Can Dogs Eat Quinoa?
Can dogs eat quinoa? Yes. Cooked quinoa can be a great addition to your dog’s diet. It has many nutritional benefits, including being high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and full of vitamins and antioxidants.
As with all food, make sure it is incorporated into their daily allowance to avoid obesity. If you are using quinoa as a treat, treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s recommended daily allowance.
Make sure to introduce quinoa slowly. Rapidly changing your pet's diet can result in an upset stomach.
What Is The Difference Between Red, Black, and White Quinoa?
White (AKA golden or ivory) Quinoa - This is the fluffiest and lightest quinoa, it is the most common variety in dishes and is also used to make quinoa flour.
Red Quinoa - Red quinoa is more abundant in flavor than the others. We commonly use it in salads.
Black Quinoa - This is a sweeter variety with a more earthy taste.
Busy? Get Your Hands Paws On The Answers Quickly…
Health Benefits Of Quinoa For Dogs
As per USDA 1 cup cooked white quinoa contains:
Keep Your Dog Regular
Quinoa has almost double the amount of fiber compared to alternative grains. Increased fiber lowers the risk of constipation.
Build and Repair Muscles
Quinoa is a good source of plant-based protein, with 8g per 1 cooked cup. Protein is made up of essential amino acids that must be supplied by food. They are responsible for building and repairing muscles.
The protein in quinoa can help reduce appetite, and therefore your dog will eat less and consequently lose weight. Quinoa is also low-fat, making it a great food to incorporate into dog treats without your pup piling on the pounds.
Quinoa is naturally free of gluten. So if your dog requires a diet without gluten for medical reasons or due to allergies, it is a great substitute. Quinoa also has a higher nutritional value than alternative options, including potatoes (link).
Although many people think dogs are carnivores, it has been shown they can thrive on a vegetarian diet. Being high in protein, it is excellent for both a vegetarian and a vegan diet in dogs. If you are considering a plant-based diet, contact a veterinarian to ensure you are supplying your dog with the required nutrients (link).
Quinoa Risks For Dogs
Salt, sugar, sweeteners, raisins, onions, garlic, and other ingredients are added to quinoa to enhance the flavor. Unfortunately, none of these are healthy for dogs, and some are toxic. If you are going to be feeding your dog quinoa, make sure it is plain and cooked in just water.
Saponin is a naturally occurring toxin that quinoa produces. It is what gives quinoa a slightly bitter taste. It is produced to deter bugs and other animals from eating it while it is growing. It is thought to cause intestinal damage and inflammation. Dogs can be more sensitive to saponin than humans. Make sure to rinse and cook the quinoa to minimize any risk.
Like humans, dogs can be allergic to anything. If your dog experiences any adverse effects after consuming quinoa, including vomiting, diarrhea, unsteady on their feet, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, then we recommend avoiding it. However, many of the adverse effects are down to the saponin (as previously mentioned) rather than the quinoa itself.
Any new food can cause digestive upset. Do not drastically change your dog’s food from one meal to the next. Introduce new food slowly. Start by adding 1-2 tbsp of quinoa to their feed and exchange and increase from there.
Grains For Dogs
Quinoa is technically a seed. But despite quinoa not being a grass, and therefore not scientifically a grain, it is prepared in the same way and has a similar nutritional profile to grains. The Whole Grains Council also recognizes it as a pseudo-cereal.
Can dogs eat grains? Yes, although there is a lot of controversy around grains and a dog’s diet (link). This is for a couple of reasons:
Dog Food Scandal - In 2007, wheat imported from China was contaminated with chemicals. This wheat was used by dog food companies, 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.
Health Conditions - Some dogs have allergies or specific health conditions, and therefore need a diet without grains. However, this percentage tends to be very small and should be done under strict veterinary supervision.
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 - Food like quinoa are not accepted on a low carb diet. Many people see or hear about the benefits of these diets 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.
Is grain-free better for dogs? It depends. If your dog is unable to digest grains, they don’t agree with them, they have a health condition, or allergy then this type of diet may be better for dogs.
However, many no-grain dog foods use vegetable and fruit substitutes like potatoes, which are less nutritionally beneficial to dogs. They are also not something a wolf would be chowing down on!
Alternative To Quinoa
It is good to vary your dog’s food every so often. It allows them to obtain minerals, vitamins, and nutrients from different sources. It helps avoid developmental allergies, plus it’s enjoyable for your dog to try new things!
What grains are good for dogs?
Brown Rice - Rice is commonly recommended after an upset stomach as it is easy to digest and sensitive to the gut. Rice also packs plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can be beneficial for your dog.
