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Can Dogs Eat Amaranth? Vet Approved Facts & Safety Guide

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

Bowl with Amaranth

Vet approved

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Amaranth is an ancient grain that’s known for its powerful health benefits in people. It has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and is packed with nutrients and fiber. When it comes to feeding dogs amaranth, it can be a risky food for them to eat. Amaranth plants are known to be toxic to dogs, but dogs can eat amaranth seeds as long as they’re prepared properly. However, more research needs to be done.

Whenever making changes or adding new foods to your dog’s diet, it’s best to do some research and consult your veterinarian before committing to any changes. Here’s what you need to consider before adding amaranth seeds to your dog’s diet.

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What Is Amaranth?

While amaranth is called an ancient grain, it’s actually a pseudocereal. This simply means that it’s not a cereal grain like wheat, but it’s still used similarly to grains harvested from grasses. Other types of pseudocereal include quinoa and buckwheat.

There are over 850 different species of amaranth plants. Some are used as ornamental plants in gardening and landscaping, while 50–60 species are harvested as food. Humans can safely eat the leaves and seeds of these species, while dogs can only eat the seeds.

heap of amaranth seeds
Photo Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

Are Amaranth Greens Safe for Dogs?

Many plants in the amaranth family are classified as toxic to dogs. The leaves and flowers may contain calcium oxalates, which are harmful to dogs. Calcium oxalate crystals feel very irritating and painful for them.

If your dog eats amaranth greens, you may notice them exhibit the following signs from calcium oxalate consumption:
  • Oral pain
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth

Ingesting calcium oxalates is also especially risky for dogs with urinary health issues because they can increase the risk of developing bladder stones. So, if your dog has eaten some amaranth greens, it’s better to be safe than sorry and contact an animal poison control hotline or your veterinarian. A professional can walk you through providing the right care for your dog.

Potential Health Benefits of Amaranth Seeds

Amaranth seeds are highly nutritious and are an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, which can help reduce inflammation and protect cells from getting damaged by free radicals in the body. They’re also a good source of iron, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, and magnesium.

Another benefit of amaranth seeds is that they’re high in proteins that are similar to animal proteins. Amaranth is also gluten-free. So, if your dog has difficulty digesting wheat, you can consult your veterinarian and see if amaranth is a safe alternative for your dog to eat.

alaskan malamute dog with a veterinarian
Image Credit: Serhii Bobyk, Shutterstock

How to Feed Your Dog Amaranth Safely

Dogs can only eat amaranth seeds safely. Make sure that the seeds are cooked thoroughly before giving them to your dog. You can prepare them by simmering them in a pot of water with the lid on.

Start by giving your dog a small amount of amaranth. If they’re not interested, look for other healthy snack options instead. If your dog enjoys eating amaranth, you can gradually add more to their meals. Just be sure to keep it in moderation and don’t offer amaranth every day. Since it is a grain, it can be more difficult to digest, so giving too much can lead to digestive issues.

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Amaranth greens aren’t safe for dogs to eat, but dogs can eat fully cooked amaranth seeds. Amaranth is high in protein and contains many nutrients that benefit a dog’s overall health and well-being. So, if your veterinarian deems it safe and appropriate for your dog to eat amaranth seeds, there’s no harm in giving some to your dog and seeing if they enjoy this nutritious snack.

Featured Image Credit: HandmadePictures, Shutterstock

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