Can Dogs Eat Grits, And Are They Safe?

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As caring dog owners, we sometimes unknowingly feed our dogs things that we probably shouldn’t, some of them could even be classed as junk food and harmful.

can dogs eat grits - white bowl containing grits

In this article, we’ll ask can dogs eat grits? We’ll delve deep and discover if they can make nutritious dog food instead of kibble. We’ll also reveal the pros and cons of adding grits to your dog’s diet and learn if they are safe for dogs.  

This corn based breakfast is a type of maize grain popular in the Southern United States. They can be prepared in different ways, boiled grits, steamed grits, roasted grits, or fried grits, and make a hearty filling meal.  

Grits were introduced to the colonists of Jamestown by the Native Americans in 1607 and were known as “hominy feed” before becoming popular breakfast cereal over time.  

Grits come from ground dried kernel hominy grits which come from dry corn kernels, soaked in water, and boiled with lime to remove the husk.    

More recently, grits or “grain grits”, also refer to any coarsely ground grains such as oats, rye, malt barley, rice, corn, or sorghum. Grits are a popular food staple in places like South Carolina and can be treated in much the same way as oatmeal or porridge.

So, when your dog looks up at you from his bowl with those big, brown eyes full of expectation, you think what could it hurt to share grits!  

Can Dogs Eat Grits?

The short answer to the question ‘can dogs eat grits’ is yes.

Grains are an essential part of a canine diet and when dogs eat cooked grits, they will not harm your pet.  

Meals with added grit are generally safe for dogs in small doses, but much like any other foods should be given in moderation.  

Too many carbs in this corn based porridge can lead to weight gain and health problems such as seizures or diabetes if eaten to excess. This can be hard to treat in dogs, so exercise caution!  

Grits are an okay food addition for your dog, but they’re not pet food.   Whole kernel hominy grits contain protein, vitamin B, and are rich in iron.  

Dogs eat grits without other health issues if only few spoonfuls of freshly cooked grits are used 

However, eating grits does have limited nutrient content and too much could place your furry friend at a higher risk of other health concerns that we’ll discuss later.  

In principle, dogs can eat grits occasionally, only feed it to them in small amounts, and don’t use it as a replacement for pet food such as kibble or meat.

Are Grits Good for Dogs? Benefits of Grits for Dogs

To be clear, cooked grits are not your best bet for nutritional benefits in balanced dog food. Don’t get us wrong they’re certainly not junk food, dogs eat cooked grits quite safely in moderation.

dog lying on the floor sniffing his bowl

Corn kernels are not only safe for dogs, they’re packed with antioxidants and contain iron. There are also some great health benefits of introducing grits to your dog’s diet, these include:

prevents degenerative eye disorders

When dogs eat grits, they get some fantastic health benefits. Grits contain two highly significant antioxidants for eye health called lutein and zeaxanthin.

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

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

This means as dogs eat grits that are rich in antioxidants, they gain an excellent source of eye protection.

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

resist anemia

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

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. If dogs eat grits, the iron contained within is essential for hemoglobin production and is known to prevent anemia.

free-radical damage Protection

Loaded with powerful antioxidants, when dogs eat grits, they have everything they need to protect them from free-radical damage, such as:

can dogs eat grits - image of free radicals

This suggests that if we occasionally let dogs eat grits as a treat, they’ll have a longer life span as their cells are defended against cellule damage, heart disease, and carcinogenic agents.

Grits Nutrition Information

As a dog food, feeding grits can be limited in essential nutrients. To illustrate this fact, here is the full nutrition label breakdown of grits:

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? The Risks

Can dogs eat grits? Are they bad? It’s important to stress, that in small servings, unseasoned or plain grits are safe and non-toxic to dogs.

What can make dog grits potentially harmful, 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.

Also, the way cooked grits are made can be an unhealthy factor. Like hash browns, fried grits or grit fritters, they might taste great, but are not the healthiest way for your dog to eat grits.

If dogs eat cooked grits with too many carbs and fried in saturated fats it can lead to many health concerns including weight gain and heart disease and other health problems.

Therefore, if anyone is planning on letting dogs eat corn grits as an addition to their dog food, should ensure dogs eat small quantities of unseasoned grits and not any added elements, or cooking methods that could be harmful.

