Quinoa is an extremely healthy food for humans. It’s packed with protein, calcium, and other nutrients. But, can dogs eat quinoa? The answer is generally yes. The edible seed is actually an ingredient in some high-quality dry dog foods. Its strong nutritional profile makes it a healthy alternative to corn, grains like wheat, and soy—all starches that are often used to make kibble.
There is some concern that a type of chemical naturally found in quinoa could be damaging to dogs. The quinoa plant produces saponin to protect itself from insects, and it’s been suggested that saponin can cause irritation in the intestines of both humans and canines. However, the amount of saponin found in quinoa is typically too small to create any health problems. It is possible that dog digestive systems are more sensitive to saponin than human digestive systems. If you’re concerned about saponin, wash the quinoa before cooking it. This should remove most of this chemical.
If your dog has never eaten quinoa before, start by giving your pup a small amount. Though quinoa is generally a healthy food for dogs, some canines might have difficulty digesting it. If your dog experiences vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation after consumption, refrain from feeding it to them again.
You should never give your dog quinoa directly off your plate. Salt, garlic, and onions are often added to quinoa recipes, but these ingredients could prove toxic to your canine companion. If you do decide to offer quinoa to your dog, cook it to make digestion easier. But it’s important to note that you should always consult a veterinarian before introducing any new food into your dog’s diet.
Here at the AKC, we field many queries from anxious dog owners about what is and isn’t safe for their canine companions to eat. Questions range from the obvious (“Can dogs eat cheese?”) to the trendy (“Can dogs eat kale?”) Check out more “Can dogs eat…” articles on AKC.org to see which foods are harmful to your pup.