It is very hard not to notice the increasing popularity of quinoa, it is even called a “superfood” among people, and it is not surprising because of all of its benefits. People love adding some quinoa to their salads, soups, and even burgers. But what about dogs? Is quinoa good or bad for dogs too? That is a question that has not been answered in a particular way, and that is what we aim to do in this article.
What is Quinoa?
Although the time it gained popularity has been relatively new, quinoa is an ancient grain that has been used for more than hundreds of years by ancient cultures in South America. It was cultivated by Incas, who called it the mother of the grains for very valid reasons.
Quinoa is essentially a grain, but because of its nature, it is very different from other grains such as wheat, corn, and barley.
Because unlike the grains mentioned above, quinoa is entirely gluten-free. Almost every grain from wheat to barley contains gluten, and that is one of the most significant differences of quinoa.
Also, compared to the other grains, it has a relatively higher protein content.
Other than that, again, considering that it is a grain, it has a very low glycemic index compared to the ones such as rice and wheat. So, it is less likely to cause any extreme rises in blood sugar.
It is also a great source of fiber and can be very beneficial for digestive issues. Other highly valuable micronutrients in it are iron, magnesium, folate, and B vitamins.
Can Dogs Eat Quinoa?
First of all, we should mention that quinoa is a source of carbohydrates, and dogs don’t need carbs to be able to continue their lives. Any dog can be perfectly healthy just by relying on protein and live a very healthy life that way.
However, that is not to say that all the foods that contain carbs are bad for dogs and should be avoided at all cost. There are good carbs and bad carbs for both dogs and humans. Since dogs are not evolved to tolerate the bad carbs as much as we do, owners should always be mindful of the amount of carbohydrates their dogs are consuming and should stay away from the bad carbs as much as possible.
What we mean by bad carbs is mostly the carbs that can be found in fast foods and pastries. These foods contain excessive amounts of sugar in them, and their consumption should be minimized both by dogs and their owners.
Most of the time dog owners are also hesitant towards dog foods that have grains in the recipe, and there are some valid reasons behind that hesitation.
Because grains like corn, brown rice, oatmeal can cause all sorts of issues for dogs. First, most dogs are allergic to them, and it can cause symptoms like itching and skin conditions. Secondly, it is always good to go for the foods that have a lower glycemic index because that is how dogs are naturally built to eat, and quinoa can be very beneficial in that sense.
Good carbs, on the other hand, usually come from vegetables and they have many different benefits. Most vegetables are high sources of various vitamins and micronutrients, and most of them are filled fiber.
Quinoas look a lot like vegetables in the sense that they are good sources of fiber and they have impressively good nutritional values. So, even though they are grains, we can confidently say a big yes to the question of whether or not dogs can eat quinoa.
Is Quinoa Good or Bad For Dogs?
We already talked about its benefits in general, but do those benefits make quinoa good for dogs? The short answer is, yes.
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain, which makes it differ from the other grains because it has all the benefits of grains, excluding the allergy-causing symptoms. This is very significant because gluten is an ingredient that is commonly found in dog foods. Even the dogs that can tolerate it usually can have some issues. So, quinoa makes a significant difference in the sense that dogs can still eat grain but don’t get any allergies or other symptoms from it.
Quinoa can also be very nutritious in the way that it also has a relatively high protein content. All dog owners know that every dog’s diet should include high quality, high content protein because that is how they thrive or get their energy.
Even though carbohydrates can be a source of energy for dogs, protein is what mainly fuels their system. Not only it provides more energy, but also the energy that comes from protein lasts longer.
Also, a diet that is filled with protein will make your pup feel full for a more extended period because it will not cause a rise in the blood sugar so your dog will not feel hungry after just an hour of eating.
That is why quinoa can be a very good choice for dog owners. Because as mentioned above, even though it is a grain, it also has relatively high protein content to make it a good source of protein for dogs. We don’t advise you to make the quinoa the primary source of protein for your pup, but it can be added next to its main meal.
As we already mentioned, unlike other sources of carbohydrates, quinoa has a very low glycemic index; in other words, it does not have a significant amount of sugar.
This can be important because dogs are not naturally built to consume too much sugar and grains with a high glycemic index such as rice can cause certain issues for them. A diet that is filled with high glycemic foods can cause diabetes or excessive fat gain in your pup.
Quinoa also contains as twice as much fiber as most other grains. That is why we already mentioned, even though it is a grain; it is not that much different than a healthy green vegetable in many ways.
Just like vegetables, quinoa is filled with fiber, and it is very beneficial for dogs with digestive issues. However, we should mention that high fiber foods like quinoa can cause diarrhea for dogs if they eat too much of them.
Is Quinoa Safe For Dogs?
We already mentioned that quinoa is not only safe for dogs but also very beneficial to them most of the time. However, just like every food that you’re feeding your pup, you should always be cautious and start with small amounts. We also advise you to watch for the after effects because dogs can get allergic to anything just like humans.
Generally, though, we can assure you that quinoa is much safer than its cheaper alternatives like corn, wheat, and soy. However, they are not mostly found in dog foods because they tend to be very expensive compared to the other grains.
However, as we already mentioned, you should start with small amounts and stop giving quinoa to your dog in case you see symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea or constipation after consumption.
Conclusion: Is Quinoa Good or Bad For Dogs?
Although it is a grain, quinoa is rightfully called a “superfood” and has a lot of nutritional value for both humans and dogs. It also doesn’t have the features of the other grains that make most of the other dog owners stay away from them.
So, it is safe to say that as long as the moderate amounts are exceeded, quinoa is good for dogs and it has variety of benefits for them.