As a pet owner, your number one priority is to provide the best for your companion. This means evaluating the right practices and products to your pet’s routine on a perpetual basis.
If you’ve kept a keen eye on recent trends, you probably know about the craze surrounding grain-free dog diets in the market. Although grain has been central to a dog’s diet for several years, its benefit is being questioned in recent times. This has thrown dog owners in a panic mode.
Today, we will discuss Amaranth flour – particularly if it is good for your pet or not.
What is Amaranth?
Amaranth is a common name for over 60 species of the Amaranthus plants, which are perennial vegetables characterized by green dense leaves and bright red, purple or gold flowers. Among the 60 Amaranthus species, only 3 are often cultivated for their edible seeds:
- Amaranthus hypochondriacus
- Amaranthus cruenus
- Amaranthus caudatus
While several Amaranthus species can be perceived as little more than bothersome weeds, people around the globe grow Amaranth as vegetables, cereals, and ornamental plants.
Amaranth grain has a rich history in Mexico and is a native crop in Peru. It was cultivated by the Maya, Inca, and Aztec civilizations and some people have estimated that the plant was domesticated 6000-8000 years ago.
The Aztecs believed that the crop had magical powers that would give them amazing physical strength. This is the main reason why it became a staple food of the Aztec royalties. The Aztecs didn’t just grow and eat the crop but also used its grains as part of their rituals.
Over the past few years, Amaranth has become very popular as a gluten-free food and is considered to be the best alternative flour for people who need to avoid wheat and other common grains.
What about dogs? Can you give Amaranth to your dog? Is Amaranth safe for dogs?
The short answer is YES. Amaranth is good and safe for dogs. This is why it is increasingly being included in gluten-free recipes by most dog food manufacturers.
But grains in my dog diet? …NO way!
Well, consider the following facts:
1.Grains Are Not Bad For Dogs
For a long time now, dogs have been thought of as carnivores. However, studies have shown that dogs are actually omnivores. One such study published by Nature revealed that the genetic structure of a dog has been made to digest both meat and starches.
Unless your pooch is allergic to grains, you can feed him a grain-based diet without any harm. If anything, grains are packed with nutrients, fat, and carbohydrates, all of which are good for the health of your dog’s immune system, skin, and hair.
2. Amaranth Is Not A Grain
Botanically, Amaranth is classified as a pseudo-cereal and not a grain. This simply means that is not technically a grain like oats or wheat but only used in a similar way and shares a comparable set of nutrients. Inside the inconspicuous seed of Amaranth are amazing nutritional qualities that no other type of grain can offer. We’ve highlighted a few below
Benefits of Amaranth for Dogs
Here are the top reasons why you should include Amaranth in your pooch’s diet:
- Has more Protein than other grains: Amaranth is a complete protein, which implies that it contains all the amino acids. In fact, it’s believed to contain more proteins than milk. One cup of Amaranth is estimated to contain 28.1 grams of protein compared to that of oats, which is estimated to be around 26.1 grams. Add this to the fact that it is a plant-based protein (free of fats and cholesterol) and you can see why Amaranth is considered to be a superfood.
- Contains Lysine: Has more Lysine than any other grain. Lysine is an essential amino acid that your dog’s body can’t manufacture but plays a vital role in metabolizing fatty acids into energy, absorbing calcium, and keeping hair and coat healthy. Amaranth is also rich in threonine and leucine.
- Full of Minerals and Vitamins: Amaranth is rich in Vitamin C and E as well as tons of minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, Iron, Copper, and Selenium. Yes, it is the only grain that contains vitamin C! Vitamin E improves the texture of your dog’s coat and helps support his immune system.
- High Fiber Content: Amaranth has high fiber content hence can lower the risk of constipation in dogs. It is also rich in phytosterols, which is known to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases in humans and dogs. Nutritional experts claim that Amaranth, being a fantastic source of fiber, makes for a perfect alternative for traditional grains. It is also less allergenic compared to other grains used to manufacture dog foods, including wheat and corn. In fact, it ticks every box suggested by AAFCO regarding pet-safe foods.
- It is Gluten-free: While most grains that we consume contain gluten, Amaranth is naturally gluten-free hence safe for your dog.
- Contain Antioxidants: Amaranth is rich in phenols, a natural antioxidant, as well as other functional compounds such as lignans and Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids.
- Can act like prebiotics, which implies it can have a soothing effect on your dog’s digestive system.
How to cook Amaranth for your Dog
This Bob’s Red Mill video can help:
FDA is yet to give a green light on the use of Amaranth flour in pets but dog food companies are already utilizing it. Mixed with other flours like corn, rice, and oats, amaranth flour is a great meal for just about any dog.
However, as mentioned before, you might want to establish if your pooch can handle grains with no risk at all. Don’t worry; a huge percentage of them don’t have a grain allergy.