For some reason, every meal time in our house seems to be a huge opportunity for our dogs to beg.
You know the guilt trips that they can send you on as they look at you, lean against you or place their paw on your lap.
And in our house, breakfast time brings out the worst in them.
Perhaps it is because they haven’t eaten for such a long time.
And so the pressure to share some breakfast cereals with our dogs is immense.
A cereal that I sometimes eat when I’m feeling like I need a sugar rush, are Crunchy or Honey Nut Cornflakes.
But I think that this would be one of the worst cereals to share with my dogs because it tastes as if the sugar content is immense.
But is this true?
To start with, I want to explain the origins of this cereal.
What are honey nut cornflakes?
Whilst Cornflakes were launched in 1894, their sweeter and nuttier relation had to wait until 1980 before it was sprung on an unsuspecting audience in the UK.
Only sometime later were Honey Nut or Crunchy Nut Cornflakes launched in America.
And a fascinating fact about Cornflakes is that they started out being made of wheat.
I kid you not.
Can dogs eat Honey Nut Cornflakes?
For those of you in a rush, let me give you a quick answer.
There is nothing in Crunchy Nut that is toxic to dogs.
If a bit of sharing is something that happens at your breakfast table, then fear not.
You will not kill your dog.
But there are some things to bear in mind.
Crunchy Nut is packed full of calories and many of those come from the different types of sugars that make up the recipe.
And it isn’t all bad news as far as nutrition goes.
These cereals do contain some valuable vitamins and minerals that your dog might benefit from.
But to find out what the real strengths and weaknesses are of Honey Nut Cornflakes, we need to look at the ingredients in more detail.
And in doing this we can find out just how dog friendly are they?
Eight ingredients in Crunchy Nut?
It seems that there are 8 main ingredients in Kellogs Crunchy Nut.
And they are; maize, sugar, peanuts (6%), barley malt flavouring, molasses, honey (1%) and salt.
Maize is another name for corn.
In the next section I want to look at these ingredients one at a time.
And see how suitable they are for your dog.
Can dogs eat corn?
I have just written an article about whether dogs can eat Shredded Wheat.
Shredded Wheat contains 95% wheat.
We know that the amount of maize that is in a box of Crunchy Nut is far less than that.
And we know this because 6% of a box of these cereals is made from peanuts- which are the third most used ingredient. And we know this because 6% of a box of these cereals is made from peanuts- which are the third most used ingredient.
But regardless of how much corn is in the recipe, how nutritious is it for your dog?
Corn is low in calories and fat but it is about 20% carbohydrates.
Of that twenty percent, 6% are sugars and 2% are fibre.
Only 3% of corn is protein.
And most of that looks fairly healthy as far as your dog is concerned- it is just the carbohydrates that you need to keep in the back of your mind.
The most abundant vitamin in corn is vitamin B3 closely followed by vitamin B1.
B vitamins play an important role in turning food into energy.
In the next section I will look at the second most used ingredient in Kellog’s Crunchy Nut which is sugar.
Let’s face it, sugar has very little nutritional value.
And as with most cereals, sugar isn’t the only form of sugar on this list of ingredients.
The only positive thing to say about sugar is that it isn’t toxic for them- although you try telling that to their teeth!
Just bear in mind that because this is the second most used ingredient there must be quite a bit of sugar!
We know that this box of cereal contains 6% of peanuts.
Peanuts aren’t toxic to dogs but like most other nuts they contain a huge amount of fat.
Peanuts are 50% fat and a 100g serving of them contains well over 500 calories.
To put that in context, a 100g serving of vanilla ice cream contains a mere 200 calories.
And yes I know that there are such things as healthy and unhealthy fats but it is something to think about.
Eating fatty foods increases the likelihood of your dog becoming obese.
Peanuts when whole are considered a choking hazard for dogs but in a box of Crunchy Nut, peanuts are crushed and so they don’t pose any danger in that regard.
Peanuts also have a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in them.
Many of which are present in huge quantities.
And it is the B vitamins who once again make a strong showing-B1, B3 and B9 especially.
As far as minerals go, peanuts contain lots of copper and manganese.
Copper is thought to help keep a dog’s blood vessels healthy amongst other things.
Whereas a key function of manganese is to help clot blood.
Next in our list is an ingredient which is in hiding.
Barley malt flavouring
Barley malt flavouring has quite an exotic ring to it, don’t you think?
Well that is until you realise that it is just another form of sugar.
It is made by soaking barley grains in water and then heating them up.
The grains are then turned into sugar.
In fact when you look at the nutrition barley malt flavouring or syrup contains 40‰ sugar.
What were we saying about obesity a few sentences ago?
Ah, another type of sugar.
Molasses is 75% sugar with a few health benefits thrown in.
It also contains lots of vitamin B6 and high concentrations of copper, magnesium and manganese.
And the calorie count is only half that of peanuts!
The best thing that we can say about the honey in these cereals is that we know how much is used.
We know that 1% of the ingredients are honey.
And relatively speaking that is a small amount-which you should bear in mind as you read the rest of this section!
Whilst I knew that honey was nearly all sugar (it accounts for 82%) I also thought that it was packed with loads of nutrients.
Which, looking at the data, I can see that it isn’t.
So your dog will get no health benefits from the honey in Crunchy Nut- only more calories that need to be burned off!
Finally an ingredient that isn’t a type of sugar.
It is just a shame that it is salt.
But once again the amount used will be very small indeed and so it won’t cause your dog any health concerns.
Alternative honey and nut cereals
The cereal market is jammed packed with products that contain honey or nuts or both of them combined.
The most popular substitute would be Honey Nut Cheerios.
And also there is Honey Nut Chex.
But are these two any better for your dog?
The difference between Crunchy Nut and Honey Nut Cheerios is that the main ingredient of the former is corn and the main ingredient in the latter is whole grain oats.
Other than that, both contain quite a long list of various sugars…
The nutrition in terms of calories, carbohydrate content and such like is very similar.
And Honey Nut Chex is even more similar to Crunchy Nut because its main ingredient is also corn.
Instead of being flakes of corn, Chex are rectangular pillows of corn.
So if you wanted to stick with a honey and nut flavoured theme but just try to make a healthy swap, then I’m afraid that you are out of luck.
¹ Photo by Jamie McCall on Flickr