Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet: Quinoa

The next ingredient we’re introducing in our ongoing series on Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet is Quinoa. Quinoa has stormed the human health food scene in recent years as a healthy alternative to carb-rich pasta and rice. There are hundreds of varieties of quinoa, but it is typically found in white, tan or red forms.

What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is thought of as a grain, but actually it is a seed. It originated thousands of years ago and is considered an “ancient grain” like amaranth, barley and farro.

Why would Quinoa be in pet food?
Quinoa packs a huge nutritional punch and is good for humans as wells as your pets. It is a gluten-free whole grain that contains high levels of protein as well as vitamins B-1, B-2, and B-6 and vitamin E, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also provides minerals such as magnesium, phosphate, iron, calcium and potassium.

Quinoa is a complete protein that also contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.


Are there any risks to feeding your pet Quinoa?
Not really. Their seed coating can be bitter as the contain saponins, a naturally occurring chemical produced by the quinoa plant to repel insects. This coating is typically removed during processing, although trace amounts may cause mild stomach irritation although that is unlikely.

Quinoa factoids:

  • NASA has proposed that quinoa would make an ideal food for long duration space flights.
  • Quinoa was known as “the gold of the Incas” by the Aztecs who discovered it.
  • Quinoa can be used to help control the development kidney stones because of its high levels of potassium.

A sampling of pet foods that contain quinoa:
Nutram, T22 Grain Free Turkey, Chicken & Duck
Holistic Select, Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon
Pronature Holistic, Duck a la Orange



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