Can Dogs Eat Quinoa?
The flowering plant in the amaranth family, Quinoa is a fantastic side dish for almost any meal. And when I say fantastic, it is one of the healthiest, gluten free food out there. The plant has been cultivated for about 5000 years and is indigenous to the Andean region of South America, specifically Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Peru.Cook it with broth instead of water and add a bay leaf to the pot, and you’ve got yourself a delicious quinoa dish. It can also be used in breakfast porridges, and salads. Great option for weight watchers and health-conscious people out there. But the question here is are all these benefits available to dogs as well? Is their body capable of digesting it and extracting all the nutrients out? The answer is Yes.
Do Dogs like Quinoa?
It is like an alternative to pasta or rice, with a nutty flavor. It’s possible that your dog might not love quinoa as much as he/she loves Chicken but wouldn’t even find very bad. And if cooked right and fed with love, it can actually become a part of his / her daily meal.
Is Quinoa good for your dog?
Quinoa is often considered very healthy. Raw, uncooked quinoa is 13% water, 64% carbohydrates, 14% protein, and 6% fat. After boiling, which is the typical preparation for eating the seeds, quinoa is 72% water, 21% carbohydrates, 4% protein, and 2% fat. Quinoa is also gluten-free. If we look at these nutrients independently, they provide some amazing benefits to dogs. For e.g.
Proteins – It is important for dogs to repair their muscles as well in case of any injury or for gaining strength. Quinoa contain proteins which can help repairing muscles and other body tissues. Proteins in general are needed for the muscular growth of the dog and play a huge part in the growing up stage. Beans play a major part in giving proteins to your dog. Find out which beans can your dog eat.
Carbohydrates – Carbohydrate” is one of the three macronutrients that provide the body energy and help it function (the other two energy-providing macronutrients are fat and protein). You can also feed your dog sweet potatoes and other vegetables for carbohydrates.
They are other nutrients as well in Quinoa, which include
So, all in all, it becomes a super food for your doggy. But does that mean they should be fed lots and lots of Quinoa for them to stay healthy? The answer is – No.
How much Quinoa is good Quinoa for your Dog?
Now the quantity of the Quinoa to be fed to your dog is very important as anything in excess or more than prescribed quantity is bad not only for dogs but even humans.
If your dog has been fed quinoa before, and he’s/she’s never had an allergic reaction or gastrointestinal upset from it, you can feed him up to one-quarter cup per day.
Quinoa contain high amounts of natural sugar and have more calories than other dog-safe fruits, such as watermelon, so they should be given in recommended quantities only. In proportion terms, Quinoa should form only about 10% of your dog’s diet. Let’s break this down according to the breeds and sizes of the dogs.
Extra-small dog (2-20 lbs.) = Small handful of Quinoa
For e.g.: Yorkie, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Pug
Small dog (21-30 lbs.) = Small handful of Quinoa
For e.g.: Basenji, Beagle, Miniature Australian Shepherd
Medium dog (31-50 lbs.) = 1/6th of a cup of Quinoa
For e.g.: Basset Hound, Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog, Siberian Husky
Large dog (51-90 lbs.) = One quarter of a cup of Quinoa
For e.g.: Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds
Extra-large dog (91+ lbs.) = One quarter of a cup of Quinoa
For e.g.: Newfoundland, Bernese Mountain Dog, St. Bernard, Great Pyrenees
How can you feed Quinoa to your Dog?
We have established that quinoa is good for dogs. However, there are some cautions that are to be taken while feeding quinoa to dogs.
Wash it thoroughly – Quinoa is coated with a naturally-occurring chemical called saponin that protects it from insects while it grows. Although it is present in small quantities, this chemical can cause intestinal irritation for both humans and dogs. Washing it thoroughly before cooking will help removing it and making it safe to eat
Plant food problems – Some dogs are not capable of digesting plant food properly. Feeding them quinoa might cause an upset stomach along with vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. It is the oxalates in plants which can cause inflammation. So, if your dog has never had quinoa or any plant food for that matter, introduce very small proportion to check for the side effects.
Make it plain and simple – Quinoa is often prepared with other ingredients, such as salt, onions, beans, meats and spices. It may be good for you but not at all for dogs. All of the above add-ons are toxic to your dog. So don’t even try to feed him/her a small bite from your plate. If you are, then make sure it’s free of all add-ons.
Cook Well – You should make sure that quinoa when served to dogs, is in a digestible form. Uncooked quinoa may cause harm to your dog’s gut.
Be ready to enjoy a ton of love in the form of licks after your dog licks off the bowl!
But make sure you don’t get too greedy for love from your doggo and end up feeding a lot of Quinoa to him / her. More Quinoa ≠ More Love
What can happen if your dog eats an unusual amount of Quinoa?
If your dog ate a lot of Quinoa while you were busy talking to your loved one or looking for the perfect restaurant for the date, or you were feeling a lot of love towards your doggo and ended up feeding more than recommended amount, keep an eye out for the following symptoms of an upset stomach. You should contact your vet right away if you see –
Increase water intake
These symptoms can also occur after feeding even a small amount to dogs if they are not comfortable with the food.
Quinoa is not just safe for dogs but an absolutely healthy food which can be used as a substitute for wheat, corn and rice. As long as it suits your pet’s stomach, you can make it a part of your dog’s daily meal in limited quantities. But don’t end up making it the main ingredient. Remember, dogs are carnivorous and should get their maximum nutrient supply from meat and other similar foods. Just take care of the cautions and you will definitely be very proud of yourself for keeping the dog so healthy.
Happy Mood and Health to your Doggo and lots of Love and Licks to you!
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