Wheat - Wheat is cheap and readily available, and therefore the most common grain in dog food. It is high in carbohydrates and, so, a good source of energy.
Oats - Many dog food brands use oats. Oats are rich in nutrients and fiber. The fiber is great to keep your dog regular.
If you want to incorporate oats into your canine’s diet, you can make them oatmeal with water. By cooking the oats, it makes them easier to digest, and the water is far better for them than milk. Many dogs have trouble digesting dairy.
If your dog does not eat grains, along with quinoa here are a few grain alternatives you can try:
Sweet Potato - If your dog does follow a grain-free diet, sweet potato is a perfect alternative. It has plenty of fiber, as well as containing vitamins essential to your dog. Our dogs love it, it works great as a treat, mashed into a kong, or added to their dinner.
Peas - Peas are an excellent alternative to grains as they are high in carbohydrates. They are also a healthy source of vitamins, fiber, and iron. All of which are essential to your dog’s nutrition.
Pumpkin - Pumpkin is great for digestive issues for dogs due to its fiber content. It is delicious and sweet and works well mixed into your dog’s meal or mashed into lick mats.
How To Prepare Quinoa For Your Dog
There are plenty of recipes to incorporate quinoa into your dog’s diet and treats. It may be in the form of boiled quinoa or quinoa flour. Check out our recipes for both below:
1 part quinoa
2 parts water
1. Add the water to a pan and put on medium-high heat.
2. Add your quinoa to a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly. Drain the water away to remove the toxins.
3. Add the rinsed quinoa to the pan. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer.
4. Cook uncovered until all of the water has been absorbed by the quinoa.
5. Remove from the heat and cover. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes for fluffier quinoa.
6. Make sure the quinoa is cold before feeding to your dog.
1. Add your quinoa to a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly. Drain the water away to remove the toxins.
2. Add the quinoa to a dry pan and fry until it begins to smell nutty and browns slightly, be careful not to burn it.
3. Add the toasted quinoa to a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes.
4. Sieve the blended mixture to remove any un-blended seeds (these can be reblended, or used in an alternative recipe).
5. Make sure the quinoa flour is cold before starting any recipe.
Healthy Quinoa Recipes For Dogs
Quinoa Dog Biscuits (inspired by ktgarron)
3 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups prepared quinoa, cooked as per the instructions above
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup water
1. Whisk eggs, peanut butter, and oil together in a small bowl.
2. Shred or grate a carrot.
3. Add the carrot, quinoa, oats, and flour to a food processor and blend; pour in egg mixture while the processor is still running. Slowly add just enough water for the dough to form a ball.
4. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 2 hours.
5. Heat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
6. Roll out to 1/3-inch thickness, cut into desired shapes, and place on the baking sheet.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes or until they begin to brown.
8. Allow to cool before serving.
Banana and Quinoa Treats (inspired by The Honest Kitchen)
2 1/2 cups quinoa flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/2 cup warm water
1 banana, mashed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients except water and mix well.
3. Add the warm water in small amounts until a dough forms.
4. Roll out to 1/3-inch thickness, cut into desired shapes, and place on the baking sheet.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes or until they begin to brown.
6. Allow to cool before serving.
Turkey and Quinoa Homemade Dog Food (inspired by Top Dog Tips)
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 lb ground turkey
1 cup raw quinoa
1/4 cup raw broccoli, cut into edible portions
1/4 cup green beans, cut into edible portions
1. Over medium heat, melt the oil in a large pan.
2. Brown the turkey in the pan and drain the fat.
3. Cook the quinoa as per the instructions above.
4. Add the quinoa to the pan with the browned turkey.
5. Remove from the heat.
5. Add in the chopped vegetables, cover the pan with a lid and allow the vegetables to soften with the heat of the turkey (if your dog can only consume softened veggies, par-boil prior).
6. Allow to cool before serving.
Can dogs eat quinoa flour?
Yes, quinoa flour is perfect for making dog biscuits and cakes.
Can dogs eat amaranth?
Yes, this is another gluten-free option. Amaranth is a grain that can be cooked or made into flour and added to dog food.
Can dogs eat couscous?
Yes, this is another great source of carbohydrates to add to homemade dog food.
Can dogs eat brown rice?
Yes, brown rice is excellent for digestive issues. It is also rich in carbohydrates, which is vital for energy in our canines.
Can dogs eat rice?
Yes, rice is safe for dogs.
Looking for more pawsome posts? Check these out...
Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?
How To Make A Snuffle Mat
Can Dogs Get Chickenpox?
Bottle Spinning Game For Dogs
Can Dogs Eat Ginger?
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.