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Q is for Quinoa

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QThe Ultimate Q Food...

Quinoa!  Up until recently had I come across the word "quinoa" I would have had no idea what it was, or even how to pronounce it.  But my fiance and I have been trying to eat a bit healthier lately, and while researching healthy dinner ideas quinoa kept coming up.  It took some experimenting to find recipes that we both really enjoy, but now we eat quinoa regularly.  Of course while we're eating it, our dogs always want some too.  So is quinoa a dog friendly food?

Let's Start With What Quinoa Is, Exactly

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah by the way) is a plant in the goosefoot family.  Although quinoa is often thought of as a grain, it is not technically one.   A bit hard to classify - quinoa is a seed that is harvested from plants classified as pseudocereals.  It's actually closest in relation to leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard.

Ok, Whatever, But Is It Good For Dogs?

qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqQuinoa is a super food.   It's a complete protein, which means that it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It also contains iron, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin B, vitamin E, and omega 3 fatty acids, among other nutrients.  It's high in fiber, and cancer fighting antioxidants.  While being high in good stuff like protein and nutrients, quinoa is low in fat and cholesterol.

If you haven't figured it out yet - yes, quinoa is safe for dogs.  In fact, it's increasingly being used as an ingredient in higher quality dog foods.  Being a plant based food, quinoa is not as easy for dogs to digest as meat, but they can still derive benefits from eating it.

How To Prepare Quinoa For Dogs

Both my dogs, even Mr. Picky Puppy, will eat cooked quinoa plain.  It has a very mild flavor that reminds me a lot of pasta.  One of my favorite ways to eat quinoa is with cheddar cheese and broccoli which, as you can imagine, my dogs also love.

Quinoa can be used as a food topper, or as part of a home made diet.  My dogs often get left over quinoa when my fiance and I have it for dinner - just as long as all the other ingredients in whatever recipe I used are also dog friendly.

One important thing to note is that uncooked quinoa can cause stomach upset in both humans and dogs.  Always make sure to cook it according to the package directions and never offer it raw.  Usually cooking instructions will also include rinsing the seeds in water before cooking them.

As with all new foods, when offering quinoa for the first time do so in small amounts.  Once you know your dog tolerates it well you can offer larger amounts.

Do you like quinoa?  Have you ever fed it to your dog?

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Umm, Fen...I have to cook it first!

This post is a part of the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge!  You can learn more about our challenge theme here.

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