Dogs and dog foods are among the most frequently discussed topics in magazines, newspapers, blogs, and web forums. Sometimes people ask whether their dog can eat quinoa – so we thought we’d answer this question here.
So, Can Dogs Eat Quinoa?
In short: Yes! Quinoa is a perfectly healthy food for dogs to consume. It is packed with protein and fiber which can aid in digestion and at the same time, provide a satisfying meal that will leave your pet feeling full. The nutrients that are associated with this gluten-free seed is equally healthy for your dog as it is for you.
Despite its prevalence, there is little known about this nutrient powerhouse. So, let’s begin this article by exploring quinoas.
What Is Quinoa?
Referred to as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed from the Chenopodium quinoa plant. It is not a whole grain, like oats or barley. Quinoa is termed as “pseudo-cereal”, which are plant-based foods but are prepared and consumed as whole grains.
Originating in South America, quinoa has been consumed for over 4000 years. There are about 120 different types of this cereal as defined by the Whole Grains Council. The most common color varieties are white, red, or black.
The nutritional value of this super-food is exceptional. It consists of protein, carbohydrate, calcium, vitamins, essential amino acids, fiber, iron, copper, phosphorus, and other minerals that are highly beneficial to the human body. According to the Whole Grains Council, quinoa is a gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate. It is also known as “the most complete protein source” with all nine essential amino acids (including tryptophan, the amino acid that your body uses to make melatonin and serotonin). This makes Quinoa the perfect choice for health enthusiasts or people with a gluten allergy.
Health Benefits of Quinoa for Your Dog
Quinoa is highly beneficial for dogs. This edible seed is in fact a major ingredient in some high-quality dry dog foods.
Each element of this vastly nutritious food provides an array of health benefits to your dog.
- Amino Acids– The Amino acids in quinoa protect muscles and increase your dog’s growth. It also reduces fatigue and can be used as a regular treat for active breeds.
- Carbohydrate– Quinoa provides the best source of carbs for your furry friend. The sugar molecules take comparatively longer to break down and their body absorbs the nutrients over a period of time. This means your dog will be able to sustain the energy level for longer.
- Calcium– The calcium from quinoa improves your canine’s bones and teeth. It also supports pregnant canines and nursing dogs for a healthier body.
- Vitamins– Quinoa is rich in vitamin B1. This improves a dog’s metabolism and also aids in proper brain functioning. It also offers vitamin E which helps in the nourishment of their skin and hair. Your pooch’s coat will be healthy and shiny.
- Fiber– Just like humans, the fiber in quinoa improves bowel movement and reduces the risk of constipation in your dog.
- Magnesium– Magnesium is important for a healthy nervous system. The magnesium found in quinoa strengthens your dog’s muscles and nerves and helps to sustain a regular heartbeat.
- Iron– Iron from quinoa helps to balance red blood cells that protect dogs from anemia and benefits their overall health and vitality.
- Quinoa is also high in Phosphorus, Potassium, Manganese, and Zinc, which improves the overall health of your pup.
It really is a super-food, isn’t it?
Things You Must Be Careful About Before You Feed Quinoa To Your Dog
There are some concerns regarding giving quinoa to your dog.
You should know that animals cannot process plant-based food easily as their digestive system isn’t accustomed to it. So, it is possible that your dog might be sensitive to quinoa.
The reactions might include:
- Oral pain and swelling
- Poor appetite
Contact your veterinarian if your pup shows any of these symptoms.
Secondly, quinoa seeds contain a chemical called Saponin that could be harmful to dogs. The amount is typically very less, but it can still irritate the intestines of canines.
An organic compound found in many plants called Oxalates is also found in Quinoa. It has been known to cause digestive issues in canines. Be careful to offer it to dogs who have arthritis as it causes inflammation of the digestive tract.
How Can You Feed Quinoa to Your Dog?
You can introduce quinoa to your dog’s diet gradually. Start with a teaspoon or slightly more if your dog is large. Also, make sure they are comfortable with the taste. And most importantly, observe if they have any digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting. If yes, give them immediate health care and never feed them this food again.
To remove the Saponin, you can wash the quinoa thoroughly before cooking.
You must cook quinoa properly before giving your four-legged friend a spoonful. It can make digestion easier.
Also, check out Can Dogs Eat Peas?
Can Your Dog Eat Quinoa Instead of Rice?
Absolutely! Rice has a lot less nutritional value compared to this superfood. A cup of quinoa contains five grams more fiber and twice the protein as the same amount of rice. Hence, it can be a healthy substitute for your dog, as well as for yourself.
You can also choose quinoa for its taste. It has a rich, nutty flavor and a distinct texture. If your dog is bored of eating the same old rice, they might just love the new taste of quinoa.
All in all, yes, Dogs can eat quinoa. This vastly nutritious food provides an array of health benefits to your dog. Quinoa can be a healthy addition or even an alternative to rice, corn, wheat, and soy. Just remember to wash and cook it properly before serving it to your dog. Some canines can be sensitive to plan-based foods, so go slow with the amount and watch out for your dog’s digestive health after you feed them quinoa.
Keep in mind, you should always consult your veterinarian before giving quinoa, or any human food to your dog.
To explore more, check out our other quinoa-related dog articles that you might be interested in.
Did you already know about the incredible health benefits of feeding quinoa to your dog? How often do you give quinoa to your furry friend? We would love to hear from you. Please share with us by leaving a comment below!