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Can dogs eat flour? Everything You Need to Know

Yes, dogs can eat flour provided they are not prone to grain sensitivities or gluten intolerant. However, you have to choose wisely as different types of flours have varying nutritional profiles. Grains are not part of a dog’s daily dietary requirements. At the same time, it may be difficult to avoid them completely as they appear in many recipes and dog food products. Flours are non-toxic and thus can be safely served to dogs. 

What is flour? 

Raw grains, roots, beans, nuts or seeds are finely grounded to a powder form known as flour. The earliest archeological evidence of preparing flour dates back to 6000BC. Additionally, the Romans were the first to grind seeds on cone mills. 

As you can obtain flours from different sources, they are classified into many types as summarized as below:

  • Whole Grain flours are made from whole grains, members of the grass family, Poaceae. Some of the whole grain flours and their nutritional information are:
SOURCEBASIC NUTRITIONAL VALUES PER 100GKEY NUTRIENTS
1. Brown rice
CALORIES: 363
CARBOHYDRATE76.5g
FIBER4.6g
FAT2.8g
PROTEIN7.2g
Brown rice also contains many vitamins and minerals:
2. Whole wheat
CALORIES: 332
CARBOHYDRATE74.5g
FIBER13.1g
FAT2.0g
PROTEIN9.6g
Whole wheat is a good source of several vitamins and minerals
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Folate
3. Sorghum
CALORIES: 359
CARBOHYDRATE76.6g
FIBER6.6g
FAT3.3g
PROTEIN8.4g
Sorghum has a variety of nutrients, including
  • B vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Anti-oxidants
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
4. Oat
CALORIES: 404
CARBOHYDRATE65.7g
FIBER6.5g
FAT9.1g
PROTEIN14.7g
Oatmeal is rich in several vitamins and minerals such as:
5. Millet
CALORIES: 382
CARBOHYDRATE75.1g
FIBER3.5g
FAT4.3g
PROTEIN10.8g
These flours are gluten-free and are a rich source of
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • folate
  • magnesium
6. Teff
CALORIES: 371
CARBOHYDRATE77.1g
FIBER5.7g
FAT2.9g
PROTEIN11.4g
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Grain-free flours: Grain-free flours usually are made from roots, nuts, or seeds. They are suitable for grain-sensitive pups. Some of the grain-free flours include:
SOURCEBASIC NUTRITIONAL VALUES PER 100GKEY NUTRIENTS
1. Almond(Nut)
CALORIES: 590
CARBOHYDRATE18.7g
FIBER9.9g
FAT52.5g
PROTEIN21.4g
  • Vitamin E
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Phosphorus
2. Arrowroot(Root/tuber)
CALORIES: 357
CARBOHYDRATE88.2g
FIBER3.4g
FAT0.1g
PROTEIN0.3g
Whole wheat is a good source of several vitamins and minerals
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Folate
3. Coconut(nut)
CALORIES: 400
CARBOHYDRATE60.0g
FIBER33.3g
FAT13.3g
PROTEIN20.0g
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • s
  • Selenium
4. Potato(Root/tuber)
CALORIES: 357
CARBOHYDRATE60.0 g
FIBER33.3g
FAT13.3g
PROTEIN20.0g
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • s
  • Vitamin B
5. Chia Seeds(seeds)
CALORIES: 486
CARBOHYDRATE42.1g
FIBER34.4g
FAT30.7g
PROTEIN16.5g
  • Omega-3
  • Fatty
  • Acids
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
6. Tapioca(Root/tuber)
CALORIES: 333
CARBOHYDRATE86.7g
FIBER0g
FAT0g
PROTEIN0g
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Pseudo grain flours: Pseudo grains are plant foods that resemble grains in appearance but are not grains as they come from a different plant family
SOURCEBASIC NUTRITIONAL VALUES PER 100GKEY NUTRIENTS
1. Amaranth
CALORIES: 400
CARBOHYDRATE71.4g
FIBER11.4g
FAT5.7g
PROTEIN4.3g
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Phosphorous
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
2. Quinoa
CALORIES: 393
CARBOHYDRATE64.3g
FIBER7.1g
FAT7.1g
PROTEIN14.3g
  • Magnesium
  • B vitamins
  • Irons
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin E
  • Various beneficial antioxidants
3. Buckwheat
CALORIES: 335
CARBOHYDRATE70.6g
FIBER0.0g
FAT3.1g
PROTEIN12.6g
  • Pulse flours: Pulse flours are made from pulses or legumes by milling or grinding whole pulses into flour. They can be easily made at home and usually retain many of their inherent nutrients, and are gluten-free.
SOURCEBASIC NUTRITIONAL VALUES PER 100GKEY NUTRIENTS
1. Chickpea or Garbanzo bean flour
CALORIES: 387
CARBOHYDRATE57.8g
FIBER10.8g
FAT6.7g
PROTEIN22.4g
  • Thiamine/li>
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Phosphorous
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
2. Lentil/strong>
CALORIES: 332
CARBOHYDRATE43.5g
FIBER11g
FAT2.4g
PROTEIN25.4g
  • Folate
  • Manganese
  • Irons
  • Potassium
3. Pea
CALORIES: 365
CARBOHYDRATE65g
FIBER25.5g
FAT2.2g
PROTEIN23.5g
  • Thiamin
  • Folate
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  •  Processed flours: Highly processed flours do not contain any nutritional value.

