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Quinoa is a pseudo-grain. Unlike true grains, it is not part of the grass family but is made from the seeds of a spinach like plant.
As you might expect, quinoa is first and foremost a carbohydrate providing almost the same percentage of carbs as white rice. Nevertheless, it is also packed with protein, fibre and micronutrients making it a surprisingly beneficial ingredient for dogs.
Although plant proteins are generally no substitute for those from meat sources (for dogs at least), quinoa does arguably come close. It contains a high proportion of protein and includes all 10 canine essential amino acids making it one of the few non-meat complete proteins.
Quinoa also contains a high proportion of fibre which plays an important part in digestive health.
To round off quinoa's impressive nutrient profile, it also provides Omega-3 fatty acids as well as a wide array of micronutrients including manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and several B-complex vitamins.
Quinoa is becoming increasingly popular in sensitive diets since most dogs have never eaten it which means they haven't had opportunity to develop any kind of reaction. The rule is, you can't be allergic to something you have never been exposed to.
As with most seeds and grains, quinoa must be cooked before it can be properly digested by dogs so you won't find it in any raw pet foods.