinal properties”.
These experiments have been done on humans and not dogs but cinnamon has been found to have lots of antioxidants, anti inflammatory properties and even cut the risk of heart disease.
But again any benefits from these superpowers are cancelled out when cinnamon is covered in sugar!
Why would you feed a dog cinnamon toast crunch?
I have already mentioned in passing one of the main reasons that your dog might have eaten Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
And that is by accident.
In the rush to get your kids out the door and off to school, you might have left an open box of cereal on the kitchen counter.
And Fido, abandoned by the family for a few hours, wanted some “comfort food”!
The other reason that a dog might be fed some toast crunch is because someone is sharing it with your dog!
As time goes by, dogs are becoming more and more important to families.
And I think that it is becoming harder to not include our dogs at meal times.
Breakfast is a hard enough time as it is.
Not really quite awake but needing to eat something to set us for the day, it is hard not to be distracted at breakfast time.
And for some children, I think that looking for distraction might mean feeding their dog a few squares of Cinnamon Crunch Toast.
How much Cinnamon Toast Crunch should you feed your dog?
I’m going out on a limb here and say that you shouldn’t feed a dog any of this cereal.
Yes, I know that earlier I said that it wasn’t toxic to your dog but I think that the act of sharing breakfast with your dog is more harmful almost than the food you are sharing with your dog.
OK. I can see that I have caused a bit of consternation.
When we share any food with our dogs when we are sitting at a table, we are encouraging them to beg.
To sit by the table until they are fed.
And the trouble with this is that our dogs will sit near the table every time that we are sitting at the table.
And taking Toast Crunch as an example, we might have a number of squares in our head which we think is reasonable to feed our dog.
But our dog’s don’t.
They will stay by us all the time that we are sitting and eating- if they have been given three cinnamon squares or ten squares.
And then what happens is that we can get very cross and frustrated with our dogs when they refuse to leave us alone.
And we don’t understand why they are behaving in this way!
And I speak from bitter personal experience on this issue!
And that is why my advice would be to not feed your dog any Cinnamon Toast Crunch!
What is the best breakfast cereal to feed your dog?
The best breakfast cereals to add to your dog’s diet are either porridge oats or plain and simple Shredded Wheat- and don’t be distracted by any fruit flavoured Shredded Wheats either.
These are some of the only breakfast cereals that don’t contain any sugar and in fact they don’t contain anything else.
Porridge oats only contain oats flakes and original Shredded Wheat just contains wheat.
Of course, if your dog has a wheat allergy then Shredded Wheat is a no, no!
And having looked at some of the healthiest and safest breakfast cereals, we will now move on and examine some of the most dangerous.
What is the most dangerous breakfast cereal to feed your dog?
At first glance, it might be hard to figure out which breakfast cereal is the most dangerous for our dogs.
The reason for this is that our biggest concern with breakfast cereals might be sugar content.
After all, so many different types of cereals and brands are packed full of sugar.
Remember that toast crunch is about 30% sugar and I would think that is pretty average across the range.
But as bad and unhealthy as sugar is for our dogs, I don’t think that it should be our biggest worry.
A much bigger danger is muesli and probably the more deluxe the muesli that you are eating, the greater the danger that it might pose to your dog.
Now at this point you might think that I have lost my marbles, but hear me out!
Muesli is a potential dog killer because it contains raisins.
And raisins or grapes are highly toxic to dogs.
And have been known to kill them.
Another potentially lethal ingredient in muesli to your dog are nuts.
Nuts are toxic to your dog but they can be a choking hazard.
Having sorted out what breakfast cereals you shouldn’t feed you dog, I want to take a look at other cinnamon treats that you might be tempted to share with your dog
Are cinnamon rolls safe to share with your dog?
Any cinnamon roll that you are tempted to share with your dog isn’t great simply because of how much sugar they might contain.
A best selling brand of rolls (Pillsbury) are 25% sugar and 14% of an adult’s recommended allowance of salt.
And the recommended salt allowance for your dog will be a lot lower!
Not surprisingly, there is nothing to write home about with the other main ingredients either.
Things like bleached flour, palm and soybean oil, baking powder…you get my drift.
But part baked products such as these pose another danger to our dogs.
Products, such as cinnamon rolls, are bought as dough and need to be heated in the oven.
And if your dog accidentally eats an uncooked cinnamon roll, then the dough might expand in your dog’s stomach, potentially killing them.
Is cinnamon toast safe for your dog to eat?
Cinnamon toast is still far from healthy for your dog but the odd scrap or two won’t harm them.
Can dogs eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
The good news is that your dog can have the odd square of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and be absolutely fine.
But having a dog sit and beg at a table whilst you are eating your breakfast isn’t a behaviour that you want to encourage in your dog.
And the behaviour is worse than the sugar laden cereal that you are feeding them!
The best thing to do is not to feed your dog any cereal at all whilst you are eating.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch isn’t the best breakfast cereal but neither is it the worst.
If you really have to feed your dog something, try little pieces of Shredded Wheat instead.
And never ever be tempted to share your muesli with your dog!