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Health Benefits of Buckwheat for Dogs

One of the primary reasons clients contact me is because their dog has a gastrointestinal issue that often accompanies food intolerances or sensitivities. Many dogs have sensitivities to grains and gluten, and therefore I encourage clients to avoid these common antigens. In addition to possible sensitivities, starchy grains are high-glycemic and can contribute to a variety of health issues in dogs, including systemic inflammation, overweight/obesity and adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes. For a healthy option to grains, I often recommend what I refer to as “mighty buckwheat.”

health benefits of buckwheat

Many people are surprised to hear that buckwheat (which misleadingly has “wheat” in the name!) is not a grain and therefore is also free of gluten. In fact, buckwheat is considered a “superfood” because it is packed with nutrition.

While buckwheat should of course not substitute for high-quality animal-based proteins, your dog can certainly get in on some of its health benefits.

Let’s take a look at what this superfood is, the health benefits of buckwheat for dogs, and how to incorporate it into your dog’s diet.

What is Buckwheat?

Many people think that buckwheat is a whole grain, but in fact it is a seed. Buckwheat is a popular food in Asian and Eastern European cuisine and has played an important dietary role in these regions for more than 8,000 years.(1)(2)

Popular forms of buckwheat include:
  • Buckwheat flour: Used in baking as a substitute for gluten-containing flours.
  • Buckwheat groats (raw or toasted): Dehulled buckwheat kernels that cook up similar to rice.The toasted version has a mildly nutty flavor.
  • “Soba” noodles: Pasta-like noodles made from buckwheat flour, soba noodles are a staple in Japanese cuisine (“soba” means buckwheat in Japanese). Since soba noodles do not contain wheat or gluten, they are a much healthier alternative to traditional pasta (be sure you select 100% buckwheat noodles).

I love buckwheat for dogs because it can replace commonly used grain-based flours in homemade dog treats and makes a wonderful addition to homemade dog food. Want some inspiration? Check out my Blueberry Buckwheat Dog Treats.

Buckwheat Nutrition in a Nutshell

Buckwheat is packed full of nutritional value your dog can benefit from. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked buckwheat provides:

  • 4.54 grams fiber
  • Close to 6 grams plant-based protein
  • Only 1.5 grams fat
  • Only 1.5 grams sugar

Buckwheat may be a great option for dogs with diabetes as it is low on the glycemic scale and has been shown to help maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Buckwheat is also fermented slowly in the colon, putting it on the “okay” list for dogs with gastrointestinal issues that benefit from low-FODMAP foods.

Health Benefits of Buckwheat: Fiber

Buckwheat is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which is important for normalizing the digestive tract and also helps to slow down the rate of glucose absorption – a plus for diabetic dogs. Buckwheat has also been shown to protect the digestive tract from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, helping to fight off cancer and infection in the digestive organs.(3)

Health Benefits of Buckwheat: Protein

Buckwheat contains more protein than grains such as rice, wheat, millet or corn. In addition, buckwheat is high in lysine and arginine, two essential amino acids that are deficient in major cereal crops.(2)

Health Benefits of Buckwheat: Nutritional Powerhouse

Buckwheat is known as a “superfood” because it is packed full of dense nutrition, including:

  • Rich in manganese.
  • Excellent source of magnesium.
  • Rich in potassium.
  • Great source of B-vitamins.
  • Excellent source of polyphenol compounds (plant-based antioxidants).
  • Contains rutin, a powerful bioflavonoid (class of polyphenol compounds) thought to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.(1)

How to Add Buckwheat to Your Dogs Diet

If you’re not familiar with this superfood, you may be wondering how to add it to your dog’s diet. There are a couple of creative ways you can get this nutrient-dense seed into your pet’s food. One option is to make a homemade treat recipe using buckwheat flour as the base. This is an excellent option for dogs who don’t do well with grains.

Another option is to boil the buckwheat groats and add it as part of your dog’s homemade recipe. Try adding this superfood to a homemade soup, stew, or crockpot recipe for your dog. It’s almost guaranteed they will be licking their lips!

Buckwheat Purchasing Tips

Buckwheat flour is typically found in the baking aisle of most major grocers and health food stores, while buckwheat groats can be found in the same section as rice, millet and quinoa and soba noodles are commonly placed alongside other Asian foods in the international aisle. Here are my buckwheat purchasing tips:

  • Buy certified organic.
  • If buying buckwheat flour or buckwheat groats, be sure to check the ingredient list. You don’t want to see any added sugars or extra ingredients.
  • If purchasing buckwheat as soba noodles, be sure that they are made from 100% buckwheat, as many soba noodles are part buckwheat and part wheat.
How to Cook Buckwheat

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of buckwheat groats
  • 2 cups of water

Directions

  1. Start by adding the buckwheat to a colander and thoroughly rinsing the groats to remove any debris.
  2. Next, add the buckwheat groats and water to a large stockpot and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer, and cover. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the buckwheat is tender.
  4. Rinse and drain.
  5. Use in your favorite homemade dog food recipe as a gluten and grain free alternative.

Conclusion

Buckwheat makes an excellent substitution for grains in your dog’s diet. The rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber makes this superfood shine. Let me know how you choose to add buckwheat to your dog’s diet and don’t forget to give these Blueberry Buckwheat Dog Treats a try!

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Comments

  1. We love buckwheat waffles and use buckwheat groats raw tossed on cold cereal… is there any reason they need to be cooked for dogs?

    • Hi Sue,
      Thanks for the comment. They should be cooked to make them digestible enough. Without cooking them, they would be far too indigestible for dogs. Some people even soak them prior to cooking to increase their digestibility.
      I hope that helps!
      Diana

  2. This is an helpful for blog for your pet. Thanks