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

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

Grits can make your dog obese

As shown in the nutritional breakdown, cooked grits contain just empty calories — in other words, the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrient count are low in ground corn.

can dogs eat grits - obese dog lying down

Avoid feeding too big a portion of grits, or if you’re feeding too often it can lead to weight gain issues in your dog. 

Grits as an allergenic

One of the most important things when it comes to dogs eating grits is to make sure you are aware of any food sensitivities.  

In many cases, humans and dogs have different food intolerances that can result in allergic reactions or problems with the digestive system.

Grits mainly contain corn, and dogs suffering from a corn allergy are very common. An allergic reaction will be quite obvious to you when your dog eats grits for the first time.

For dogs that eat dog foods containing corn, it’s worth being extra vigilant for signs of a common allergy by changes in your dog’s body language and behavior.

a choking hazard

Should a dog eat grits in large quantities, the rather thick viscosity of grit meal makes it extremely possible that it could cause an abdominal blockage, essentially choking their duodenum.

When dogs eat cooked grits, keep in mind that any servings that you offer your dog should be held in check. 

Only give your dog grits as an occasional treat, keep the portions low, and avoid feeding any extra harmful ingredients like pepper and onions!

Do Dogs Need Grains?

Check out this fantastically informative video from the “Our pets Health” Channel with Dr Alex Avery, who discusses the nutritional benefits our furry friends get when dogs eat grain grits.

Can Dogs Eat Instant Grits?

The answer is yes and no when it comes to should dogs eat instant grits.

Instant grits aren’t toxic to dogs, so if your dog has eaten them, they won’t harm your pet’s health. Likewise, dogs can easily digest instant grits as well, especially if they are unseasoned or plain grits.

However, there is a catch! As mentioned earlier, grits are just empty calories. As they’re tasty and easy to digest, your dog can easily slip into overeating.

This will increase the likelihood of weight gain and obesity or allergic reactions. Also, if your furry Fido fills up on dog grits, they won’t 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 this corn based breakfast. Treating the constituent corn with lime doesn’t alter how safe grits are, or the nutrient content.

can dogs eat grits - Hominy grits with 2 corn on the cobs

Hominy grits, just like several varieties of grit, should be fed to your dog in small servings. It’s also a good idea to let dogs eat hominy grits only once in a while to avoid weight gain.

If you do decide to feed your dog hominy grits, use plain hominy grits that don’t include any other ingredients or added seasonings.

Can Dogs Eat Uncooked Grits?

Uncooked grits are essentially corn kernals that have been turned into ground corn.

Unlike cooked grits, in their raw state they are not digestible for dogs.

This mean that like so many human foods, it’s not healthy feeding raw uncooked grits to your dog.  

Grain grits contain a lot of starch, and dogs lack the enzymes to break down this complex carbohydrate.  

Therefore, if your dog ate uncooked grits, you should expect some serious digestive issues.  

So what can dogs eat grits with?

Can Dogs Eat Grits Wrapped in Bacon? 

As long as it’s unseasoned grits without any other ingredients, and it’s wrapped in bacon, your dog can eat it.  

As with any other food prepared for dogs, make sure to limit the amount of grits you feed them per serving to a tiny amount.  

Do not add extra ingredients to the dish!  

Can I give My Dog Sugar Grits?  

Many people wonder should dogs eat grits with Sugar, and it it okay. Sugar is often added to a grit mix for humans, but if you let dogs eat sugar grits, it could prove to be a very bad decision in the long run!  

Sugar has no nutritional benefits for your dog and you’re setting them up for a whole load of related health problems for the future.

Too many sugar grits and your dog could suffer weight gain from the high calories, diabetes and tooth decay.

Also, beware of sweeteners that contain xylitol. These sugar substitutes can be incredibly toxic to dogs.

Never feed grits with sweeteners to dogs.  

Always stick to unprocessed grits that don’t contain any refined sugars or sweeteners to avoid any preventable health consequences.    

Can Dogs Eat Grits and Eggs?  

Yes, dogs can certainly eat egg and grits, or corn grits with boiled eggs.  

Egg and grits will provide your dog with some decent, easy to digest nutrients.  

However, always remember to limit your dog’s servings and never add extra ingredients beyond the egg.  

If you do choose to feed grits and eggs to your dog, make sure the fat content isn’t too high in the bacon/sausage or whatever other meat you use.  