Is flour Safe for Dogs? 

Dogs can safely consume flours as they are non-toxic and not poisonous. However, the size of your dog and the quantity of flour he consumed determines if he will experience any adverse symptoms. For example, a large dog will be fine after eating a small amount of flour, while a smaller dog who took a large heaping of flour can exhibit ill effects. Additionally, serving food made of processed flour is unhealthy for your dog. 

Why is flour good for Dogs?

As flours are used as binding agents, you can opt for foods that contain healthy flours for your dog. Below listed are some of the flours that nutritionally benefit your pup in many ways: 

Type of FlourHealth benefits in dogs
1. Whole wheat
  • Digestive health: good source of fiber hence aids in keeping your dog’s digestive system moving.
  • Muscle Health: Good source of protein; so, conditions the muscles.
2. Oat flour
  • Easily Digestible: This flour is gluten-free and contains low sugar. Hence, eases your dog’s digestion.
  • Maintains A Healthy Coat – Vitamin B in oats enriches your dog’s coat.
  • May Help Lower Blood Pressure – Its antioxidant property helps lower blood pressure and leads to better circulation.
  • Keep Your Dog Fuller for Longer –Its carbohydrates content helps your dog remain satiated for long without adding extra calories.
  • Reduce Constipation – Its Fiber richness aids in moving the food through the GI tract while also regulating and preventing constipation.
3. Almond flour
  • A good alternative to wheat flour– high proteins and low carbohydrates
  • Keeps Immune System Healthy – Abundant in vitamin E, this flour enhances the immune system function.
  • Keeps Muscles Strong – Rich in plant-based protein, it helps to maintain bone strength. It also lusters your pet’s skin and coat.
4. Coconut flour
  • Coconut flour is gluten-free
  • Helps Control Blood Sugar – Being low in carbohydrates, this flour helps with sugar and insulin regulation in dogs.
  • Rich in Protein – Coconut flour is a good source of plant-based protein. This strengthens the bones, muscles, and immune system.
5. Quinoa flour
  • Weight Loss – Rich in carbohydrates and proteins, this flour satiates your dog’s appetite and keeps him fuller for longer.
  • Weight Loss – Rich in carbohydrates and proteins, this flour satiates your dog’s appetite and keeps him fuller for longer.
  • Gluten-Free – Good alternative for gluten-intolerant dogs.
6. Chickpea or Garbanzo flour
  • May Help with Losing Weight – Packed with fibers, this flour satiates your pet’s appetite and keeps him fuller for longer.
  • Prevent Constipation – The fiber in chickpeas also helps prevent constipation and aid in anal gland expression.
  • Good Source of Meat-Free Protein –Suitable for dogs on a vegan diet, chickpeas help in maintaining healthy muscles for your dog.
  • Aids in Chronic Conditions – Chickpeas contain vitamins and minerals thought to help with chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases.
7. Rice Flour
  • Provides Energy – With a high carbohydrate profile, this flour aids in pumping up your canine’s energy levels.
  • Helps With Gastric Issues – Rice aids in alleviating your canine’s disturbed gut.
8. Buckwheat flour
  • Safer For Diabetic Dogs- Compared to wheat, buckwheat releases its carbohydrate slowly, providing your dog with a steady stream of energy. It reduces sugar spikes and resists insulin. This helps in managing diabetes.
  • May Help Prevent Cancer – Buckwheat contains antioxidants. that protect your cells from free radicals, which can be harmful and cause inflammation. Inflammation can lead to cancer.
