Can Dogs Eat Quinoa?

April Saylor

April Saylor

. Reviewed by Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP
Published Jan. 4, 2024
woman feeding a king charles spaniel on the kitchen floor
NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be OK for one

You might be curious about whether your dog can have quinoa as you’re cooking some of this healthy dish. The super nutritious grain has gained popularity as a smart addition to salads and side dishes, but can dogs eat quinoa, or should they steer clear? 

Good news: When fed in moderation, dogs can eat quinoa. But there are a few things to keep in mind when giving your dog this new food. Here’s what you need to know about sharing quinoa with your dog, including potential health benefits, recommended portion sizes, and how to prepare it safely.

Is Quinoa Good for Dogs?

Quinoa can be a nutritious addition to your dog's food dish, especially as a topper to their usual kibble. This nutritious whole grain is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Quinoa also contains essential amino acids that may help keep muscles healthy. And because it’s gluten-free, this grain can even be a suitable option for dogs that have gluten sensitivities.

Adding a few bites of quinoa into your dog's regular dog food diet can be an easy, tasty way to boost their fiber intake, which helps promote healthy digestion. Not just a fiber-filled snack, quinoa also contains several vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to stay healthy. Quinoa is a source of magnesium, phosphorus, and iron—nutrients that can help support your pup’s overall health and boost their immune system.

How Much Quinoa Can Dogs Eat?

How much quinoa your dog can eat depends on your pup’s size, weight, and overall health. You should always check with your vet to be sure quinoa is OK to add to your dog’s diet, as they will be able to offer tailored recommendations based on your dog’s own health history.

As always with new foods, go slow! Even though quinoa is safe for dogs to eat, too much of a good thing can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. Offer a small bite at first and monitor their reaction. If there are no adverse effects within a few hours, it’s fine to gradually increase the amount.

How To Prepare Quinoa for Dogs

If you’re hoping to add a boost of fiber and minerals to your dog’s diet, try incorporating a few spoonfuls of cooked, plain quinoa as a food topper to their usual meal. Only offer plain, cooked quinoa. Avoid any seasoned kinds that contain onion, garlic, or extra salt, and cook according to the package instructions. Let it cool and mix in with their kibble, or sneak some extra dog-safe veggies in with it as well.

If you’re cooking a batch of quinoa for yourself and want to share with your furry friend, make sure to set aside their portion before you add any extra ingredients. Be especially careful of seasoning blends or spices, and extra vigilant that any quinoa blends do not contain additives that may be toxic to dogs.

Other Foods Dogs Can Eat

Quinoa may be gaining popularity as a healthy grain, but it’s not the only “human food” that’s considered safe for dogs to eat. Many other dog-safe foods are fine to share with your pet (as long as your vet gives the OK, of course). Just remember that any food you share with your dog should not contain added seasoning or harmful ingredients, and steer clear of foods high in fat or sugar. 

Even though these foods are typically considered safe for healthy adult dogs to eat, always be mindful of amounts. A general guideline is the 10% rule: Treats (even the healthy ones like these) should only make up 10% of your dog's calories. Their primary nutrition should come from a well-balanced dog food that’s made specifically to meet their nutritional needs.

Featured Image: Phynart Studio/E+ via Getty Images

April Saylor


April Saylor

Freelance Writer

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