It’s good to give your fur babies new food.
You go to the pet shop and…
Pick up a new dog meal brand…
You then see it contains amaranth.
Should you be worried?
Or maybe you want to give your dog more fiber.
And you’ve heard amaranths are a good option.
Is it really?
Continue reading to find out:
- Whether or not dogs can eat amaranth.
- Which parts of this plant are poisonous to canines.
- 5 benefits and 5 dangers if your dog eats amaranth.
- And much much more…
Table of contents
- Can dogs eat amaranth?
- What is amaranth?
- Where does amaranth come from?
- 5 benefits of giving amaranth to your dog
- 5 dangers of giving amaranth to your dog
- Can dogs eat amaranth flour?
- Can dogs eat amaranth seeds?
- Can dogs eat amaranth grain?
- Can dogs eat red leaf amaranth?
- Can dogs eat stem amaranth?
- How much amaranth can dogs eat?
- How to prepare amaranth for dogs?
Can dogs eat amaranth?
Dogs can eat amaranth. But there are only specific parts they can consume. Dogs can eat the seeds. However, the amaranth plant’s leaves, stem, and root are toxic to canines. You also shouldn’t give dogs raw amaranth. It can cause indigestion. You need to cook the seeds first by boiling them.
What is amaranth?
Amaranth is a plant that produces seeds used as a substitution for grains. It is commonly seen with bright red, purple, or golden flowers.
This is why some people cultivate them. And make them decorative plants. Other people even sell amaranth for profit.
Amaranths are also a pseudocereal. They aren’t grasses nor do they possess the characteristics of a true grain. These are the reasons why it’s called a pseudocereal.
Where does amaranth come from?
Amaranth is native to South America. However, it is widely used in these places for consumption:
- West Africa.
- Southern India.
- Southeast Asia.
- Caribbean basin.
People from these regions cook amaranth as a vegetable. They get healthy nutrients from it such as:
Amaranth is also popular in the places mentioned because it’s easy to grow. Especially in locations with a warm climate and full exposure to the sun.
Having well-drained soil also helps with its growth.
5 benefits of giving amaranth to your dog
#1: It makes them feel full
Do you notice that your dog gets hungry fast? This can be frustrating especially if you give your fur baby enough meals.
In other cases, dogs even chomp down quickly on their food. And it can lead to choking in some canines.
Most fur parents are familiar with the sound, “Aack! Aack!” If you’ve heard this before, then your pooch might’ve choked in the past.
Eating fast caused by hunger can also lead to complications such as:
- Gastric dilatation-volvulus.
One way you can stop this is by giving more fiber to your pooch. Fibrous meals can make your dogs feel fuller. And at a lower quantity of food.
Amaranth is a good source of fiber for dogs. This is because its structure is similar to grains and wheat. When in fact, it doesn’t belong to the grain family.
“How do I feed my dog amaranth?”
After cooking its seeds, you can mix them with your canine’s food.
It’s better if you make your dog familiar with it first. Let your pooch smell amaranth and only give a small amount to them.
There’s a chance that your fur baby won’t like it. And it’d be wasteful if you’d given them a significant amount.
Don’t forget to check out: Dog Constantly Begging For Food: 7 Reasons + 3 Tips
#2: It helps maintain a good weight
The VCA states that obesity is the most common disease in dogs in the U.S. Around 25% to 30% of canines have this illness.
Bad eating habits and lack of exercise contribute to these numbers. Some fur parents may find chubby dogs cute.
But, if a canine’s weight isn’t in the norm for their age and breed, it should serve as a warning.
Obesity can also lead to other more serious diseases like:
- Heart issues.
- Joint problems.
- Bladder stones.
- Diabetes mellitus.
Good thing is, this condition is treatable. Here are ways you can help a dog lower their weight:
- Controlling their portions.
- Increasing exercise period.
- Creating a fixed eating routine.
- Using interactive feeding tools such as slow feeder bowls.
