Quinoa is hard to pronounce, but it’s easy to cook and quite delicious! Many people don’t realize that quinoa is actually a complete protein, which is hard to find outside of meat. If you’ve started eating healthier and you’re including quinoa in your meal rotation, you can safely dole some out to your dog if you want.
Is Quinoa Safe for Dogs?
Quinoa is healthy no matter how you look at it. While providing vegetarians and vegans an easy source of protein, it’s also filled with amino acids. There aren’t many food sources out there that contain all of the essential amino acids, but quinoa is one of them.
Amino acids are the building blocks of the body’s cells, muscles, and tissues. They aid in the functioning of organs and keep the arteries healthy for optimal blood flow. Amino acids also play a huge role in the body being able to heal from injuries or illnesses, cementing quinoa’s centuries old reputation for having healing properties.
Studies have linked quinoa to preventing heart disease and certain types of cancers because of its antioxidant properties. It also reduces the risk of diabetes. Its punch of protein is perfect for very active dogs to help fuel their muscles while giving them a dose of complex carbohydrates for energy.
How to Feed Quinoa to Your Dogs
Quinoa should be cooked before you feed it. When you’re buying quinoa, make sure it isn’t the flavored kind. Some companies have created packaged quinoa that has a bunch of seasonings in it. These seasonings can include onions and garlics, which are a definite no-no for dogs, as well a ton of salt.
Stick to plain quinoa and cook it in water or sodium free beef or chicken broth for some extra flavor. You should introduce quinoa slowly, giving them no more than a small amount per day for the first week or two.
Remember that dogs get all of the protein they need from their dog food. Too much protein can cause kidney damage. If you’re feeding them a high protein food and then giving them a lot of quinoa on top of it, it’s possible they’re getting too much quinoa. If it doesn’t damage their kidneys, too much protein can turn to fat.
Negative Side Effects of Quinoa
Some dogs have experienced negative reactions to quinoa. Owners have reported their dogs pawing at their mouth or drooling after eating quinoa. Others have even said their dog seemed to have pain in their mouth afterwards. Because quinoa is plant-based as a grain, some dogs don’t do well eating grains, and they could experience vomiting or diarrhea or you’ll notice undigested quinoa in their stool.
If your dog experiences anything strange after eating quinoa, you should discontinue feeding it immediately.
It’s unlikely the quinoa craze is doing to die down, and if you’re staying on the quinoa train, feel free to occasionally include your dog. Talk to your veterinarian first if your dog has any current health conditions, a sensitive stomach, or they’re overweight. If you get the green light, let your dog reap some of the amazing benefits of this little grain.