A dog with a happy expression looking at barley, highlighting healthy food for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Barley?

Yes, dogs can eat barley. This whole grain is packed with nutrients that can benefit your furry friend's health. However, as with any food, it's important to feed barley in moderation and prepare it correctly to avoid digestive issues.

A photo of Stefan Stumpfl, the co-author of this article.

By Stefan Stumpfl, in collaboration with Dr. Ali Raza.

Updated on Jun 16, 2024

Did You Know?

Barley is a whole grain that provides a good source of energy and fiber for dogs.




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Feeding Frequency


Allergic Risk


Why is Barley Healthy for Dogs?

Barley is a good source of fiber, which supports healthy digestion in dogs. It's also rich in vitamins such as B vitamins and minerals like magnesium and selenium. These nutrients contribute to overall wellness, including improved energy levels and a strong immune system. Veterinary studies and endorsements also hail barley for its beneficial impact on dogs' insulin levels.

Do Dogs Like Barley?

Dogs can develop a taste for barley, especially when it's mixed into their regular food. The texture of cooked barley is pleasing to many dogs, and its mild flavor doesn't overwhelm their taste buds. You might notice your dog welcoming a bit of variety in their meals when barley is included!

Can Puppies Eat Barley?

Yes, puppies can eat barley, but it should be introduced slowly and in small amounts. Their digestive systems are still developing, so it's crucial to monitor for any signs of discomfort or allergies. Mixing barley into their usual food can help puppies adjust to this healthy grain.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Barley?

While uncommon, some dogs can be allergic to barley. Symptoms may include itching, skin rashes, or digestive upset. If you notice any of these signs after introducing barley, it’s best to consult your vet. Always start with small portions to rule out any allergic reactions.

How Much Barley Can Dogs Eat?

The amount of barley your dog can safely eat depends on their size, breed, and overall health. Generally, smaller dogs can have around 1-2 tablespoons of cooked barley a few times a week, while larger dogs can have 2-4 tablespoons. Overconsumption can lead to weight gain and digestive issues, so always stick to moderate amounts.

Best Ways to Incorporate Barley Into Your Dog’s Diet

Cooked barley can be easily added to your dog's regular meals. Make sure it's plain, without any added salt, butter, or seasonings. Mix a small amount into their kibble or wet food. You can also use barley as a binder in homemade dog food recipes or treats.

Potential Risks of Barley

The major risk of feeding barley lies in overconsumption, which can cause bloating or weight gain. Also, raw barley should be avoided as it can be tough to digest. Always cook the barley well, and avoid any added ingredients that might be harmful to dogs, like garlic or onions.

Common Misconceptions

Some people believe that grains like barley are bad for dogs because they can't digest them properly. However, well-cooked grains are digestible and can be a valuable part of a balanced diet. It's all about cooking it right and feeding in moderation!

Other Healthy Food Options

Here are a few other grains and foods that can benefit your dog's diet:

  • Brown Rice: Another excellent source of fiber and essential vitamins.
  • Oats: Great for digestion and skin health, especially for dogs with sensitivities.
  • Quinoa: A protein-packed grain that's also rich in amino acids.


Incorporating barley into your dog’s diet in moderation can offer numerous health benefits, from improved digestion to better immunity. Always remember that balance is key, and it's wise to consult with your vet before making any major changes to your dog's diet. Keep it simple, keep it healthy, and your pup will thank you!