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Can Dogs Eat Quinoa? Nutrition Facts & Safety Guide

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Quinoa is affordable, tasty, and easy to work with, so it’s no wonder the tiny seed has become so popular in restaurants and homes alike. But these aren’t the reasons most dogs would enjoy a meal or snack that includes quinoa.

Simply put, dogs like to eat! Dogs will eat just about anything they can get their paws on. But that doesn’t mean everything a dog puts into their mouth is good for them.Divider 8

So, Can Dogs Eat Quinoa?

While quinoa is a healthy choice for humans, you may be wondering if it’s ok for dogs to it? The short answer is that as long as quinoa isn’t the main component of your dog’s diet, it shouldn’t be a problem. Here is a longer explanation:

The Health Impacts

The first thing you should know is that quinoa produces a naturally occurring chemical called saponin that could interfere with your dog’s digestion and cause intestinal irritation. However, it’s thought that the amount of saponin found on quinoa is too little to be of concern for humans or dogs. Another thing to consider is that due to the high fiber content of quinoa, your dog simply may not be used to digesting it.

Red and whole grain quinoa for dogs

Start by offering just a tablespoon or so at a time. It’s wise to keep an eye on them when you first start offering quinoa to look for signs of intestinal issues such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • A lack of appetite
  • Increase water intake

If you do spot signs of an intestinal problem, stop feeding your dog quinoa and contact your veterinarian. Chances are that the problem will resolve itself. Once you are sure that your dog can easily digest the quinoa, you can feed them some at meal and snack times to supplement their dog food.

With the digestion issue out of the way, you should also know that quinoa packs quite the punch when it comes to nutrition. It’s a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids that both humans and dogs need for good health. It is also packed full of vitamins and minerals that your pooch needs to maintain a strong immune system and healthy brain.

Serving Suggestions

Quinoa can be served to your dog in many different ways depending on your time constraints, your imagination, and your preferences. You should always make sure that the quinoa your dog eats is fully cooked so it can be well digested.

quinoa seeds on a plastic spoon
Image Credit: sweetlouise, Pixabay

To prepare quinoa, rinse a cup of it under clean cold water and add it to a pot. Then add 2 cups of clean water or broth to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. As soon as the liquid starts to boil, give the quinoa a quick stir and then turn the stove down to a simmer. Cover the pot and let the quinoa cook for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is gone. Once cooked, you can simply mix a little quinoa in with your dog’s dry or wet food.

Consider pairing some cooked quinoa with pureed pumpkin and a sprinkle of cinnamon as a snack for your pooch. The pumpkin is an excellent source of antioxidants and can help soothe digestion problems – and the cinnamon will help your dog maintain a healthy weight. Other serving options include:

  • Make some quinoa treats by mixing some peanut butter and quinoa together and then rolling the dough into small balls.
  • Create a stew by simmering some chicken or beef pieces, broth, shaved carrots, chunks of sweet potato, and quinoa in a pot until everything is tender. Let the stew cool to room temperature before serving.
  • Whip up a casserole for your dog by layering cooked quinoa, wet dog food, and green beans in their food bowl at snack time.

You can pair quinoa with all your dog’s favorite foods to improve the nutritional value of their meals and snacks. Make a list of foods you know they love and use the list as a guide to start creating your own unique recipes for them.Divider 7

The Bottom Line

We enjoy occasionally treating our dogs to a little quinoa. But the truth is that it’s not a superfood that will completely revamp a dog’s health. So, give your dog some quinoa if you feel like doing so. If not, there are lots of other great options out there to feed them. Leave a comment to let us know what you think!

Featured image credit: evita-ochel, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is the proud mom of Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway, and Baby, a Burmese cat. Originally from Canada, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. Nicole has a strong love for all animals and has experience caring for all types of dogs, from Yorkies to Great Danes. Nicole even worked as a dog sitter during her travels through South America and cared for stray pups — something she ...Read more

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