Can Dogs Eat Cornbread with Grits?

Cornbread tends to be prepared with buttermilk, which is a dairy product.  

2 portions of cornbread

Dogs should not eat grit type foods containing large portions of dairy as many of them are lactose intolerant .

This includes buttermilk and other types of milk products.  

Subsequently, the short answer here: No, it’s not a good idea for your dog to eat cornbread with grits.  

Can Dogs Eat Cheese Grits?  

Thinking it might be okay to let dogs eat cheese grits? That’s got to be a big fat no! Dogs literally eat cheese grits at their peril.  

It’s bad for dogs to eat cheese grits.

Cheese, as with any other food containing large amounts of dairy products, and should be kept away from your dog.  

Can Dogs Eat Grits with Butter?  

Grits with butter will add some tasty fats and proteins to your pup’s food.  

However, remember that a diet high in fat is never good for dogs to eat, it can lead to weight gain and other health issues. Therefore, limit this type of treat to once or twice a week at most!  

If you do feed grits with butter to your pooch, it’s best to use unsalted butter.  

Furthermore, you should only feed your dog a tiny serving of grits and butter at a time as they are safe for dogs, too much might also give them an upset stomach.  

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp and Grits?  

This is a tricky one!

We tend to believe that if it’s something that we can eat regularly, then it’s safe for your dog to eat too, however, that’s not really true.  

can dogs eat grits - shrimp and grits on a plate

Shrimp and grits are a more complex subject than it seems.  

First of all, the main ingredient in shrimp and grits are usually basic shrimp.

This makes the meal relatively healthy for dogs to eat!  

On the other hand, many recipes also include ingredients that are bad for your dog. These include buttermilk, cheese, and spinach.

Beef broth is also commonly used as a component which could be either good or bad depending on how it’s prepared.  

If you want to serve cooked grits and shrimp to your canine friend, make sure to only use plain shrimp, avoid adding any other ingredients, and serve either beef broth or water as the accompanying beverage.  

White Grits  

White grits are made from whole white dent corn.  

There’s no reason not let dogs eat white grits regularly since they’re naturally gluten-free!

To feed your dog white grits, make sure you either boil or steam them rather than serving them stovetop or baked.  

If you let dogs eat white grits, just make sure to limit the servings per meal, and always give your pup plain grits with no added ingredients!  

Yellow Grits 

Just like white and brown grits, yellow grits are made from yellow corn.  

So, you can cook and feed yellow grits to your dog as well!  

Yellow grits, as with the other variations of this cornmeal should always be served unseasoned or as plain grits, Your pup can safely eat grits, and enjoy them without any added ingredients or toppings.  

Dogs are able to eat yellow grits safely because they don’t typically contain any dairy products. Just don’t have too much yellow grits, make sure to limit the serving sizes and remember that canned or steamed yellow corn grits are better than stovetop or baked ones.

Alternatives of Grits for Dogs

We do not particularly recommend that your dog eats grits as a dog food because:

  • Grits are corn-based, this can increase the likelihood of allergies in dogs
  • The value of grits can be limited when compared to other foods.
  • Cooked grits are low in nutritional value.
  • Contain empty calories

However, we do have a few suggestions for healthier grit alternatives that your dog is safe to eat:

  • 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)
  • Sweet Potatoes (high in fiber and potasseum)

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

Conclusion

Many dogs eat corn grits, and while grits are safe for dogs, they shouldn’t be used solely as a pet food.  

Dogs can eat grits as part of a healthy diet, but ought only to have them infrequently and in small amounts with limited ingredients or plain.

This is because grits contain empty calories, and if eaten in large quantities it can lead to weight gain.

As in humans, obesity can develop into other more serious health problems.

can dogs eat grits - dog licking off a whisk

Grits are a complex food item to feed your dog, so it’s important to be mindful of what recipes you use if you decide to cook them for your pup.  

That said, it’s always best that dogs eat plain grits.  

There are also many great alternatives to grits that most dogs can safely eat and that offer more nutritional value than this grain-based meal.  

It’s well worth investigating these nutritious options before adding grits to your dog’s diet.  

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary help. 

You should always consult your veterinarian before feeding grits to your dog, especially if you have any concerns about the health of your pet.

We hope this article was helpful to you. Check out these other related articles.

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Is Nylabone Safe for Dogs?

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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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