Can Dogs Eat Grits, And Are They Safe?

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Grits are made of crushed or ground corn. They are almost effortless to prepare and that is why they’re widely eaten across the Southern United States. But, can dogs eat grits?

can dogs eat grits - white bowl containing grits

As caring dog owners, we sometimes unknowingly feed our dogs the things that we probably shouldn’t. So, in this article, we’ll lift the lid on grits and discover if your dog can actually eat them. We’ll also reveal the pros and cons of adding grits to your dog’s diet.

Can Dogs Eat Grits?

With their flavorful, velvety texture and rich taste, it’s no surprise that grits are a common sight on the dinner and breakfast tables of Southern America.

Whether you’re in Texas or Tokyo, dogs have an almost supernatural ability to breakdown the strongest of us with their big brown puppy-like eyes. Before you know it, you handing over a tasty treat from your plate, but should you let your dog munch on your grits.

The short answer is: yes and no!

The good news is that it is safe for your dogs to eat grits, but don’t overdo it.

Dogs can eat a few spoonfuls of grits if they enjoy the taste. However, grits have limited nutritional value and too much could put your dog at the risk of a few health hazards that we’ll discuss later.

In principle, you can occasionally allow them to have grits in small amounts.

Are Grits Good for Dogs? Benefits of Grits for Dogs

To be clear, Grits are not your best bet for a nutritionally balanced snack for your furry friend. Don’t get us wrong, in moderation, they’re certainly good for your dog.

dog lying on the floor sniffing his bowl

Packed with antioxidants and having a bit of iron, there are some health benefits of introducing grits to your dog’s diet. These are:

Grits prevent degenerative eye disorders

Grits contain two highly important antioxidants for eye health called lutein and zeaxanthin.

Both of these antioxidants are already present in high concentrations inside the dogs’ retina, which is the part of their eye that converts light into signals their brain can comprehend.

The link between higher lutein and zeaxanthin levels and a reduced risk of degenerative eye disorders such as AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) and cataracts is noticeable, as backed by many research studies.

This means a small snack of the antioxidant-rich grits is an excellent source of eye-protecting potentialities.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4891559/

Grits help resist anemia

Anemic dogs have their muscles, tissues, and ligaments deprived of oxygen as their hemoglobin levels significantly drop.

can dogs eat grits, dog looking in one of his 2 bowls

Hemoglobin aids oxygen when transported to different organs via blood — therefore a lack of it can mean deep trouble for your dog!

You can spot anemia if your dog displays the following symptoms:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Temporary discoloration of the skin
  • Shortness of breath

The great thing is that grits contain a healthy amount of iron and folate content. This is essential for hemoglobin production in your furry friend and is known to prevent anemia.

Grits protect your dog from free-radical damage

Loaded with powerful antioxidants, grits have everything your dog needs to protect them from free-radical damage, such as:

  • lutein
  • zeaxanthin
  • caffeic acid
  • 4-OH benzoic acid
  • syringic acid and many more

This suggests that if you occasionally feed grits as a treat to your dog, they’ll have a longer life span as their cells are fortified against cellule damage, heart disease, and carcinogenic agents.

Grits Nutrition Information

As a food, grits can be limited in nutritional value. To illustrate this fact, here is the complete grits nutrition breakdown:

Vitamin A0 mg
Protein8.57 grams
Fat1.43 grams
Vitamin B0 mg
Carbohydrates77.14 grams
Fiber5.7 grams
Vitamin C0 mg
Iron4.11 mg
Calcium0 mg
Sodium0 mg
Vitamin K0 mg

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/373804/nutrients

Are Grits Bad for Dogs? Risks of Grits for Dogs

Can dogs have grits, are they bad? It’s important to stress, that in small servings, grits are safe and non-toxic for your dogs.

What can make them hazardous, is the inclusion of additional ingredients.

It’s not uncommon for grits to be cooked with extra seasonings such as, onion, cheese, salt, pepper, butter, mayonnaise, syrup, etc.

None of these ingredients are good for your furry best friend.

Therefore, if you’re planning on sharing your yummy grits with your dog, do make sure that you don’t include any additional ingredients that may harm them.

grits in a bowl and grits in a spoon with 3 corn cobs on a table

Here are some other good reasons why grits could be bad for your dog’s health:

Grits can make your dog obese

As shown in the nutritional breakdown, grits contain empty calories — in other words, the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrient count is not proportionate to the calorific content. 

Too big a portion of grits, or if fed too often can result in obesity issues in your dog. 

Grits may be allergenic to your dogs

Grits mainly contain of corn, a common allergen for dogs.

An allergic reaction will be quite obvious to you when feeding grits to your dog for the first time. Pay close attention to any changes in your dog’s body language and behavior.

This can be very real problem for many dogs that eat food containing corn, so it’s worth being extra vigilant.

Grits may pose a choking hazard

In large quantities, the rather thick viscosity of grits makes it possible that they could cause an abdominal blockage in your dog, essentially choking their duodenum.

All in all, keep in mind that any portions of grits that you offer your dog should be held in check. 

Only offered them as an occasional treat, keep the portions low, and don’t add any dangerous extra ingredients!

Can Dogs Eat Instant Grits?

Again, yes and no.

Instant grits aren’t toxic to your dog, so they won’t cause any harm by themselves. Likewise, dogs can easily digest these grits as well!

However, there is a catch!

As mentioned earlier, grits are empty calories. As they’re tasty and easy to digest, your dog can easily slip into overeating.

This will increase the likelihood of obesity or allergic reactions. Also, if your furry best friend fills up on grits, they feel like eating other food that’s truly nutritionally rewarding for them.

Can Dogs Eat Hominy Grits?

Hominy — or lime-treated corn, is often the main ingredient used in grits. Treating the constituent corn with lime doesn’t alter how safe grits are, or the nutritional value.

Hominy grits with 2 corn on the cobs

Hominy grits, just like all other variants of grits, should be fed to your dogs in small servings, and only once in a while. Besides, it should be given to your dog without additional ingredients or seasonings.

Alternatives of Grits for Dogs

We do not particularly recommend grits for dogs because:

  • Because grits are corn-based, this can increase the likelihood of allergies in dogs
  • They’re low in nutritional value.
  • The health benefits of grits can be limited when compared to other foods.

However, we do have a few suggestions for healthier alternatives to grits:

  • Apples       (High in vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber)
  • Carrots      (High in vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium)
  • Broccoli     (High in vitamin C, vitamin K, and folic acid)
  • Oatmeal    (High in protein, vitamin B, and omega-6 fatty acid)
  • Pineapple (High in antioxidants, vitamin C, and bromelain)
  • Celery        (High in vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K)

They are a healthier choice than grits, and are packed with better nutrition. They’re also just as tasty!

Conclusion

Can dogs eat grits? Yes, grits are safe for dogs in small amounts and semi-occasionally. While they do offer some splendid health benefits, they also have several downsides.

If possible, try to avoid giving grits to your dog altogether, as there are many other wonderful alternatives for your dog to munch on instead.

Disclaimer

All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice

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