Is plain all-purpose flour safe for dogs?

dogs and flour

Yes, dogs can have all-purpose flour but they probably should not because there is very limited nutritional value. All-purpose or plain flour is a refined grain as all of the bran and germ are removed which is where the majority of the nutrients and fiber are stored.

All-purpose flour and plain flour are the same things, generally, North Americans use the term all-purpose flour whereas the term plain flour is common in Australia and the UK.

Refined grains contain less fiber and can spike blood sugar levels when eaten by dogs. While many store-bought dog treats and dog biscuits do use plain flour as a binding agent there are more beneficial flours to use in your homemade dog treats.

Why is white flour not good for my dog?

White flour is made from refined wheat and has had most of its nutritional value removed. The dietary fiber and the germ is in the outer layers of the wheat that is removed during the refining process and all that’s left is the white starchy part.

This makes them high in carbohydrates but low in fiber and protein, which is the opposite of what you feed your dog.

One cup of white all-purpose flour contains more calories than most other flour that you can use in your homemade dog treats.

If you do use white flour choose the unbleached variety.

The chart below is a general estimate of the nutritional value of each flour

Plain4553.4 g95.4g1.2 g13g0.3g
Whole-Wheat40813g86g3 g16g0.5g
Oat Flour4206.8g68g9.5 g15g0.8g
Buckwheat Flour40212g84.7g3.72 g15.1g3.12g
Coconut Flour46648g72g16 g24g16g
Brown Rice Flour5747.27g113.5g4g8g1.04g
Almond Flour63212g23g60g24g4g

6 Nutritious alternatives to all-purpose flour for your homemade dog treats

1. Whole-Wheat Flour

If you are looking for a similar texture to cakes and cookies white whole-wheat flour is an option but whole-wheat flour that hasn’t been bleached would be a better option.

Whole-wheat flour may make your homemade treats a bit denser than plain all-purpose flour but it is high in carbs, and fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals like Vitamin E, Iron, and Manganese.

However, if your dog is sensitive to gluten this wheat is not a good choice.

Whole wheat can be difficult to digest for many dogs which can lead to bloat so try only using a small amount initially.

2. Oat Flour

Oat flour is another option but it is used more as a thickening agent and if you want your treats to be light and fluffy these will not be ideal.

3. Brown rice flour

Brown rice flour is a great choice for dogs that need gluten-free flour as dogs don’t actually need gluten. Gluten wasn’t introduced to dogs’ diet regularly until they began eating kibble.

4. Almond flour

Almond four is made from blanched whole almonds and is also a gluten-free, low-carb, low-salt option for dog treats.

5. Buckwheat

Buckwheat flour is made from ground buckwheat, is low on the glycemic index scale, and has a good amount of fiber and protein. Buckwheat flour makes a great option for dogs with diabetes.

6. Coconut flour

Coconut flour is made from dried and ground coconuts and is high in fiber and protein but low in carbohydrates and fat. It is also high in iron, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, and manganese. The flour has a high amount of fiber and is a good choice for dogs that have an allergy or intolerance to nuts or grains.

In addition, coconut flour is known to lower blood sugar in dogs and humans due to its low glycemic index of 51 which means it slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream because of its high fat and fiber content. In contrast, wheat flour has a glycemic index of 69.

To read about the pros and cons of 18 flours for dogs read our article here.

Things to keep in mind when feeding your dog flour

  • Too much can cause weight gain
  • Some dogs may have a hard time digesting flour which can lead to bloat


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