Quinoa has gradually risen in popularity as individuals seek out healthy diet choices. Surprisingly, this has extended to pet parents too! Quinoa is among the most nutritious seeds known to man. The seed, whose origin can be traced back to South America, has been consumed for over four centuries but has over the years has grown in popularity mainly thanks to its nutritional value and relatively low cost.
While it has become clear that Quinoa is a beneficial addition to a humans diet, there are some questions about whether dogs can also consume it. So can dogs eat quinoa? Let’s find out!
Can Dogs Eat Quinoa?
Yes, dogs can eat Quinoa! Although it may be surprising to many, dogs like humans can also benefit from the nutritional prowess of quinoa.
This edible seed is, in fact, an ingredient in several high-quality dry dog food recipes. With its solid nutritional profile, it is considered a superior alternative to low-quality grains and fillers such as wheat, corn, and soy. These ingredients used to be and continue to be utilized in the making of kibble despite their poor nutritional value.
How Much Quinoa Is Safe For Dogs?
Just like with any other new food that you introduce to your pet, it is essential to start with relatively small amounts and carefully monitor how your dog reacts to it before you can increase the serving portions.
If you are introducing a new kibble with uses Quinoa, mix it with your dogs existing kibble and slowly increase the proportion of the new kibble over a few weeks.
As always, be cautious and consult with a veterinarian if you are concerned about introducing new food to your dog.
How To Prepare Quinoa For Dogs
If you want to provide fresh Quinoa to your dog and not Quinoa that is an ingredient in kibble then you need to ensure it is adequately prepared.
To do this, it is vital that you thoroughly wash as well as cook the quinoa before giving it to your dog.
Why is washing the Quinoa important? Besides the cleanliness aspect, quinoa contains a chemical compound known as saponin, which is significantly more harmful and perilous for dogs in comparison to humans. As such, you want to get rid of it for the safety of your furry friend.
Another crucial consideration to remember is that unlike with human beings where quinoa is prepared with various seasonings, like garlic or salt to add to the flavor, it is wise to avoid the use of such seasonings since they can be toxic to your dog.
What Benefits Does Quinoa Offer Dogs?
Quinoa is similar to legumes like Peas as it contains a significant portion of plant-based protein. While dogs should get the bulk of their protein from animal and fish sources, plant-based protein can supplement already high levels.
It will come as no surprise that Quinoa is a reliable source of carbohydrates which can act as a source of energy to dogs. Quinoa is comprised of complex carbohydrates.
These carbohydrates are preferred to simple carbohydrates like sugar as they release their energy slowly throughout the course of the day. In addition, they do not cause spikes in blood sugar levels or cause hyperactivity.
Besides being a good source of carbohydrates, Quinoa has notably low levels of fat, which could be a useful trait for those dogs who are at risk of developing obesity or weight gain.
Quinoa also boasts a relatively high fiber level, which can be important to some dogs to allow for normal digestion and regular stools!
Other reasons that render Quinoa an excellent addition to a dog’s diet include:
• Quinoa has extremely low cholesterol levels
• Quinoa is highly packed with trace minerals and vitamins like Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, riboflavin, thiamin, iron, niacin, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
• Quinoa is rich in antioxidants that some believe can fight cancer.
• Quinoa can improve the cardiovascular system and be an aid in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
• Quinoa can reduce the possibility of your furry friend developing diabetes.
• Quinoa is also a remarkable source of Omega 3 fatty acids that can help your dog effectively fight against inflammations, as well as improve the condition of their skin and coat.
Does Quinoa Have Any Side Effects Or Concerns You Should Worry About?
In general, the only concern with Quinoa is the presence of saponin as we discussed earlier. It only occurs in relatively small quantities, although you will want to thoroughly clean and cook the Quinoa to prevent any adverse reactions.
Some of the few symptoms that your dog may exhibit if they Quinoa that still contains a notable level of Saponin:
However, these symptoms are not unique to saponin consumption. If these concerns arise even after taking all the safety precautions including proper preparation, you should stop feeding quinoa to your furry friend; and if the symptoms persist, you should seek medical assistance from your veterinarian.
Quinoa – The Bottom Line
Similar to humans, Quinoa can be a great addition to a dog’s diet thanks to its high nutritional value and advantages over grains and other plant-based ingredients. However, as we have discussed, it is important to remember that if you are feeding Quinoa to your dog for the first time, you should be sure to follow all the precautionary measures as highlighted in this article.
If your dog enjoys Quinoa and shows no adverse effects, then you may want to consider including it as a permanent part of your dog’s diet and let them reap the benefits!