9. Brown rice flourgluten-freeNaturally rich in fiber, hence fuels a dog’s digestion.Contains Vitamins D and B that are essential to cardiac health.
10. Sorghum Flourgluten-freeSupplies optimum energy being a rich source of carbohydrates.Its protein content aids in building healthy bones and muscleSuitable for diabetic pets as it releases glucose into the bloodstream slowly.Its antioxidant properties aid in boosting immune health.Niacin, thiamin, and B-vitamins promote nutrients absorption.
11. Teff FlourGluten-freePrevents anemia as the flour contains ironFiber-richness eases regular bowel movements.Helps feel satiated with fewer calories.Maintains lean muscle mass with its proteins content.Copper helps relieve muscle and joint pain while also minimizing inflammationslows insulin release into the bloodstream
12. Amaranth Flour
  • Has more protein than other grains:
  • Contains Lysine: Aids in metabolizing fatty acids into energy. Promotes calcium absorption and keeps hair and coat healthy.
  • High Fiber Content: Lowers the risk of constipation.
  • Rich in phytosterols: This lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases in dogs.
  • This grain is less allergenic as its gluten-free.
  • Only grain that isrich in Vitamin C . Acts like prebiotics and soothes your dog’s digestive system.
  • Vitamin E improves the texture of your dog’s coat and helps support his immune system.
13. Arrowroot Flourstimulates immune cells and boosts immune function.
14. Potato Flourimproves the digestibility of dietary nutrients.Improves stool quality. 
15. Tapioca FlourHigh starch content promotes healthy weight gain in dogs.Gluten-free Prevents anemia as the flour contains iron. This flour is rich in dietary fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and decreases colon cancer and the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
16. Chia Seed FlourAids brain functionsReduces inflammationBuilds healthy bonesHelps pup maintain a healthy weightHelps regulate blood sugar
17. Lentil FlourHelps dog feel satiated for longer.Suitable for diabetic pets as it keeps blood levels from spiking too sharply after a meal.
18. Pea FlourVitamin A promotes healthy eyes, muscles, nerves, and skin. vitamin C can boost your pet’s immune system.
19. Millet FlourMaintains healthy bones, energy levels, and overall health. 

Why is flour Bad for Dogs?

Certain types of flours have to be avoided for your canine; these include:

  • White flour
  • All-purpose flour or plain flour
  • Processed or refined wheat flour
  • Pastry flour
  • Soy flour
  • Corn flour

These flours are highly processed and are unsuitable for your dog’s consumption in the long run because:

  • They contain no nutritional value. 
  • They break down into glucose and spikes the blood sugar level.
  • These gluten-refined grains stick to your canine’s colon wall and hinders the process of nutrient absorption.
  • They can cause bloating and other digestive issues like inflammatory bowel syndrome or dog colitis in your pet.

Symptoms of bloat in dogs include:  

  • Distended stomach 
  • Pacing 
  • Excessive drooling 
  • Unsuccessful vomiting 

Symptoms of inflammatory bowel syndrome or dog colitis:

  • Soft, runny feces or feces with bright flecks of blood
  • Pain while defecating
  • Irregular eating habits
  • Weight loss
  • Increased defecating or flatulence
  • Inflammation or pain in the lower regions

If you notice your pet with any of these symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately.

