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Can Dogs Eat Quinoa? | Is Quinoa Good for Dogs?

is quinoa good for dogs

In the world of human health and fitness, quinoa is a superfood.  Since thousands of years ago when the Inca called it “the mother grain,” humans have consumed this type of seed.  However, in recent years it has increased in popularity leading dog owners to wonder—can dogs eat quinoa too? Is quinoa good for dogs?

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Can Dogs Eat Quinoa? (The Short Answer)

Quinoa is usually safe for your dogs to eat, however there are a few precautions you should definitely take before feeding it to your canine companion.  The most important thing to remember is to only feed it after it has been rinsed thoroughly and cooked without added seasonings or ingredients.  Keep reading for more details on the pros and cons of feeding your dog quinoa.

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Quinoa Good For Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat quinoa?” Now, let’s learn about the benefits of feeding your dog this food! Is quinoa good for dogs?

Yes, quinoa has a lot of the same benefits for our pups as it does for us.  It’s a healthy grain alternative typically a substitute for rice that is lower in carbs and naturally gluten free.  It’s also packed with calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients for your dog.

Related: Should Goldendoodles Eat Grain Free? (Veterinarian Advice)

Quinoa is considered a healthier alternative to starches like soy, wheat, and corn.  For that reason, it’s actually a common ingredient in some high-quality dog foods.  

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Is Quinoa Bad for Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat quinoa?” Now, let’s learn about the dangers of feeding your dog this food! Is quinoa bad for dogs?

While quinoa is clearly a healthy option for your dog to consume, that doesn’t mean it comes without potential dangers.  The most prominent one is that quinoa naturally has a chemical on it called saponin that can be damaging to dogs.  This is the reason that you must always rinse your quinoa before cooking and serving it.  This rinsing removes most or all of the saponin.  While the amount of saponin found on quinoa usually isn’t large enough to cause any health concerns, it’s best not to take the risk when washing it beforehand is so simple.

After rinsing your quinoa, be sure to cook it before feeding it to your dog.  While raw quinoa likely won’t hurt your pup, it can be tough for them to digest and could easily cause them to have an upset stomach.

Lastly, as with many other typically healthy foods, you must always pay attention to what ingredients your food is being cooked with.  While plain, cooked quinoa is healthy for our four-legged friends, quinoa with onion, garlic, or other toxic seasonings mixed in can cause an emergency trip to the veterinarian.

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Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Red Quinoa?

Yes, red quinoa is safe for dogs.  When it comes to feeding your dog, there is no major difference in feeding them red quinoa vs. any other type.  Still remember that you should rinse and cook your quinoa without adding any seasonings.

Is Black Quinoa Safe for Your Pup?

Yes!  Our pups can safely eat both black quinoa and red quinoa.  Either are healthy options for your pup.  Always make sure to rinse and cook your quinoa (plain!) before feeding.

Can Dogs Eat Quinoa and Brown Rice?

We already know quinoa is safe for our furry friends as long as it is cooked plain and rinsed beforehand.  Brown rice is also a safe food to feed your pup and (just like quinoa) is included in some dog foods.  As long as no additional seasonings or ingredients are added, this combination is safe to feed your dog.

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Have Quinoa?

Yes, dogs can absolutely have quinoa.  In fact, it’s a great, healthy option for them.  Simply remember to rinse your quinoa, cook it, and don’t add additional harmful ingredients and your pup will be in great shape!

Want to Learn More?

Check out these related articles from our “Read Before You Feed” series for more advice on safe foods for dogs!

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.