Can Dogs Eat Quinoa? (and Is It Safe?)

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Quinoa is the seed of a plant that has been eaten by humans for thousands of years. Its popularity has increased in recent times as it is gluten-free and provides a wide array of nutrients. For humans, it is often eaten as an alternative to rice and other grains. But is quinoa safe for dogs? Read on to discover the potential benefits of feeding quinoa to dogs — as well as the potential drawbacks.

Can Dogs Eat Quinoa?

Black dog with tongue out licking side of mouth.
Quinoa is an ingredient in many dog foods today. It's often used as a replacement for grains like wheat, corn and rice. Besides being a source of complex carbohydrates, fibre and essential amino and fatty acids, quinoa provides a number of vitamins and minerals. These include:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin E
  • B vitamins

The essential nutrients found in quinoa support a healthy and shiny coat, healthy teeth and nails and strong bones. The nutrients in quinoa (and other grains and seeds) help support metabolism, blood sugar levels, brain function and can be good sources of energy for daily activities.

Is Quinoa Safe For Dogs?

Quinoa is coated with a naturally-occurring chemical called saponin that protects it from insects while it grows. This chemical has been known to cause tissue damage in both humans and dogs, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. Additionally, when feeding your dog a balanced food, adding any additional ingredients, including quinoa, is not recommended as it will add extra calories and upset the balance of the nutrients in the meal. This can lead to health issues over time.

Some dogs run into digestive difficulties when consuming plant matter that hasn't been properly cooked. Feeding them quinoa might cause an upset stomach along with vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation. The oxalates contained in plants can also increase inflammation in dogs, which could exacerbate pain in dogs with arthritis. Another thing to keep in mind is that quinoa is often prepared with other ingredients, such as salt, onions, beans, meats and spices, which might be harmful to your dog's health. For this reason, it's never a good idea to feed your dog quinoa that has been prepared for humans — not even a small taste off of your plate.

Feeding Quinoa to Your Dog

Before feeding anything to your dog it is always best to consult your dog's veterinarian, but can dogs eat quinoa? Yes, when it's properly prepared in a digestible form, and in the right amounts as part of a complete and balanced meal, quinoa can be fed to dogs. In general, it's always best to bypass all of the associated risks by avoiding giving your dog table food.

Contributor Bio

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet lover, freelance writer and novelist. She currently lives in the Ozark Mountains, USA with her husband and their gaggle of four-footed dependents, where she enjoys watching a wide array of wild animals in her backyard while drinking her morning coffee.