On cold winter mornings, many people find culinary comfort in a warm, stick-to-your-ribs bowl of nourishing porridge. Pet parents can share and create healthy porridge recipes for their dogs, too. This fulfilling dish can help your pups through those cold winter days on the trail -- or those same days on the couch.
Porridge Info & Health Benefits
Porridge is a hot, grain-based cereal often served with milk, fruit or nuts. Many grains are suitable, including oats, quinoa, millet and barley. Corn and wheat also serve in porridge, but many dogs have sensitivities to them, so avoid them in your pet's porridge. Oats are the most common American selection. They contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, a low glycemic index and nutrients like zinc, magnesium, B-vitamins and vitamin E. Oats can also soothe both skin and tummy, so this popular porridge ingredient is a logical choice.
Basic Oat-Based Porridge
To make a basic oat-based porridge, bring 3 cups of water to boil. Gradually add 1 cup of steel-cut oats, or quick-cook oats if you're short on time, stirring to prevent lumps. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce to low, simmering for about 30 minutes or for the time specified on the package. When the mixture is nearly cooked, gradually stir in 1 cup of cow's, goat or coconut milk. Do not boil the milk. Top with 1/4 cup of your dog's favorite fruits.
A simple mixed-grain porridge substitutes out part of the oats. Bring 3 cups of water to boil. Gradually add 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup rice and 1/3 cup quinoa, stirring to prevent lumps. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce to low, simmering for about 30 minutes. When the mixture is nearly cooked, gradually stir in 1 cup cow's, goat or coconut milk. Do not let the milk boil. Top with no more than 1/4 cup of your dog's favorite fruits.
Serving Information and General Considerations
If your dog doesn't tolerate milk, use water, adjusting the amount as needed. Coconut milk is a nutritious substitute for dairy milk. Porridge is a good complement to your dog's diet, with meat and vegetables being the recommended staples. Generally, grains should compose only about 10 percent of your dog's diet. So limit serving size. When you're introducing porridge, offer a small amount at first and wait 24 hours to monitor digestion before gradually increasing the amount to no more than a tenth of his dietary caloric intake. In general, think of it as a side dish.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.