Quinoa Dog Food Recipe

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
This is the first time I’ve used quinoa in a dog food recipe. I’m a big fan of this super seed that’s high in protein.

To cook it, I used my rice cooker and it worked just as well as it did on the rice. As well, I added some Calcium Carbonate tablets that I crushed before adding to the mixture, but you can replace with your own preferred supplements. You’ll also see that I added a clove of garlic to this recipe, which you can take out if you want without affecting the outcome of the dish.

First Things First: Is Quinoa Safe For Dogs?

The American Kennel Club says that not only is quinoa safe for dogs, but it’s actually an ingredient in many high-quality dry dog foods. It makes a nutrient-dense addition and alternative to some starches like weaht, soy and corn that may not agree with your dog. They’re often used in kibble, but they don’t offer the same protein that a quinoa can. High-energy/high-protein foods benefit from quinoa inclusion without concern about the allergen issue there is for wheat, soy and corn.

Why Put Quinoa In Dog Food?

There are several great reasons to put quinoa in this recipe. The biggest reason is that it is a protein-rich ingredient. It’s gluten-free and has great fiber content. There are no trans-fats and it’s a good way for your dog to get linoleic acid–an essential fatty acid. It’s also a great way to enrich their diet with quercetin, kaempferol and flavonoids, all high-power antioxidants that add to overall health and immunity. Research continues to show that antioxidants will reduce free radicals in both the bodies of humans and our furry friends, and that can prevent many diseases–cancer included!

When it comes to vitamins, Quinoa has B-vitamins like folate and riboflavin as well as the minerals iron and magnesium.

Quinoa also makes your dog’s heart happy! In fact, it makes his whole cardiovascular system healthier. Couple some quinoa with exercise and that’s almost like PT for your pup!

For dogs who have inflammation–arthritis, immune diseases, etc. quinoa can also help keep that inflammation level down. This is again because of the antioxidants. Reduced inflammation levels in your pupper mean less pain and less risk of disease. Additionally, it means a healthier immune system and that’s definitely what you want for your best friend!

What To Watch Out For With Quinoa For Dogs

Now, while quinoa has LOTS of benefits for your dogs, some pet parents have learned their dog doesn’t really agree with quinoa. This is because the saponin found in quinoa may be upsetting to their tummies. As a protection, the quinoa plant will produce the saponin to keep itself damage-free from insects. BUT, sometimes that saponin can irritate your dog’s stomach. It’s unusual, but just like humans…some dogs are more sensitive than others.

You can always wash your quinoa before you cook it. This typically removes the saponin to help make your dog’s stomach happier. If your dog has a really sensitive stomach and just can’t take it, watch for symptoms like vomiting loss of appetite or drooling after eating.

That said, the majority of dogs who eat quinoa love it, and why not? It’s delicious AND good for them!

Quinoa Dog Food Recipe


3 cups organic quinoa

1 lbs ground turkey

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup frozen carrots and peas

1 cup spinach

2 crushed Calcium Carbonate tablets (or your own dog supplements)

1 teaspoon parsley (fresh or dry)

1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Cook quinoa in rice cooker. I used 1.5 cups of water for every cup of dry quinoa.
  2. Heat oil in large pot. Cook turkey and garlic until brown on medium high heat. Added cooked quinoa to the pot and stir completely into the mixture.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add peas, carrots, spinach, crushed tablets and parsley to the mixture. Stir well for three minutes on reduced heat.
  4. Store in air-tight containers. You can refrigerate or freeze into larger portions until needed.

I usually freeze smaller portions sizes into bags and remove one at a time until needed. Oscar gets a tablespoon at a time mixed in with his dry kibble.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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