For the past decade or so, quinoa has become all the rage. Many people have adopted it as a healthier alternative to rice. Since rice is safe for dogs to eat – it’s a common ingredient in many dog foods – then it stands to reason quinoa should also be safe for them.
Dogs can eat quinoa but you have to prepare it in a way that is safe for them. Quinoa can be prepared many different ways, like rice and other grains, but not all of them are necessarily good for your pooch. As a general rule, food prepared for canines should be well cooked and bland. Continue reading to learn how to cook quinoa for dogs…
How to Cook Quinoa for Dogs
Preparing quinoa that is safe for dogs is easy. All you have to do is follow these simple rules…
Rinse the Quinoa Before Cooking
It’s important that you thoroughly rinse the quinoa before you boil it. Quinoa naturally contains trace amounts of saponins – a toxic compound that exists in many plants, including lots of the vegetables we eat. The amount of saponins a human would ingest from consuming quinoa is too small to do any harm to us, and may even be beneficial. However, they might upset your dog’s stomach. Rinsing the quinoa will wash away many of the saponins.
Boil the Quinoa Until It Is Very Soft
When you cook quinoa according to the package instructions, it has a slight chew to it. If you feed it to your dog this way, most of it will just pass through them undigested because dogs don’t chew their food as well as humans. Dogs also have shorter digestive tracts than humans, which makes digesting any food more difficult for them.
I recommend adding an extra cup of water to the pot – 3:1 ratio instead of 2:1 – and boiling the quinoa for 10 minutes longer than you normally would. You’ll know the quinoa is finished when it’s slightly mushy, like cooked oatmeal.
Go Light On the Seasoning
Plain quinoa is quite bland, so many people cook it in vegetable or chicken broth with lots of herbs and spices to add flavor. However, dogs can’t handle that much sodium and seasoning. That said, plain quinoa is so flavorless they may not be interested in eating it. To make it more palatable but safe for their consumption, add a pinch of oregano, rosemary, and/or basil. These herbs are safe and beneficial to dogs in small amounts.
Another way you can enhance the flavor of your dog’s quinoa is by sprinkling some nutritional yeast or drizzling some tahini on it when you serve it to them. I often add these ingredients to my dogs’ dry food because they are healthy for dogs, and mine love it when I put either of them on their food.
Let the Quinoa Cool Down Completely
Quinoa stays hot for a long time after it is cooked. Before serving it to your dog, remove it from the pot and let it cool for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Keep the Portions Small
Like most human foods, a small amount won’t hurt your dog but too much of a good thing can lead to trouble. For most dogs, 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked quinoa is plenty enough. For small dogs, about 1/4 cup is all they should have.
Some Dogs Don’t Like Quinoa
Don’t be surprised if you make quinoa for your dog but they don’t want to eat it. I recently gave my dogs some quinoa, but neither of them had any interest in it. They just sniffed their bowls and walked away.
Despite quinoa’s recent rise as a trendy health food, humans have been using it to feed livestock for an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 years. Humans – and presumably dogs – have been eating quinoa for approximately 3,000 to 4,000 years.
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS (August 3, 2016). Are Saponins in Quinoa Toxic. Retrieved from https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/healthy-eating/ask-the-diva/are-saponins-in-quinoa-toxic
Wikipedia. Quinoa. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa