Can Dogs Eat Buckwheat? Safe Or Toxic?

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Can dogs eat buckwheat? Yes, dogs can safely consume the grain-like seed once it is cooked. It is a great gluten-free alternative to wheat. It boasts many health benefits and is high in minerals and antioxidants. 
However, the rest of the buckwheat plant is toxic to dogs. It can cause photosensitivity (link).

 

What Is Buckwheat? 5 Quick Facts

  • Buckwheat is a seed that is considered a pseudo-cereal (like quinoa and chia).
  • It is brown and has a triangular shape when uncooked.
  • It has a nutty and slightly bitter flavor.
  • It is gluten-free, and despite its name, it is not related to wheat.
  • Buckwheat is commonly used to make pancakes and is the main ingredient in soba noodles (soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat).

 

Busy? Get Your Hands Paws On The Answers Quickly…

 

Benefits Of Buckwheat To Dogs

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Gluten-Free Alternative

Buckwheat is a great wheat-free carbohydrate. If your dog has grain or gluten allergies, buckwheat can be added to their food or treats as an alternative.

 

Antioxidants

Buckwheat contains several antioxidants. These could potentially lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, and improve inflammation and blood pressure. 

 

High In Nutrients

Buckwheat contains fiber, protein, and carbohydrates. 
Fiber - This is essential to keeping your dog regular and preventing constipation. It can also help with anal gland problems.
Protein - Dogs need protein, although the majority should come from animal sources, this provides a small additional amount. Protein helps keep your dog's muscles healthy. 
Carbohydrates - Carbohydrates help to provide energy to your dogs, and this is an excellent alternative to wheat, potatoes, oats, and rice.

 

Help Control Diabetes

In a study, buckwheat was shown to lower blood sugar levels by 12-19%. It is thought to be due to the compound D-chiro-inositol. This could be beneficial for diabetic dogs.

 

Risks Of Buckwheat For Dogs

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Allergies

Dogs can be allergic to just about anything, and buckwheat is no exception. Allergies typically present themselves in dogs through itchiness, upset stomach, and swelling. 

 

Added Ingredients

If you are buying pre-cooked buckwheat, buckwheat noodles, health bars, or cereals containing buckwheat, they may be unsuitable for dogs due to the added ingredients. Ingredients to look for are raisins, sweeteners, chocolate, excess salt, or sugar. Some of these ingredients can be fatal.

 

Stomach Upset

As with all new foods, introduce buckwheat slowly. Any change in a dogs' diet can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Add new foods in small amounts to their existing meals and increase gradually.

 

Is Buckwheat Toxic To Dogs?

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The seeds are considered safe for dogs to eat. However, the plant is toxic.
The buckwheat plant contains fagopyrin. Fagopyrin is present in all parts of the plant, except the edible seeds. Fagopyrin can cause photosensitivity when ingested in large amounts. Once ingested, it is absorbed into the blood and reacts with the sun. 
Dogs who have ingested a considerable amount will usually hide in the shade. 
Symptoms of buckwheat poisoning include:
  • Fear of the sun and shelter from the sun
  • Swelling
  • Scabbing
  • Discomfort
  • Lumps on the skin
  • Restlessness
If you think your dog has buckwheat poisoning, make sure to keep them sheltered from the sun. Sunscreen is not effective against fagopyrin. Keep your dog in the shade and away from the windows. 
Anti-inflammatories may be prescribed by your veterinarian to help with the skin damage. In more severe cases, the damaged skin may need to be removed. 
To prevent buckwheat poisoning, make sure to restrict access to buckwheat plants, and supervise your dog when they are outside or in unknown environments (link) (link). 

 

Grains and Dogs

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Can dogs eat grains?

It depends. A healthy dog, with no allergies, should be able to process grains and reap the benefits. 
Allergies are the main reason you should remove grains from your dogs' diet. 
Overall, there should be no reason to remove grains from your dog's diet unless they have an allergy or for another health reason recommended by your vet. 

 

What grains can dogs eat?

Most grains are suitable for dogs, but some have more nutritional benefits than others. 
All dogs process grains differently. One that is suitable for one dog, may not be ideal for another.
For example, our favorites are brown rice, whole grain flour, and oats. However, these may be too fibrous for a dog with a sensitive stomach or gastrointestinal issues. 
You might like our other articles Can Dogs Eat Flour and Can Dogs Eat Quinoa

What grains are bad for dogs?

None are particularly 'bad,' but the least nutritious are corn, white rice, and white or bleached wheat. These tend to be cheaper and used as 'filler' in dog food and kibble. They increase the carbohydrate content, as well as the quantity of kibble they can produce at a lower cost.
We prefer to stick to more natural whole grains if possible. However, white rice is great for dogs recovering from diarrhea and vomiting. 

 

Why are grain-free, gluten-free, low-carb diets so popular for dogs?

