Can Dogs Eat Quinoa?

"Can I give quinoa to Rocket?" asked my next-door neighbor a short while ago. "He was smacking his lips and salivating for that quinoa we had for lunch the other day," she added.

Now, Rocket is the neighbor's 2 year old black Labrador. Friendly and playful, Rocket is the darling of the neighborhood and is much like the third son to this couple.

Needless to say, I was as concerned as the neighbor about giving Rocket the perfect diet.

Admittedly, I had never pondered over introducing quinoa right into a dog's daily meals. I have never kept dogs and am just a little lost on what dogs would like to eat and what dogs should ideally eat. After a few minutes of head-scratching, I threw in the towel and excused myself, retiring to my home office to think some more.

And Google!
An hour of Googling later, I have still not found a certain answer to Rocket's dietary quandary. However, I could get some broad hints and some strong arguments from different quarters. While some dog lovers are of the opinion that quinoa can be a good meal for dogs, some others completely shun it. The moderates wish to give quinoa to their four-legged friends but only a few times a week.

While doing my 'research', I wanted to concentrate on people who have already tried out quinoa in their dog's diet and base their opinion on their actual experiences. Nothing is better than observing what the others have already experienced and this is what I sought to do.

Quinoa for Dogs - the Fors

1. Quinoa is rich in protein and can be a good substitute for meat-based-proteins in your dog's diet.
2. Quinoa works as a good filler. Mix it with other foods and the dog may find it an interesting mixture. Several dog owners have been experimenting with adding quinoa with other ingredients like salmon and boiled eggs.
3. Quinoa is rich in Vitamin B12 essential for dogs. In fact there are a number of other important nourishment that quinoa packs as well.
4. The magnesium in quinoa keeps blood pressure under check.
5. Quinoa is quite filling and packs in proteins in place of carbohydrates. This keeps the dog's obesity levels under check. Labradors, some retrievers and a few other breeds have a natural tendency to gain weight.
6. Quinoa has a nutty flavor and (at least) some dogs quite like it.
Quinoa for Dogs - the Againsts
1. Quinoa has a lot of fiber and dogs find it hard to digest. Dogs have shorter intestines, unlike us humans, and cannot digest cellulose or fiber. A number of owners reported observing complete quinoa seeds within their dog's excreta.
2. A few dog owners said that their dogs had digestion problems to the extent of diarrhea and vomiting. However, in most of these cases, the dogs seemed to have been fed with uncooked quinoa. It may be that the quinoa in a few cases may not have been rinsed properly as well and the dogs may have lost their digestion because of saponins.
Useful tips and agreements
1. Nearly everyone agreed that quinoa may be given to dogs but in moderation. Instead of making quinoa a part of the dog's daily diet, it may make greater sense to feed him the food twice a week.
2. Uncooked quinoa is a big no-no. While a number of owners give raw meat to dogs, raw quinoa is not a good idea. Dogs find it difficult to digest it. Nearly all owners who reported seeing whole quinoa seeds in their dog's excreta had fed raw quinoa to their dogs.

So there you are. I still do not have a conclusive response to my neighbor's question. However, a number of dog owners are experimenting with quinoa in their dog's diet. A few dog food companies are also adding quinoa to varieties of dog food.

A few dog lovers also suggested variations of quinoa such as cookies to get your dog hooked on to quinoa.
Keeping the above tips in mind, it seems to be working out well. Dogs enjoy the food for its nuttiness and quinoa works out well as a replacement for brown rice or wheat in the dog's diet.
Time for me to get up and gift Rocket a bag of Bob's Red Mill.
For an indepth look at quinoa, visit my extensive resource at
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