Quinoa is an extremely healthy food for humans. It's packed with protein, healthy fat, calcium, and other nutrients. But is quinoa healthy for dogs, as well?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat quinoa.
Quinoa is actually an ingredient in some high-quality dry dog foods. The strong nutritional profile of quinoa makes it a healthy alternative to corn, wheat, and soy — starches that are often used to make kibble.
There is some concern that a type of chemical that is naturally found on quinoa could be damaging for dogs. The quinoa plant produces saponin to protect itself from insects, and some think the saponin may irritate the intestines in humans, as well as canines. However, the amount of saponin found on quinoa is usually too small to cause any problems.
It is possible that dogs' digestive systems are more sensitive to saponins than humans' digestive systems. So if you are concerned about the saponin on quinoa, simply wash the quinoa before cooking it. This will remove most of the saponin.
If your dog has never eaten quinoa before, you should start by giving him just a small amount. Though quinoa is generally a healthy food for dogs, some canines may have difficulty digesting it. If your dog experiences vomiting, diarrhea or constipation after eating quinoa, refrain from feeding it to him again.
If you are going to feed your dog quinoa, it's best to prepare a separate portion for him, rather than feeding him off your plate. The salt, garlic, and onions you add to your own quinoa to cover the bitterness could be toxic to your dog.
Overall, quinoa is a healthy food for most dogs. If you do decide to offer it to your dog, it should be cooked to make it easier to digest and you should start with small portions. And as always, make sure you use caution when introducing any new food into your dog's diet.