Can Dogs Eat Barley? Only In Moderation

Barley is known to have plenty of health benefits for humans, including preventing heart diseases and hypercholesterolemia. So, you must be wondering if you can feed this healthy grain to your pup?

Yes, you can give barley to your dog as it is high in fiber and low in cholesterol. However, at the same time, it is a carbohydrate, which is not the leading ingredient of dog food. But, if your dog is getting enough meat, then eating a moderate amount of barley from time to time won’t be a problem.

Even if you are feeding your pooch store-bought dog food, make sure that barley is in moderate amounts, and meat should be the natural part. In this article, we will let you know if barley is suitable for dogs or not. Plus, you will get to know the different types of barley and how you can use it for cooking the best meal for your dog. In addition, we will also discuss if barley is allergic or not. So, hang on tight, and let’s get into it!

How Much Barley Can A Dog Eat?

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The barley quantity that you feed your dog depends on the type of barley you use. It can be around ½ cup of dry barley or one to two tablespoons of barley soup.

Let’s discuss some of the different types of barleys and if they are safe for your dog or not.

Boiled Barley

Boiled barley is the safest way to let your furball enjoy it. You can add some meat to it but refrain from adding spices to give it additional flavor. Because the combination of barley and spices directly affects the pooch’s stomach. Therefore, serve it plain to your dog.

Cooked Barley

Cooked barley is safe for your pooch to consume. However, just be careful when cooking it, and do not add soya sauce or garlic to it because both of these ingredients are harmful to it.

However, if your dog does not have any allergy to foods, you can also cook your homemade barley recipes. Moreover, if your pup has never tried it before, make sure to offer it in minimal quantity and wait for its reaction.

Dry Barley

Dry barley is another suitable type to feed your dog. Even though most dog food commercials list dry barley as a safe ingredient to let your dog eat, moreover, make sure to provide it to your pooch in moderation.

Otherwise, overconsumption may badly affect the canine’s health. You can also feed dry barley in powder form to your pooch.

Barley Grass 

The barley grains that we use are actually the seeds of barley grass. This grass won’t affect your furry baby’s health, so it is okay to feed it to them in moderate quantities. Barley grass comprises the same nutrients and benefits that barley seeds do.

However, do note that if your pooch consumes it in high quantities, it can cause diarrhea as barley grass is a natural laxative.

Pearl Barley

Pearl barley is not as nutritious as the whole barley, but you can still feed it to your dog. Dog food commercials also list pearl barley as an ingredient in canine food. Moreover, it also comprises a lot of dietary fibers and proteins.

But along with fibers and proteins, pearl barley also contains gluten. So, if your pup is sensitive to gluten, then keep this barley type out of reach of your furry friend.

Barley Water

Barley water is beneficial for any dog recovering from surgery or who wants aid in urinary function. You can easily make barley water by soaking ¼ cup of barley in freshwater for around 5 hours. After the barley is soaked well, strain it and keep the water.

Now, it is up to you if you want to feed your pup plain barley water or mix up some veggies or apple juice in it.

Barley Flour 

Barley flour is absolutely safe, high in fiber, and a bit sweet, which is more suitable for your dog as compared to regular flour. So, you can make doggy treats with barley flour and give them to your dog occasionally.

Why Is Barley Bad For Dogs?

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Barley can upset your puppy’s stomach if fed in excessive amounts, causing constipation and diarrhea. The reason is that barley is a carbohydrate and contains fiber content in high amounts, which usually causes stomach issues in dogs.

Here are some symptoms to check if your dog has an upset stomach due to barley.


Gas is usually built-up in your pooch after digesting barley. If they can’t pass it for some reason, it can cause stomach ache.

Your dog can also suffer constipation after eating barley as their stool does not pass with the gas. Therefore, this situation can make your pooch uncomfortable and cause pain.

Obstructions And Inflammation

Dogs love to eat barley which is not good enough for their health. However, when they consume it in high amounts, or even in more minor amounts but with spices, then it can make your dog uncomfortable when digesting it. Due to this reason, indigestion of barley causes inflammation and obstruction in your puppy’s stomach.


When your dog cannot digest the food bits, it causes malabsorption. This condition of your puppy is pretty challenging to analyze because it shows some similar symptoms to other stomach diseases. Mainly, your furry fellow suffers malabsorption due to deficiency of enzyme pancreas releases.


As discussed earlier, barley with spices can cause inflammation in your dog’s stomach. And that inflammation can damage the lining of your pup’s stomach, which leads to ulcers. If this ulcer is not treated on time, it can lead your canine to severe diseases, such as cancer.


Actually, barley contains gluten in it. So, yes! Barley can be an allergen for some, but not all, dogs.

If your dog is sensitive to gluten or wheat, make sure not to feed him, barley, even in moderate amounts. Moreover, allergic reactions due to barley can be noticed immediately or sometimes after a year.

Therefore, it is better to consult your vet before feeding it to your pooch. Here are symptoms of allergy in dogs.

Symptoms Of Barley Allergy In Dogs

How Do You Cook Barley For Dogs? 

You can cook barley in various ways to feed it safely to your dog. You create delicious treats, soup, or pies from it. 

Serving barley on its own can affect your puppy’s health as it is not the fundamental element of its diet. So, it is crucial to keep your dog’s diet balanced. 

Here are some of the safest and tastiest ways to serve barley to your dog.

Pumpkin Pie

Take ½ cup of barley flour, ⅛ teaspoon of salt, a pinch of cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon of baking powder. Make a puree of frozen pumpkin and mix it in the prepared dry ingredients mixture. Knead the mixture well, and make small balls of it around 2 inches.

Next, flatten these small pumpkin barley balls on a greased cookie sheet and bake them for 20 minutes at 350 °F, then refrigerate them and let them cool completely. Now, serve one pie per day to your pup as a reward.

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Barley Treat

Take ¾ cup of whole wheat flour and mix it with ¼ cup of barley flour. Now, gradually add applesauce until the mixture reaches firm enough to roll out and, at the same time, moist enough so it won’t crack when baking.

Sprinkle some barley flour on the surface and roll out the dough. Now cut it into your desired shapes and bake it for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 °F again until they turn golden brown. Let them cool and serve it to your furball in moderation.

Beef And Barley Stew

Add 3 lbs of beef, 2 lbs chopped carrots, 2 lbs of sweet potatoes, ½ cup of chopped celery, and 2 quarts of water in the slow cooker. Cook it for around 4 hours, then add a pound of pearl barley and cook again for one more hour. Now, let it cool and serve it to your furry fellow.

You can replace beef with any meat type your pup prefers. Moreover, we recommend you to serve this recipe two times a day and ½ a cup per serving. Restore the leftover in an airtight container and regenerate it.

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Pete Decker