Is Quinoa Good For Dogs?

Is Quinoa Good For Dogs?

Introduction

If you are like me, you want to feed your dog the very best you can. Since quinoa is a 'superfood,' it is obvious you might want to feed this to your dog too - but is this a suitable food to feed him and what do you need to know before doing so. 

Here are all things' quinoa for dogs'! 

Feeding Your Dog

Our pet doesn't come with a book full of instructions on how to feed him, and if you haven't had a dog before, you might worry about what and how to feed him.

What is it you should be doing to make sure he is healthy? 

How Often Should I Feed My Dog?

'How many times a day should I feed my dog, and why would I feed him one thing over another? 'are two questions I continuously worry about with my pet.   

I'm not talking puppies here as they have specific requirements you need to be aware of and should speak to your vet about.  

Nor am I talking about pregnant or nursing dogs. Each of these groups has additional requirements, and you need to take particular care of them. 

I am talking 18 months old plus dogs. It is recommended that you feed your dog at most twice a day - some people say only once. Your choices then are what do they need to be eating to be healthy?

What Should I Be Feeding My Dog

There are the usual dog food choices you might think of - kibble and canned.  

Some people are satisfied feeding their dog a kibble diet. It is claimed that kibble is good for your dog's teeth, and you need to look after these brushing them every few days. Kibble tends to be cheaper than other foods, and you can bulk buy them, making it easier to always have enough. Kibble diets need you to ensure there is plenty of water for your dog to drink at all times. 

Others feed their dog a wet diet - canned food. Canned food once opened needs to be refrigerated and disposed of after a few days if not finished. Canned food generally has more liquid, so it helps with those dogs who forget to drink.  

Both of these food types have been mixed with other ingredients to make them suitable. Make sure whichever you choose, kibble or canned food, your choice is labeled 'complete and balanced' as it indicates the food is a complete one. Regardless of which of these two you choose, always leave plenty of clean, fresh water for your dog to drink and don't overfeed him!  

There are others still who want to ensure their dog is eating the very best and decide to make meals for their dog friend themselves.  

Why Would I Make Meals For My Dog?

There are a lot of reasons why you might choose to make meals for your dog. They range from being concerned that they get the very best to feeling that if you make meals yourself, you know exactly what it is you are feeding him, and you are avoiding any unethical or unhealthy ingredients. You may have strong reasons to be vegetarian or vegan, for example, and it worries you that the dog foods you are feeding your pet, don't align with your principles. 

It may be too that your dog has symptoms that indicate he is allergic to something, and by making his food, you can find the very best diet for him.

What Needs To Be Included In My Dog's Food?

Your dog's diet needs to have:

  • Protein
  • Fat 
  • Carbohydrates. 

There are other elements such as calcium and essential amino acids that will need to be included to make his meal healthy. 

To ensure you are getting the correct balance of each of these, find a recipe for dog food developed by someone who knows about their nutrition - your local veterinarian, for example, can help. 

A few hints to follow:

  • Follow the recipe exactly!.
  • Use high-quality ingredients.  
  • Don't use raw meat or chicken as cooking it will kill any bacteria that might make your dog sick. 
  • Don't be tempted to add foods such as chocolate, grapes, onions, or garlic, which can be harmful to dogs. 
  • Remember to keep an eye on your dog's health and weight, and if you notice any change, be sure to take him to be checked at the vet.


The carbohydrate component will generally be made up of grains - something like rice or wheat. 

You may be tempted to substitute ingredients such as quinoa as part or all of the carbohydrate components because you have heard it is gluten-free, and you are eating it yourself - so you think why not give your pet the same good ingredients. 

But can dogs have quinoa?

Can I Feed My dog Quinoa?

The quick answer is 'yes, dogs can eat quinoa.' You do need to be careful as it can sometimes cause inflammation - particularly in dogs with arthritis and can cause digestive problems for some dogs as the seed contains oxalates. 

Quinoa needs to be cooked before you feed it to dogs. You need to rinse it first to remove its external coating and then boil it for approximately 15 minutes before feeding it to your dog.

What Is Quinoa?

Quinoa is called an 'ancient grain' and was used by the Ancient Incas. It is not a cereal grain like rice, wheat, or oats but is a seed. It has a hard outer coating, a chemical called saponin, which needs to be softened (by rinsing and then cooking) before it can be eaten.

Compared to many other plant foods, quinoa is high in protein and naturally gluten-free. While it is high in fiber, not all of this fiber is soluble and therefore usable. It is also high in magnesium, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and has all the essential amino acids. 

An A-Z Of What Makes Quinoa Healthy

Here is an A-Z breakdown of the nutrients in quinoa and how they might be great for dogs.

Amino Acids: reduce fatigue and protect muscles.

Vitamin B1: helps with brain function.

Calcium: helps for healthy bones and teeth. It is also needed for canines who are pregnant or nursing.

Carbohydrates: It has a middle-value glycemic index, so it is better for blood sugar than many other carbohydrates used in pet foods.  

