Yes, Dogs Can Eat Cheerios, But They Really Shouldn’t

Cheerios are grain-based and do not provide any real nutritional value to a dog.
| Updated: February 20, 2024
dogs can eat cheerios in moderation

Having dogs with children means the dog is going to get people food from time to time. It’s as certain as the sun rising each morning. Heck, I’m guilty of giving my pups random table scraps from time to time, too. My twin 1-year-old boys take the cake, though; it’s become a game of sorts to get the dogs to come to them. They hold food down over the side of their high chairs, and boom, like magic, the wet nose of an eternally grateful puppy appears.

Lately, besides eggs, my boy’s favorite food of choice has been Cheerios. Honey Nut, to be more specific. Needless to say, the dogs have been getting bits of cereal for breakfast occasionally, which begs the question, are Cheerios safe for dogs to eat?

Fortunately, dogs can eat Cheerios, and most of the different flavors are not toxic to dogs. They aren’t exactly a healthy, balanced snack, but dogs seem to love them, and a few here and there won’t hurt.

How Many Cheerios Can a Dog Eat?


Dogs can safely eat Cheerios in moderation. A few here and there are fine, but they certainly don’t need a whole bowl to themselves. Treats of any kind should never make up more than 10% of a dog’s diet. Keep in mind, if you feed your dog other treats besides Cheerios, which you probably do, altogether, it should be under 10%. Not 10% per treat type.

There are also much better treats than Cheerios to give your dog that actually provide health benefits. Ultimately, it’s up to you if you want to give them Cheerios or opt for a healthier snack.

Cheerios are high in fiber and low in sugar, but they contain no protein or vitamins that dogs actually need. They are also very low in calories, with one Cheerio “O” being about .2 calories. Meaning 10% of a 10lb dog’s diet would be roughly 100 “O”s.

Can Dogs Eat Flavored Cheerios?

Cheerios come in a dozen different flavors. Besides the standard regular version, you have honey nut, very berry, frosted Cheerios, pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, and the list goes on. There are tons of different flavors, and some of them are most likely not toxic to your dog, but as a best practice, stick to either the regular Cheerios or the Honey Nut Cheerios flavors.

The other flavors are more likely to have higher amounts of sugar and, in general, be more unhealthy for your dog than those two.

Other things to consider are added ingredients to make the different flavors. Avoid anything with chocolate or raisins, and be sure to check for xylitol (sugar substitute). These three ingredients are toxic to dogs and should be carefully avoided.

Can Dogs Have Milk With Cereal?


When we think of cereal, we normally think about a bowl full of milk along with it. But it’s not a good idea to share it with your dog.

Almost all dogs are lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t digest the sugar in milk. This is actually common among all mammals. The reason dogs can eat cheese is because it’s very low in lactose by comparison.

When it comes to dogs, milk (or any dairy high in lactose) can cause diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, and gas, as well as triggering various allergies or things like ear infections.

If you do choose to give your dog some Cheerios, skip the milk.

Dogs with Pancreatitis, Do They Mix?

Finding treats to give a dog with pancreatitis can be difficult. There isn’t much information about whether or not Cheerios will trigger a reaction in a dog with chronic pancreatitis, so I asked my vet, and he said he would avoid them altogether. Better safe than sorry.

Definitely avoid giving milk to a dog with pancreatitis.

Instead, talk to your veterinarian about what’s best for your dog and stick to it, including treats specifically made for dogs with pancreatitis.

Best Cereals for Dogs to Eat


There are no cereals that really qualify as the “best cereal” for dogs since they are all grain-based and not produced with a dog’s diet in mind. As far as an occasional treat that they will enjoy, some of the better ones are:

  • Cheerios
  • Rice Krispies
  • Bran Flakes
  • Kix
  • Corn Flakes

Avoid anything that is high in sugar, like fruit loops, and always check for ingredients that are toxic for dogs.

What About Oatmeal?

Many people, including myself, lump oatmeal in the same category as cereal. They are both common breakfast foods you eat with a spoon. For our purposes, the big difference is oatmeal is actually good for dogs.

Oatmeal is a heart-healthy food that is rich in nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins that provide a real benefit to your dog.

It is still grain-based and should not replace your dog’s normal balanced diet, but it can be used as an additional supplement. “Half-a-cup of cooked oatmeal (at most), one to two times a week is more than enough for most large dogs” according to an article published by the AKC.

Chase Roseberry Author Image
Chase Roseberry

Chase’s life has been a remarkable journey into the world of animals. From his time spent working with an equine Veterinarian, raising exotic snakes, and live coral aquaculture, his diverse background fuels his passion for the animal kingdom.

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