Another thing you can do is add more fiber to your dog’s diet. According to research, a high protein high fiber diet can help with weight loss in canines.
The study compared two groups of dogs. 15 were fed a high protein high fiber (HPHF) diet.
The other group had 27 canines. They were fed a high protein medium fiber (HPMF) diet.
Here are the results of the study:
|Percentage weight loss||31.8%||20.0%|
|Percentage decrease in body fat mass||58%||37%|
Numbers alone show that fiber has a positive impact on a canine’s weight. And with the decrease in mass, comes better health for your pooch.
Amaranth is a good source of fiber as I mentioned earlier. If you need your pooch to lose weight, you can use it as part of their diet.
When your dog loses all their extra weight, you can do more activities with them. A better state of mental health is also a product of being physically healthy.
#3: It’s a good source of micronutrients
When it comes to food, quality will always trump quantity. That’s why you need to check the contents of your dog’s meals.
No matter how big the portions are, if your pooch lacks nutrients, it can affect their health. Here are signs that your dog has nutrition deficiency:
- Hair loss.
- Skin conditions.
- General lack of energy.
- A difference in their stool.
If you want to counter this in a natural way, you can add amaranth to your dog’s diet. It contains the following nutrients:
- Vitamin E.
- Vitamin B.
These can help your dogs in:
- Avoiding anemia.
- Countering lethargy.
- Forming stronger bones.
- Improving fat metabolism.
- Avoiding muscle degeneration.
Who knew amaranth packs quite a punch in nutrition?
Note: It’s still important to feed your dogs a balanced meal. Don’t limit their diet to one type of food.
Amaranth can provide the previously-mentioned nutrients. But, it’s important to remember that it’s not an all-in-one solution.
You can also opt to give your pooch supplements. These are readily available and easy to consume for your dogs.
The PetHonesty 10 in 1 Multivitamin contains the necessary vitamins your dog needs. It also aids in improving heart and joint health.
#4: It contains all essential amino acids
Aside from the nutrients, amaranth also has amino acids. And amazingly enough, it has all of the 9 essential ones according to the WGC.
Ever seen Thanos’ infinity gauntlet? It contains all the infinity stones that’s why the weapon is very powerful.
Amaranth is the same way. It’s very rare to find grains that can compare to this.
Here are some of the benefits of the essential amino acids:
- Regulating appetite.
- Stimulating wound healing.
- Improving sleep and mood.
- Improving the immune system.
- Keeping blood sugar levels low.
- Stimulating muscle growth and regeneration.
If your canine lacks these, it can stunt their growth. They’ll also experience being underweight.
A dog’s metabolic functions will also be affected if they lack amino acids. Due to this, their immune system will be compromised.
This can make dogs more susceptible to diseases.
#5: It has lots of protein
The WGC calls amaranth a protein powerhouse. And rightfully so. It has a protein content of 14%. Which is almost double the amount found in corn and rice.
Protein is necessary for giving your pooch better bodily functions. It helps repair their muscles and gives them fuel for work.
“But do I really need to feed my dog protein regularly?”
According to PetMD, dogs can’t store protein in their bodies. Not as much as they can deposit fat.
So, yep, you’ll need to provide your dog’s protein needs through their meals. The nutritional requirements of every canine are different.
And there are those who need protein more than others. Dogs who have higher nutrition requirements are typically ones that are:
- Large in size.
- Engaged in heavy activities
Usually, working dog breeds belong to the last criteria. Here are examples of them:
- Great Dane.
- Siberian Husky.
- German Shepherd.
Active canines such as these will need all the protein sources they can get. Amaranth can help supplement this daily requirement.
Your dog could also be an athlete. Your canine might be engaged in activities such as:
- Obedience courses.
- Tracking and hunting sports.
If they do, you’re gonna have to up their protein intake. Their performance in these sports will greatly improve if their diet is excellent.
BONUS: It’s less likely to be genetically modified
I understand if you are wary of using genetically modified food. Especially for your fur babies.
And, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Some fur parents believe that GMO products can lead to medical issues. One of these is the “leaky gut syndrome.”
It basically means that a dog has a small opening in their gut lining. Which can make bacteria and toxins go into your pooch’s bloodstream. This can cause:
- Skin rashes.
- Sensitivity to food.
Note: There has been no evidence supporting that GMOs are the reason for these. It’s all speculation at this point.
But, if you want to be cautious, then you can add amaranth to your dog’s meals.
“Why? What’s so special with this plant?”
Amaranth is less likely to be a GMO. This is due to their lower popularity compared to other grains.
There are also several sources of fiber that can be genetically modified. One of these is corn.
5 dangers of giving amaranth to your dog
#1: Blood sugar spike
Have you ever heard the saying, “the poison is in the dose?”
Well, this applies to amaranth. This plant, while it can help your dog live healthily, also has a high glycemic index.
Amaranth scored a whopping 107 on the G.I. scale.
This means, too much of it can induce a blood sugar spike. That’s why it’s suggested to mix amaranth with other grains to lower the total GI.
But, there are dogs that are allergic to gluten. And some grains have this in them.
In a canine’s case, it’s also best not to serve it alone. You should mix it with other protein and fat sources.
“How much amaranth should I put in?”
According to research, you can give ancient grains to your canines. Amaranth is one of these foods.
It can comprise about 40% of their diet. But, you should start somewhere lower than this amount.
Warning: Gradually introduce new food to your dogs. That’s why amaranth should be slowly brought into your canine’s meals.
The AKC suggests the following diet schedule when introducing new food to dogs:
|1st day||75% old diet||25% new food|
|3rd day||50% old diet||50% new food|
|5th day||25% old diet||75% new food|
|7th day||100% new food|
Note: In this context, the “new food” is the one mixed with a small amount of amaranth. Try mixing it with their usual kibble or wet food.
Remember, you shouldn’t give amaranth alone to your dogs.
#2: Your dog’s tummy might not agree with it
Modern-day dogs are omnivores. Meaning, they eat both meat and plants. However, amaranth isn’t a part of a dog’s typical diet.
That’s why you need to be careful when you’re planning to feed your dogs this plant.
Otherwise, your pooch will experience either of the following:
- Lower appetite.
One way you can check if your dog shouldn’t eat amaranth is through their poop. A dog’s stool can show their tummy’s reaction to certain food.
Some vets even use it as one of the signs that a dog might be allergic to a specific food.
Here are a few telltale signs:
- Watery stool.
- It’s dry and hard.
- It doesn’t have texture.
- Loses its shape when picked up.
You can check this fecal chart from Purina.
Introducing new food to your dog can be challenging. You’ll never know what will happen to them.
Worse is if they get a bad reaction from the food. And give them tummy problems. You’ll likely see your dog do these if they have a bad reaction to food:
It’s hard to see your fur baby suffer. After all, tummy issues are usually painful. And they cause extreme discomfort in some canines.
Vomiting can also lead to dehydration and fatigue in dogs.
#3: It is toxic to dogs
You read that right. Amaranth is toxic to dogs. Especially if they eat the following parts:
If you have an amaranth plant in your home for decor, keep it away from Fido. They might get curious and chomp down on it.
You need to watch out especially if your fur baby likes to eat grass. They can look at amaranth and take a bite of it, too.
And in case they do, here are signs you need to watch out for:
- Labored breathing.
- General weakness.
- Partial or total paralysis.
Here’s a video of a dog that ate something poisonous:
If you’re sure they ate the toxic parts of amaranth, contact your vet immediately.
Once you arrive at the clinic, your dog might get the following treatments:
- Fluid drip.
- A shot to induce vomiting.
- Get fed with activated charcoal.
- Medicines to help reduce the effects of amaranth.
And if worse comes to worst, surgery might be needed.
