Quinoa is a very healthy grain for humans. It’s gluten-free, and it’s also packed with not only a complete protein, but it’s also rich in vitamins B-1, B-2, and B-6, as well as vitamin E. It’s also a rich source of minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and potassium. But, is quinoa good for dogs? This gluten-free grain has actually been used as an ingredient in a few brands of high-quality dog food. Its high-impact nutritional profile makes quinoa a very healthy alternative to other grains. The answer is generally yes, quinoa is good for dogs.
Potential Problems with Quinoa for Dogs
There is a chemical called saponin naturally found in quinoa that could be damaging not only to dogs, but humans as well. This is because the quinoa plant produces saponin in order to protect itself from insects. There is some concern that this natural insecticide could cause intestinal irritation in both humans and dogs. Fortunately, the amount of saponin in quinoa is too small to trigger any health problems.
While it’s possible that the canine digestive system is more sensitive to saponin, so far, research hasn’t shown that. If you’re concerned that saponin may give you or your dog digestive trouble, simply wash it before cooking. That should remove most of the saponin.
Likewise, quinoa also contains oxalates; while many believe that oxalates are unusual, the truth is, occur oxalates are naturally in a wide variety of foods. Many healthy foods, such as rhubarb, spinach, beet greens, almonds and swiss chard all have high levels of oxalates. The issue with oxalates is, en excessive amounts can lead to kidney stones. If you or your dog has kidney disease, foods with a high level of oxalates could be an issue. Oxalates can also exacerbate arthritis.
Feeding Your Dog Healthy Portions of Quinoa
If your dog hasn’t had quinoa before, start by feeding him a small amount. While quinoa is usually healthy and safe for dogs, dogs sometimes have difficulty digesting plant-based foods. If your dog reacts with vomiting, constipation or diarrhea after eating quinoa, don’t feed it again. Likewise, don’t feed your dog quinoa that’s been seasoned with salt, onions or garlic; these food items have been proven toxic to dogs.
The best way to introduce quinoa to your dog is to add it to their wet food, or mix it in with cooked or raw eggs or meat. Dogs are carnivores, and their digestive system is geared towards digesting meat, although they do need to eat carbohydrates too. Adding quinoa to meat or eggs seems like the most palatable and natural way to make a healthy meal for your canine companion. Is quinoa good for dogs? The answer is a resounding yes! Simply use some common sense, and both you and your dog can benefit from this nutrient-rich, gluten-free grain.