Can Dogs Eat Farro? It’s a Nutritious Grain

Can Dogs Eat Farro

Grains have made human civilizations more sustainable and more productive with their ease of cultivation and caloric density. But they are relatively new to the human diet, and so there are complications. Gluten sensitivity is just one of many.

But farro is a particularly interesting grain. Actually, it is a category of grains that includes three specific species of food plants that are commonly used in soups, salads, and other types of fare. As it happens, the farro kinds of wheat are some of the oldest food crops of their kind. This means we have more experience eating them than we do with most (or at least many) grains.

Farro is interesting in a number of ways. For a start, it is particularly high in fiber and in protein. These two nutrients can be somewhat nutritionally counterproductive when eaten together, but there is little real harm in it.

As always, our concern here is whether or not dogs can and should be given farro to eat. Does the fact that we have been cultivating it longer than most, if not all grains, help dogs digest it better?

Can Dogs Eat Farro?

According to veterinarian experts and animal nutritionists, dogs can eat farro grains and they can benefit from them. As always, there are risks, things to keep in mind, and other things we should know before we feed farro to our furry family friends.

Dogs can eat farro safely as long as it is given in moderation. First, let’s talk about the benefits.

High in Fiber & Protein

Some nutritionists say that fiber and protein should be eaten separately, but there is no real harm in combining them. Dogs tend to get a lot of protein in their diets, but fiber is not something they get much of. Adding farro to their diets can help with that.

High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are also something dogs tend not to get a lot of. That is changing with more people looking for ways to get vegetables into their dog’s diets, and farro can help quite a bit.

Nutrient Dense

Overall, farro is rich in a number of essential vitamins, making it a good addition to just about anyone’s diet, including your pets.

Helps Digestion

Fiber is always good for digestion. The beneficial microbes that live in the guts of humans and dogs like to eat fiber. For this reason, fiber helps with digestive health in two ways. It acts as a scrub brush to help clean the intestines and it helps those beneficial bacteria. Dogs don’t get a lot of that sort of thing normally.

Boosts Immune Function

Providing antioxidants and helping the immune system are not the same things. Antioxidants help eradicate free radicals, which break down cells. This makes the job of the immune system easier, thereby helping keep killer T cells in good supply.

Helps Maintain Blood Sugar

Another benefit dogs tend not to get much of from their foods is help with the regulation of insulin and blood sugar. Dogs should not be getting much sugar in their diets if any. But if they do, farro can help with the resulting insulin spikes.

Things to Be Aware of When Feeding Your Dog Farro

Almost any plant matter you feed to your dog comes with risks, since it will necessarily be new. People are doing this more and more with their dogs, and while there are some benefits for pets, there are also risks.

For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you introduce farro or any plant-based food in small amounts, increasing the volume you give only slowly over time. No matter what, your dog’s system will need to adjust to the new food. His gut will need time to develop more of the microbes needed to digest it, and his body will need to re-tool in order to metabolize it.

Finally, you want to be careful about the risk of allergies. Allergies are unpleasant, and in the most extreme cases, they can be deadly. If your dog is allergic to farro, you will notice some or more of the following symptoms.

  • Itchy skin
  • Swelling of the paws or face
  • Hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Itchy skin can be hard to detect. After all, dogs are always scratching. But if your dog starts scratching more than usual, that could be a sign of trouble.

A swollen face or paws is a sure sign of an allergy, and that your dog cannot tolerate whatever is causing it.

Hives are a sure sign of an allergic reaction. Look for hives if your dog starts scratching a lot.

Vomiting is the best bad reaction because it usually happens rapidly and ends the problem. Finally, there’s diarrhea. Nothing good causes diarrhea.

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms after the first 1 to 12 hours after eating farro, chances are high that he is allergic to it.

As long as you introduce the farro carefully, you should not have a problem. At no time should the amount of farro your dog eats exceed 15% of his total diet.

Photo credits:
Farro grain (Pixabay)
Dog in grain field (Pixabay)

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