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Can Dogs Drink Oat Milk? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Bynewsmagzines

May 23, 2023
oat milk in a glass


Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’ve recently switched from cow’s milk to oat milk or another plant-based dairy alternative, you may wonder if dogs can drink oat milk. Although dogs do not need to consume milk once they have been weaned from their Mom, there are many who still enjoy a milky treat. Plain, unsweetened oat milk is safe for dogs to consume and can actually be a healthy alternative to dairy products.

Oat milk is low in fat and calories and full of nutrients such as B vitamins and calcium. Sugar-free options are often sweetened with xylitol, which is toxic to dogs and should be avoided. Stick with plain, unsweetened brands to stay on the safe side. Because oat milk contains lots of fiber, limiting your pet’s consumption is often best to prevent your companion from developing stomach issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

WARNING: Some oat milks contain flavorings and sweeteners such as xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs, even in low doses. If you think your dog may have ingested xylitol, contact your veterinarian immediately. Signs of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, weakness, incoordination, collapse, seizures and death 1.

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Oat Milk vs Cow Milk

Unsweetened, unflavored oat milk is low in calories and fat. There are typically 45 calories in a 1-cup serving and 0.5 grams of fat. It’s cholesterol free and contains vitamin A, several B vitamins, iron, calcium, and potassium. Whole cow’s milk has 149 calories per 1-cup serving and 5 grams of saturated fat. It also contains vitamin A and plenty of calcium.

oat milk in a glass and jug
Image Credit: Alter-ego, Shutterstock

How Is Oat Milk Made?

Oat milk is made by mixing oats and water. Commercial producers add enzymes to break down starches. The mixture is then strained to remove any solid bits, leaving behind oat milk. Most commercial producers add various nutrients to increase the health profile of their products. Some add flavorings and sweeteners such as xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs, and others include preservatives and thickening agents.

Does Oat Milk Require Refrigeration?

It depends! Fresh homemade oat milk needs to be refrigerated if you’re not going to consume it right away. It usually lasts for about 5 days in the fridge. Some commercial oat milk is shelf stable; these products typically stay good for around 6 months when unopened. Once opened, most require refrigeration to prevent spoilage. Store-bought brands can last for up to 6 months in the freezer. Oat milk that’s gone bad often has a distinct vinegary or sour smell and is usually discolored, separated, or congealed. Spoiled oat milk should never be consumed by you or your dog!

elaboration of natural yogurt with goat's milk
Image Credit: Agorca, Shutterstock

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Dog Nutrition Frequent Asked Questions

Dogs’ bodies can efficiently break down and digest plant and animal-based foods. But they have very different overall nutritional requirements than humans do. Most healthy adult dogs should consume around 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat.

They also require nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and potassium as well as vitamins A, D, and E. B vitamins such as niacin and thiamine are also critical for optimal canine health. Dogs have caloric requirements that vary based on size and activity level. Human foods should be avoided as most don’t provide all the nutrients dogs need, tend to be high in calories, and often contain toxic ingredients.

Are There Oat Milk Products Dogs Should Avoid?

Yes. Chocolate oat milk and products sweetened with xylitol should not be given to dogs because it’s toxic to canines. Evaluate each recipe that calls for oat milk on a case-by-case basis to determine whether or not it contains problematic ingredients that could harm your pet.

Sick mastiff dog sitting on table in a vet clinic
Image Credit: UfaBizPhoto, Shutterstock

What’s the Best Way to Ensure Dogs Get the Nutrients They Need?

Feeding your dog good quality, highly digestible commercial pet food is usually the easiest and most reliable way to ensure that your canine companion gets the required nutrients. The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) establishes the nutritional standards used by many states to regulate pet food.

Brands that meet AAFCO requirements are nutritionally balanced and contain all the vitamins and nutrients dogs need.

What About Treats?

Treats, even healthy options, should be limited to less than 10% of your dog’s diet for two reasons:

  • These goodies aren’t nutritionally balanced
  • Most tend to be high in calories

but many dogs enjoy snacking on low-calorie options such as cucumbers, carrots, green beans, and celery. You can also serve bananas, blueberries, and cranberries as healthy treats.

woman feeding her dog a treat seated in stone stairs
Image Credit: Lucia Romero, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Although not not a necessary part of their diet, most dogs can safely consume oat milk as long as it’s of the plain and unsweetened variety. It can be a tasty, healthy alternative to dairy products, which can be hard on canine tummies. Oat milk is also low in fat and calories and full of nutrients such as vitamin A, potassium, and calcium. Chocolate-flavored and artificially-sweetened brands should be avoided, as they often include contents that can be toxic to dogs, such as xylitol. Although you can serve oat milk to your dog occasionally, it’s best to rely on high-quality dog food to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy.


Featured Image Credit: Naumenko, Shutterstock

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