Warning: Don’t make your dog vomit unless a medical professional tells you to do so. I know it’s tempting, but it can cause more harm to your dog.
To canines, the only edible part is an amaranth’s seeds. And even then, you need to properly cook them.
Feeding raw amaranth seeds to canines can cause indigestion. Since these can be extremely hard for them to process.
A bit of a curveball here. I know I said that amaranth can help dogs lose weight. And maintain a healthy number on the scale.
However, too much amaranth can also lead to obesity. This is because this plant is packed with carbohydrates.
Sure, amaranth can become an excellent source of energy. But an excess of it would also be bad for your dog.
Healthline shows that a cup of amaranth has 0.10 lbs (46 g) of carbohydrates. It comprises 18% of the whole serving.
That’s a lot.
This doesn’t mean your dog should steer clear of amaranth seeds. As always, moderation is key.
You can also do these exercises if you think your pooch is a bit overweight:
- Playing fetch.
Start doing the listed activities leisurely at first. This is to ensure your pooch won’t get fatigued. Then, you can up the intensity gradually.
#5: Food allergy
Since dogs aren’t used to eating amaranth, their bodies might not recognize it. And this can cause their immune system to react. It becomes hypersensitive to the new food your dog ate.
In this case – amaranth.
Allergies are pretty common in dogs. But, it differs from one canine to another. And it usually takes a bit of time before allergies show up.
The VCA says these are the typical reactions of a dog who has a food allergy:
- Itchy skin.
- Weight loss.
- Decrease in energy.
- Aggressive tendencies.
“How can I make sure if my dog is allergic to amaranth?”
You can go to your local vet. They have tests they can administer. These can help them find specific food your dog is allergic to.
An example is the serum IgE tests.
If you do find out that your dog is allergic to amaranth, avoidance is the best solution. You can also opt to give your pooch hypoallergenic dog food.
Can dogs eat amaranth flour?
Dogs can eat amaranth flour. It doesn’t contain gluten which can cause allergic reactions to canines. And so some gluten-free dog food brands use it as an ingredient.
If you must feed your dog amaranth flour, cook it first. Giving them this food raw can cause tummy problems.
Can dogs eat amaranth seeds?
Dogs can eat amaranth seeds. Provided that it is properly cooked. Amaranth isn’t normally a part of a dog’s diet. And so you need to introduce it slowly to canines.
And make sure you boil the seeds first. These are a bit hard for canines to process. They can cause indigestion to dogs if given to them raw.
Can dogs eat amaranth grain?
Dogs can eat amaranth grain. It’s a healthy substitute for rice and other grains. However, you need to cook amaranth grain first.
This way, your dog wouldn’t experience indigestion. Canines’ stomachs aren’t used to digesting amaranth grain.
Can dogs eat red leaf amaranth?
Dogs can’t eat red leaf amaranth. Especially its leaf, stem, and roots. However, the seeds of this plant can be consumed by dogs.
But, before you give them to your canine, make sure you cook it first.
Can dogs eat stem amaranth?
Dogs can’t eat amaranth stem. It’s very toxic to canines and they should avoid it. If your fur baby accidentally eats an amaranth stem, call your vet immediately.
Better yet, bring them to the clinic as soon as you can. And don’t try to make your canine vomit unless your vet tells you to do so.
How much amaranth can dogs eat?
Dogs can eat food that contains up to 40% amaranth. Researchers tested this amount on adult dogs. And they found that it doesn’t cause any digestibility issues.
At the specified amount, your dog will also get all the benefits of amaranth.
How to prepare amaranth for dogs?
Here are simple steps on how to prepare amaranth seeds for dogs:
Step #1: Wash the amaranth seeds to remove any dirt and dust.
Step #2: Boil 1 ½ cups of water in a pan.
Step #3: Once the water is boiling, put the washed amaranth seeds in the pot.
Step #4: Let the grains cook for about half an hour.Step #5: Once done, put it in a container and let it cool. Then mix it into your dog’s food.