Nature Valley granola bars are undoubtedly delicious, but are they really healthy? Their labels boast ingredients that sound healthy, like “whole grain oats” and “real honey,” but if you take a moment to read the full list of ingredients, you’ll quickly find out why you shouldn’t feed them to your dog. Keep reading to learn more about why Nature Valley bars are bad for dogs…
Why Nature Valley Bars Are Bad for Dogs
I’ve noticed a lot of people online trying to figure out if there is a safe way to feed their dog granola. The main concern for most folks is that many varieties of granola and granola bars contain raisins, which are toxic to dogs. Some granola bars also contain other ingredients harmful to dogs, such as chocolate, macadamia nuts, and the artificial sweetener, xylitol.
This has lead some people to think they can safely feed their dogs Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey granola bars since they do not contain any of the aforementioned toxic ingredients. Nevertheless, I would strongly advise against this.
Here are the ingredients for Nature Valley Oats N’ Honey bars:
- Whole Grain Oats
- Canola Oil
- Rice Flour
- Brown Sugar Syrup
- Baking Soda
- Soy Lecithin
- Natural Flavor
The emboldened ingredients are unquestionably bad for dogs. Refined sugars, oil, and salt offer no nutritional value to your dog’s diet, and feeding them these ingredients on a regular basis or in large quantities could lead to serious health problems. Even honey is questionable since it’s basically just sugar, and any expert would agree it is only safe for dogs in very small quantities.
Table sugar and other types of refined sugar, like brown sugar syrup, have no place in a dog’s diet. Sugar can give your dog cavities, make them obese, upset their stomach, and cause inflammation throughout their whole body.
Vets advise against feeding dogs fried foods and foods containing refined oils, such as canola oil. That’s because a dog’s dietary fat requirements are actually quite low – 14.5g is the RDA for a 33 lb adult dog. A Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey bar contains 3.5g of fat. In other words, a single Nature Valley bar would likely supply your dog with 25% of the maximum amount of fat they should consume in an entire day – that’s quite a lot for such a small serving.
Vets also advise against feeding dogs foods with added salt. Salty foods can make dogs dehydrated, which can cause them to drink too much water, possibly leading to bloat. A Nature Valley bar contains about 90mg of sodium, which again, is quite high for such a small treat.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Nature Valley Bar
Suppose your dog helps them self to one of your Nature Valley bars; what should you do? This question is a little bit tricky since there are so many varieties of Nature Valley bars…
If your dog only ate one bar of a flavor that does not contain chocolate or raisins, they will likely be just fine. You shouldn’t worry too much about it.
If your dog ate a bar that does contain chocolate or raisins, and they are a small dog – under 50 lb – you should observe them closely for the symptoms of chocolate or raisin poisoning, and take them to the vet if necessary. If your dog is larger than 50 lb, it is highly unlikely a single chocolate Nature Valley bar would give them chocolate poisoning, though raisins could still pose a risk.
If your dog ate an entire box of Nature Valley bars – 12 or more – no matter the flavor, you should take them to the vet. Even without chocolate or raisins, all of the fat, sugar, and salt could make them ill.
If you are concerned your dog might get chocolate or raisin poisoning from a Nature Valley bar, these are the symptoms to watch for:
Chocolate Poisoning Symptoms
- Rapid heart rate
- Heavy panting
- Excessive urination
- Muscle tremors
Raisin Poisoning Symptoms
- Dehydration – over consumption of water
- Abdominal pain – noticeable discomfort when touched
What to Feed Your Dog Instead of Granola
If you want to feed your a granola-like treat that is safe for them, simply give them some plain oatmeal or toasted oats. You could also add a little bit of peanut butter and/or berries to it – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are safe for dogs to eat; though other varieties may be toxic.
Nature Valley. Oats ‘N Honey Crunchy Granola Bars. Retrieved from https://www.naturevalley.com/product/crunchy-bars-oats-n-honey/
Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT. Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs. Retrieved from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/chocolate-poisoning-in-dogs
Erika Mansourian. Are Grapes Bad for Dogs? Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-grapes/