These diets are now common in the dog world. This is due to many reasons, the main ones being: 
Dog Food Scandal - In 2007, wheat imported from China was contaminated with chemicals. Dog food companies used this wheat, and sadly many dogs fell ill and died. Since then, many people have been avoiding wheat. However, it was not the wheat that caused the fatalities, but the chemicals.
Wolves - Many people think that because of their wild ancestors not needing or eating grains that their domestic dogs do not need grains in their diet either. However, dogs can digest different foods. Scientists think that when dogs evolved, they developed the ability to digest grains.
Keto, Atkins, Paleo Diets - Many people see or hear about the benefits of these diets on humans and project this onto their dogs. The majority (up to 50%) of dog food companies produce a no grain or gluten version to cater to this demand, despite very little evidence that it is superior.
 

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Diet Risks:

Commercially produced grain-free dog food tends to contain carbohydrate alternatives, such as potatoes and legumes (beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, etc.). This has been linked to a potential risk of Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy DCM.
DCM is a common heart condition in dogs. It is when there is not enough pressure to pump the blood around the body. While DCM is not uncommon in dogs, it is more common in certain breeds. These are usually larger breeds, including Afghan Hounds, Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, etc. 
Breeds not generally at high risk of DCM were being reported of suffering with it. The FDA is investigating a possible link between dogs who consumed a diet primarily made up of potatoes and legumes (including lentils, chickpeas, pulses, and other peas and beans) and acquiring DCM. 
The FDA is still exploring this. Check this for more information and to keep up to date. 

 

How To Prepare Buckwheat For Your Dog

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As an alternative to quinoa, rice, oats, or wheat, buckwheat can be added into your dog's food or added to treats.

 

How To Make Buckwheat Flour:

You can make the flour by grinding the roasted buckwheat in a food processor until it forms a flour.

 

How To Cook Buckwheat:

Ingredients:
  • 1 part roasted or toasted buckwheat
  • 2 parts water
Directions:
1. Ensure the buckwheat has been roasted or toasted before using it.
2. Rinse thoroughly to remove any debris.
3. Place the buckwheat and water in the pan over high heat.
4. Once the water begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

 

Buckwheat Dog Treat Recipes

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Banana, Buckwheat, and Carrot Dog Treats, inspired by Heavenlynn Healthy 

Ingredients:
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F (180 degrees C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Wash and grate the carrots. 
3. Mash the bananas with a fork in a large mixing bowl. 
4. Add the egg, coconut oil, grated carrots, and flour. Stir well until a dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, add a little bit more of the flour.
5. Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper and cut into treat sized pieces.
6. Transfer to the baking tray.
7. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
8. Allow to cool before serving.

 

Blueberry and Buckwheat Dog Treats, inspired by Pet Food Diva

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pure applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Add the blueberries and unsweetened applesauce to a food processor and puree until smooth.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the flour, egg, melted coconut oil, water, and cinnamon. Mix well until a dough-like consistency forms.
5. Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper to 1/4-inch thick and cut into treat sized pieces.
6. Transfer to the baking tray.
7. Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes or until crisp.
8. Allow to cool before serving.

 

Parsley and Buckwheat Dog Treats, inspired by Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Water
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, parsley, and mint. 
3. Add the coconut oil and stir. Add the egg and stir until well combined (the mixture will still be dry and crumbly).
4. Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface and knead the dough to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Add a teaspoon of water at a time to help the dough come together (this should take about 5 minutes).
5. Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper to 1/4-inch thick and cut into treat sized pieces.
6. Transfer to the baking tray.
7. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
8. Allow to cool before serving.

 

Buckwheat Puppy Pancakes, inspired by The Work Top

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp 100% peanut butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 tbsp quick-cook polenta
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2-3 tbsp water, as needed
  • Coconut oil, for cooking, as needed
For the drizzle:
  • 2 tbsp 100% peanut butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp warm water
Directions:
1. Make the drizzle by combining the peanut butter and water, set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Mix in the buttermilk and peanut butter. 
3. Add the flour, polenta, and baking powder. The batter should be thick, but be able to drizzle off a spoon slowly. 
4. Add water by the tablespoon, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Heat a griddle to medium heat. Add a bit of oil to the griddle.
6. Drop the pancake batter on the griddle. 
7. Cook for about 2 minutes until the underside is golden brown. Flip and cook for an additional minute, until both sides are golden brown.
8. Serve with drizzle.

 

FAQs

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Can cats eat buckwheat?
Like dogs, the plant is toxic to cats. It is also recommended to avoid buckwheat flour (link). There is not much evidence on whether the seed itself is toxic for cats. To be safe, we recommend to avoid feeding buckwheat to cats.

 

Can dogs eat buckwheat pancakes?
Maybe. It depends on the ingredients used to make them. 
Usually, buckwheat pancakes include dog-safe ingredients. We also have a recipe above for a dog-specific buckwheat pancake. 
Ingredients to look out, which aren't safe for dogs, are sweeteners, grapes, and chocolate. If your dog is sensitive to dairy, look out for buttermilk, cream, or milk.

 

 

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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.

 

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