Additionally, some other flours are derived from corn or soy. Some dogs may be allergic to these grains. If you notice allergy symptoms for the first time, reach out to your vet immediately, especially if he experiences breathing trouble.  

Symptoms of allergic reactions in dogs: 

  • Itchiness on the face, ears, legs, and feet
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Hair loss 
  • Skin infections

Symptoms of grain sensitivity in dogs include:

  • Itchy, irritated, red skin 
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Runny discharge from nose/eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


How Much of Flour to Feed Your Dog?

As a general rule of thumb, one-third to three-quarters of your dog’s diet should constitute meat or plant-based proteins. The rest of it should be a combination of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Grains are best served in the form of flours; hence they appear in dry dog food or can also be used to make a homemade dog treat. However, the frequency of feeding a food containing grains depends on your dog’s current health, age, size, and breed.

HOMEMADE DOG TREATS USING FLOUR

If you prefer to delight your pup’s palettes with a homemade dog treat, here are some recipe ideas to consider: 

  1. NUTTY DOG TREATS

Ingredients: 

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup almond flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl shred the carrot and add the eggs, the flour and peanut butter. Mix all the ingredients together and roll them to form a ball. Flatten the treats with the help of a fork and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Once done, cool and serve.

  1. PEANUT BUTTER AND PARSLEY DOG TREATS

  Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1 cup 100% peanut butter 
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and place a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the oats, whole wheat flour, and parsley flakes in a bowl and then set aside. Take another bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, egg and milk until fully combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until no wet ingredients remain at the bottom of the bowl. Knead this mixture to combine everything; roll the dough and cut into different shapes. Place these shapes onto the baking pan and bake for 15 minutes until lightly brown at the bottom. Remove the cookies, flip and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before serving. 

  1. BANANA AND PEANUT BUTTER DOG TREATS

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour (or blended oats)
  • 1/2 cup 100% peanut butter
  • 1 large ripe banana

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine peanut butter, banana and oat flour until it forms a dough. Roll the dough to form a ball. Place it on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve once cooled completely.  

  1. PUMPKIN AND PEANUT BUTTER DOG TREATS

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-ounce can Pure Pumpkin
  • ½ cup Pure Peanut Butter
  • ½ cup Pure Coconut Oil, melted
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups coconut flour, plus additional for rolling

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, peanut butter, coconut oil, and eggs until smooth.
  • To the mixture add turmeric, cinnamon, and coconut flour and combine well. Let this sit for five minutes. 
  • Roll the dough over a surface well-coated in coconut flour. 
  • Cut the dough in preferred shapes, and bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the cookies are dry and hard. 
  • Let it cool and store in an airtight container for up to a month.
  1. PEANUT BUTTER AND SWEET POTATOE COOKIES (SUITABLE FOR PETS WITH ALLERGIES)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (480 grams) brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup (64 grams) peanut butter (make sure your brand does not contain xylitol)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can (15-ounce) sweet potato puree (not the sweetened pie mix) 

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir all the ingredients until a soft dough is formed. Roll the dough to form a ball. Place it on baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve once cooled completely.  

What if my Dog ate flour?

Having a little flour in raw form won’t cause much harm except a short duration of constipation. However, if your dog ate a whole bag of raw flour by accident, then you have to watch out for certain warning signs as listed below:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Vomiting or attempting to vomit
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Pacing or restlessness
  • Enlarged stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Pale gums

Apart from these there is the risk of a blockage that occurs due to the texture of flour. The gluey nature of the flour can make it stick to your canine’s mouth. Additionally, it can lead to bloat, which could be life-threatening.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which flours can you use in your dog treat recipes?

  • Whole-wheat Flour
  • Almond Flour
  • Brown Rice Flour
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Flour
  • Coconut Flour
  • Oat Flour
  • Quinoa Flour
  • Sorghum Flour

Conclusion

Summing it up, dogs can safely consume flours based on their susceptibility to allergies. If your pet is allergic or gluten intolerant, you may have to opt for healthier flours that suit them. Although you cannot avoid flours altogether, it is advisable to feed flour moderately to your pet.  

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