Copper: is needed to keep bones and connective tissue healthy. Copper aids in forming an insulating layer around the many nerves found in the brain and spinal cord (the myelin sheath) and protects the nerve endings.

Fiber: helps to prevent constipation - be cautious using because too much fiber, and it can cause the opposite, diarrhea. 

Vitamin E: helps to keep the coat and skin shiny, smooth, and soft. 

Iron: protects against anemia and is good for overall vitality and health. 

Magnesium; is good for nerve function and muscles as well as regulating blood sugars.

Manganese: assists with the absorption of carbohydrates and protein and helps in digestion. 

Phosphorus: supports the function of the heart and kidney as well as fundamental for using carbohydrates and fats in the body. Phosphorus helps the healthy growth of cell and tissue regeneration. 

Potassium plays a role in the nervous system's function and aids in regulating the balance of fluids and electrolytes. 

Zinc: is a powerful antioxidant that has the benefit of guaranteeing vitality and health. 

How Much Quinoa Should I Give My Dog?

Don't overfeed your dog with anything - let alone with quinoa! Some dogs eat and eat (I would count mine amongst these!), and if offered a new food, they will gulp it down without it even touching the sides. 

When starting quinoa for dogs, introduce him to a small amount, gradually increasing the amount of quinoa very slowly over a period of two to three weeks. This way if he doesn't like the taste - and quinoa can taste bitter to some - or it doesn't agree with him, you will be able to see the results.

You must cook the quinoa before including it in any canine's food as quinoa can cause severe problems to their digestive systems if left uncooked. 

Quinoa is high in fiber and can lead to diarrhea if it is introduced too suddenly in large quantities. 

You might start by feeding him a treat with quinoa or adding a teaspoon of quinoa to his food and seeing how this goes as a new food.

Check the ingredients of the food you are already feeding your dog, and you might be surprised to find that quinoa is already one of them - it is generally a healthy addition, after all. 

Remember, quinoa is not a complete food for your dog - he needs protein, fat, and carbohydrate, and although quinoa has these (except the fat), it is in comparatively small amounts. Find a recipe to make your own dog food or add small amounts of quinoa to the food you already feed him.

Is Quinoa Good For Dogs?‚Äč

By using cooked quinoa, you might be able to:

  • Improve your dog's cardiovascular system
  • Increase levels of antioxidants that potentially fight cancer cells
  • Give him higher energy 
  • Decrease levels of inflammation.

Sometimes dogs become sick with allergies, which might be demonstrated by them constantly scratching, vomiting, being constipated, or having diarrhea. Your vet may suggest you put him on an elimination diet - meaning you get rid of everything you have been feeding him and start again, slowly introducing new ingredients and seeing if, and how, they affect him. By doing this, you can see which foods he is allergic to. 

Since quinoa has many benefits, this is one alternative grain that might be suitable for your pet. Other carbohydrates you might try him on are oats, pumpkin, barley, or chickpeas - which are also high in protein.

Is Quinoa Flour Good For Dogs?

Quinoa flour is gluten-free and made from finely ground seeds from the quinoa plant. It is not cooked when it gets to you, so remember unless cooked, the quinoa can cause digestion problems and may aggravate inflammation or irritate their gut.

If you are making savory treats, you might choose to use quinoa flour - but remember to test it on your dog in small amounts before taking it on with gusto!

Is Quinoa Lower In Carbs Than Rice?

Quinoa is lower in carbohydrates than white rice, basmati rice, or brown rice, but it is still high in carbs and should be avoided if you are limiting carbs in your dog's diet. 

Any Downsides?

Watch while your dog is eating his food and particularly if you are feeding him anything different. 

Stop feeding it to him if any of the following occur: 

  • loss of appetite
  • oral pain or pawing at the mouth
  • drooling
  • vomiting

This is unlikely to happen to your pet, but keep an eye on him in case.

It can happen your dog may have a reaction to dog foods he has been eating for many years and develops intolerance to it. 

Changing your dog's diet might fix this. If not, always take him to the vet to be checked.

Summary

Can dogs eat quinoa? Yes, dogs can eat quinoa, and it can be a good additive in your pet's food. It has many health benefits and is considered by many as a 'superfood,' particularly for humans. However, you need to be cautious in feeding quinoa to your dog - particularly in the beginning, as you introduce him to something new. 

Try him on small amounts to start. 

Always make sure you have thoroughly washed the seeds to remove the saponin coating.

Cook the washed seeds for 15 minutes before adding the quinoa to any foods you give your pet. 

Stop using the quinoa if you notice any discomfort in your dog. If it appears to cause him any digestive problems, then don't use it anymore and check the ingredients of any kibble or canned food you use to make sure that it does not include quinoa. 

Take your dog to the vet if he continues to be in any discomfort or is losing or gaining weight. 

So can dogs eat quinoa- yes! And quinoa for dogs could be just the thing he needs!