Perhaps it is because you simply forgot to buy more dog food or perhaps it is because as the price of food for us and food for our dog rockets in price you find yourself staring at a box of Weetabix.
And wondering, can I feed this to my dog?
Well let’s find out shall we?
Firstly, let me introduce you to Weetabix.
An introduction to Weetabix
Weetabix was created and introduced in the 1920s in Australia.
However, it had a bit of a rocky time in Australia and it wasn’t until it was introduced in the UK in 1932 that it found its true home.
In 1967 it was introduced into Canada followed by America the year after.
Weetabix are rectangular in shape but with rounded edges and they are the size of a person’s palm.
But how suitable or healthy is this cereal designed for people for our dogs?
To begin to answer this, I want to look at all the different flavours or varieties that are available.
The four flavours of Weetabix
Weetabix comes in 4 varieties- original, banana, chocolate and organic.
However, the fundamental ingredients in all of these different flavours are exactly the same, with the odd ingredient or flavouring being different.
So let us take a look at these ingredients one by one and discuss how they might affect your dog.
What are the ingredients in Original Weetabix?
The original version of Weetabix contains 4 main ingredients: Whole grain wheat, barley malt extract, sugar and salt.
So let me take a look at these ingredients one by one.
Whole grain wheat
Rather unusually for a food product, we know exactly how much wheat there is in Weetabix.
95% of a Weetabix biscuit is wheat.
But how healthy an ingredient is wheat for your dog?
Overall, wheat can be seen as a healthy product for your dog unless they are wheat or gluten intolerant.
In which case you shouldn’t be sharing this cereal with your dog at all.
Added to that, the wheat used in these biscuits is whole grain.
Whole grains are thought to be more healthy than refined grains because they contain more nutrients.
The process of refining grain “strips away more than half of wheat’s B vitamins, 90 percent of the vitamin E, and virtually all of the fiber.”
So what are the nutrients in whole grain wheat?
Well, I can tell you that it compares very well to refined wheat. It contains fewer calories and although it contains a little more fat, it contains a lot more protein and fibre and has fewer carbohydrates.
Protein is an important nutrient because it will help your dog to build and repair muscles.
Fibre helps a dog to maintain a healthy digestive system which is a fundamental pillar in their health.
On top of that, whole grain wheat is a great source of minerals and vitamins.
It contains more calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus than refined wheat.
Calcium is important for a dog because it helps keep their bones and teeth nice and strong.
I mean the bones in their body, not the bones that they are given to chew!
Having enough iron in their diet ensures that their blood stays in the best possible shape.
Magnesium to support a healthy nervous system.
I think we have explored wheat in enough depth, don’t you?
In the next section, I want to look at sugar.
Barley malt extract and sugar
I have lumped both of these ingredients together because at the end of the day they are both forms of sugar.
Barley malt extract is a syrup made from barley and is 65% maltose– which is a form of sugar.
And sugar is 100% sugar.
I don’t need to harp on for too long about the dangers of sugar and how it is linked to lots of scary health conditions for us and our dogs.
Obesity and teeth decay to mention just two.
The good news is that with every Weetabix biscuit containing 95% wheat, when you take all of the other ingredients into consideration, sugar makes up less than 5% of each biscuit.
It seems if we aren’t concerned by sugar then we will be concerned about salt- these two ingredients are some of the most demonised foods in the world.
Yes, too much salt in a dog’s diet is a bad thing but the amount of salt used in Weetabix won’t cause your dog any harm.
And that hopefully is a very useful round up of the main ingredients that are found in all varieties of Weetabix.
And in the next section I want to look at the ingredients which are used in some of the different varieties of Weetabix.
What ingredients are in the different flavours of Weetabix?
The two flavour varieties that I want to discuss in this section are chocolate and banana.
We will start with chocolate because the mere mention of chocolate and dogs in the same sentence should send any dog owner’s pulse racing- and not in a good way.
Chocolate is made from cocoa which contains a substance called theobromine which is highly toxic to dogs.
Can dogs eat chocolate flavoured Weetabix?
Chocolate flavoured Weetabix contains 7% plain chocolate.
Now plain chocolate is a dark chocolate which is one of the most dangerous types of chocolate as far as a dog is concerned because of how much cocoa it contains.
And the two main ingredients that are in the plain chocolate in your Weetabix are sugar and cocoa.
And this to me suggests that there is enough chocolate in this flavour of Weetabix to make you want to keep it well away from your dog.
Don’t be tempted to share any at the breakfast table or break them up and use them as training treats.
Not only does chocolate Weetabix contain 7% plain chocolate but the next largest ingredient is cocoa powder.
Which, when eaten in the wrong amounts, can poison a dog.
In my next section, I will move away from the doom and gloom and talk about a very healthy variety of Weetabix- bananas.
Can dogs have banana flavoured Weetabix?
The combination of slicing a fresh banana on top of a couple of Weetabix biscuits has become so popular that the company wanted to try and put this flavour into a box!
But what ingredients are used to flavour this variety and are they dog friendly?
Now, I have never tasted a banana flavoured Weetabix but a quick look at the ingredients shows that ingredients are almost exactly the same as in an original biscuit with one tiny exception- an ingredient named “flavourings.”
And since this ingredient is one of the last on the list, it would only be used in tiny amounts and so it wouldn’t pose a threat to your dog.
I have got to say that I’m a bit disappointed.
I mean at least a chocolate Weetabix contains some real chocolate in it?!
As we get close to the end of this article, in our final section I want to quickly look at the way that Weetabix has been enriched with extra vitamins and minerals.
Can dogs eat enriched cereals?
The practice of adding extra minerals and vitamins is very common in food production.
Indeed cereals are one of the most commonly enriched foods in the world.
And most commercial dog foods are enriched with vitamins and minerals as a way of making sure that your dog ingests the right balance of nutrients to lead a healthy life.
Weetabix are enriched for the same reason but for the sake of the health of people and not dogs!
There are one mineral and four vitamins that are added into Weetabix- Niacin, Iron, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamin (B1) and Folic Acid.
We have already discussed the health benefits to your dog of iron but we have yet to discuss the ways in which all of these B vitamins could boost your dog’s health.
B vitamins play an important role in a dog’s metabolism- how efficiently they convert their food into energy as well as being used to keep the cells within their body in excellent working order.
And although your dog should be getting enough B vitamins from their main food, these additional vitamins and minerals won’t do them any harm at all.