Quorn has been around for over 50 years and has become practically synonymous with “meat-free”, and a staple of many vegetarian and vegan diets. If you’re a veggie and own a dog, you might wonder if a bit of Quorn chicken or mince would make a suitable treat for your pup since it tastes just like the real thing.
Let’s investigate whether dogs can eat Quorn safely, and the reasons why your pooch may or may not make the leap to meat-free.
Your dog shouldn’t eat Quorn, but a little bit shouldn’t cause any big problems as long as there are no toxic ingredients.
Many Quorn products are relatively high in protein and low in fat, which is usually great for our furry friends. However, they also contain more salt, sugar, and other additives that you should limit in your dog’s diet to keep them healthy.
Quorn also lacks the essential amino acids that are found in animal fat and protein. Dogs need 10 essential amino acids in their diet to stay healthy, and these acids are like building blocks that your dog’s body uses to make hormones and new proteins like hair, muscles, skin, and tendons. Protein is potentially the most important component of your dog’s diet, and Quorn just doesn’t contain the same nutritional profile to be a good protein source for Fido.
As a one-off treat or snack, a little bit of Quorn might be okay, as long as it isn’t too salty and there are no toxic ingredients. However, your pup might not find it as rewarding as real meat, and picky pups might turn their nose up at it altogether!
Technically, your dog can eat Quorn mince as it is “safe” and doesn’t contain anything that’s toxic to dogs. However, it isn’t as good for your pooch as regular beef mince would be, because dogs require the amino acids found in animal-based protein to stay healthy. Regular mince is also higher in protein and doesn’t contain any of the artificial additives and salts that are used in Quorn mince.
But, compared to lean beef mince, Quorn mince actually contains less fat and salt which is a good thing as far as your furry friend is concerned. It’s also surprisingly high in fibre, which is always good for keeping your pup’s gut healthy.
No, your dog shouldn’t eat Quorn sausages because there are a number of ingredients that could affect your dog’s health.
The main problem with Quorn sausages is that there is a number of additional ingredients, including artificial flavourings and preservatives which can irritate a dog’s sensitive stomach. These meatless sausages also contain onion which is toxic to dogs. Although the amount of onion in a Quorn sausage isn’t likely to harm your dog immediately, onion and allium poisoning can build up over time to cause illness and anaemia.
While a Quorn sausage does have less fat than a regular pork sausage, it does contain more salt, sugar, and carbohydrates. A single Quorn sausage contains more salt than most dogs should eat in a day, so it’s definitely not a healthy snack for them.
Eating salty foods can cause dehydration and carries a risk of sodium poisoning. Meanwhile, the additional sugar and carbohydrates in these sausages aren’t strictly necessary for your dog’s diet and can contribute towards unhealthy weight gain.
Regular pork ham isn’t an ideal treat for dogs given its highly processed nature, and the high salt and fat content in the meaty treat.
Quorn ham isn’t much better as this too is highly processed and just as fatty and salty as traditional ham, and it contains a number of artificial ingredients which aren’t good for dogs. So no, your pooch shouldn’t eat Quorn ham.
Quorn pieces might make the perfect meatless alternative to chicken as far as humans are concerned, but it’s not an ideal swap for our furry friends.
Although Quorn pieces don’t contain anything toxic and are “safe” should your pooch eat some, they’re not a suitable alternative protein source for a dog’s dinner and they don’t make as good a snack for Fido as real meat would.
Quorn pieces have much more fat than an equivalent amount of chicken, more sugar and carbohydrates than chicken, and much more salt. Quorn also lacks the important amino acids found in meat that dogs need to thrive.
Quorn’s vegan pieces have the same amount of fat compared to the same weight of chicken, and less sugar and salt than regular Quorn pieces. However, it does have far more carbohydrates than regular Quorn and chicken.
Both vegan and regular Quorn pieces have about half the amount of protein compared to chicken. And since protein is so important to dogs, it does mean that chicken is still top-dog when it comes to meaty treats for your pup. The Quorn alternatives are also much saltier and contain a number of additional ingredients that your dog is better off without.
Quorn is a healthy meat alternative for us humans to use in our own dinners, but it isn’t suitable for a dog to eat as their main protein source.
Quorn isn’t exactly junk food, as it is often low in fat. However, the balance of nutrients is meant for humans and doesn’t suit a doggy diet. So although it isn’t necessarily “bad”, it’s not the best either. Plus, Quorn often contains a number of additional ingredients which can make your pooch sick.
Eating a small amount of Quorn shouldn’t make your dog sick unless it’s a product with lots of seasonings or spices that can irritate your dog’s stomach and cause gastrointestinal problems.
As long as your Quorn doesn’t contain anything toxic to dogs, then it shouldn’t make your pooch ill if they eat a bit of it. However, a pooch with a particularly sensitive stomach might react poorly to the mycoprotein and other ingredients, and suffer from gastrointestinal distress and sicknesses like vomiting and diarrhoea.
Many Quorn products contain a lot of salt, and dogs are quite sensitive to this seasoning. Too much salt can make your dog dehydrated, which doesn’t sound so bad, but severe cases can cause organ damage. There is also a small risk that your dog may suffer from sodium poisoning.
Some Quorn products contain garlic and onion powder which are considered toxic to dogs. Eating garlic and onion can make your pooch sick, and eating these ingredients regularly or in large amounts can cause anaemia.
It is rare, but dogs can be allergic to Quorn. Quorn is very high in protein, and most canine allergies are caused by proteins whether that is mycoprotein or plant-based protein like Quorn, or other protein sources like eggs, milk, beef, or chicken.
The Quorn range of products use eggs as a binding agent, and since dogs can be allergic to eggs, the small amount used in Quorn might pup-set your pooch if they have a known egg allergy. The vegan products don’t contain eggs and use potatoes protein instead.
Although some Quorn products are non-toxic and safe for dogs to eat, this meat alternative is not a suitable swap for your dog’s meaty dinners. Dogs need hearty portions of animal protein and fat to stay healthy.
Not to mention, many Quorn products contain spices, seasonings, flavourings, and preservatives which aren’t good for your dog to eat regularly. Many Quorn products also contain garlic or onion powder, which is toxic to dogs, so it’s best avoided.
If there is a Quorn product, like mince, which you have at home and it doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients then your dog can probably eat a little bit and be perfectly fine. However, your pooch probably won’t find it as appetising a treat as beef mince.
Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS
Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.