Can Dogs Eat Barley? All You Need To Know

If you’re looking at dog food ingredients, you could notice barley and wonder what it is and if it’s good for your dog. Barley appears to be gaining traction as an alternative grain, displacing corn, wheat, and soy as prominent food fillers. Is barley safe for dogs to eat? They can, without a doubt.

However, before you get too happy, keep in mind that this does not apply to all dogs. Grain sensitivities are possible in certain dogs. But first, let’s go through what barley is and how it can help your dog.

In many modern dog food recipes, barley is a common ingredient. Because the grain is easily digested, your dog’s body doesn’t have to work as hard to process it.

There’s a reason so many recipes include barley in their ingredients list. It has several health advantages for your canine companion.

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High in Water Soluble Fiber

Fiber aids in the regularity of your dog’s digestive system. It will prevent diarrhea and constipation, as well as improve gut health.

Full of Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates take longer to digest than fiber. As the enzymes break down, the sugars are used by dogs to provide necessary energy to the body.

Contains a High Amount of Beta-Glucans

Beta-glucans, which are prevalent in barley, aid in skin health and cholesterol reduction.


Selenium is a nutrient that supports your dog’s immune system and thyroid function.

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Using Barley in Homemade Dog Food

If you’re looking for the best grain to use in homemade dog food, barley is a fantastic option. Not only can barley help your dog’s digestive system, but it’s also rather inexpensive to purchase.

There are many dog food recipes on the internet that you may try for your dog—many people prefer this option when making their own restricted ingredient diet.

However, you must ensure that you include all of the necessary ingredients to meet your dog’s dietary requirements. If you skip out on essential nutrients, you risk a slew of other problems that are easily avoidable.

Always check with your veterinarian before serving any homemade food on a regular basis to ensure that it is safe.

Barley Isn’t a Natural Part of Your Dogs Diet

Barley isn’t a natural part of a dog’s diet in the wild. However, combining barley with a protein source can help them digest and eat more efficiently. Domesticated dogs have gone a long way from their wolf origins, after all.

Make sure to leave out any spices or flavors if you’re cooking barley. Dogs are at risk from several of these substances. So simply cook the barley and serve it plain, preferably with a tasty meat source.

Even though barley has been proven to be one of the most digestible grains for dogs, it is not good for all stomachs. Grain sensitivity or gluten allergies affect certain canines. So, no matter how easy it is on the stomach, your dog can’t eat any.

The only way to keep these dogs healthy is to feed them a grain-free diet. Fortunately, gluten-free recipes abound on the market, ensuring that your dog’s digestion remains unaffected.

Common symptoms of allergies or sensitivities include:

  • Itching
  • Hair loss
  • Yeasty skin
  • Poor coat
  • Weight loss
  • Ear infections
  • Chronic diarrhea

If your dog has been showing a few of these symptoms but you haven’t been able to identify the cause, consult your veterinarian. They won’t be able to eat barley if they develop a gluten allergy.

Types of Barley

Some ingredients you might commonly see associated with barley are:

  • Barley flour
  • Pearled barley
  • Hulled barley
  • Hulless barley

Barley in Commercial Dog Food

If your dog isn’t wheat products, barley is a great choice to try. Barley is a main grain in many limited-ingredient diets and organic recipes. Barley, like oats, has a better reputation for being gentler on your dog’s digestive tract.

Of course, you’ll want to cover all nutritional bases. No matter the diet you choose for your dog, protein should always be the first ingredient. Having a complete protein source helps to keep their muscles in good shape.

Dogs and Barley Summary

So now you know that most of the time, dogs can eat barley without issue. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, your veterinarian can help you identify possible triggers. Always remember that changing your dog’s food based on assumptions can cause more damage than benefit.

If you want to cook a homemade meal, make sure to include all of the essential nutrients for good health.

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