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As pet parents, it’s part of our usual predicaments (and responsibilities) to know what are some of the human foods that our dogs can eat and what are those that they have to avoid.
And you don’t have to be committed to a plant-based diet to develop an affinity towards beans. And with beans being common at our dinner table, it’s just right to ask, “Can dogs eat beans?”
Beans are well-loved for their high protein content. So, it’s not surprising that they are one of the primary sources of proteins used by vegetarians.
Dogs are omnivores just like us, humans, and they don’t thrive solely on meats like the carnivorous cats. However, it’s also not advisable to feed your dog beans for their protein needs.
Can Dogs Eat Beans?
Yes, beans can be a great supplement for your dogs as they are rich in fiber plus a bit of protein as well as vitamins and minerals. But also know that beans are high in calories so only give sparingly.
However, it’s completely a different story when we say that you’ll have to junk meat to make way for beans in your dog’s diet.
Do vegetarian dogs exist? We don’t think so. If there are dog owners who resort to beans for their dog’s protein requirements, it may be due to their pup’s pre-existing health condition and it is most probably with the professional recommendation of a veterinarian. Without expert advice, there’s no way you can remove meat from your canine friend’s diet.
Beans can serve as dog treats, but you just have to treat them as such. And that means they should only account for 10% of your dog’s total caloric intake provided that they are the only dog treats given at a certain time. The 10% is allotted for all of the treats that you will give your dog, and not just for the beans.
So, if you don’t want to do the math, you can make it simple by just offering beans in moderation. And of course, you won’t want to give them to your dog every day.
Are They Safe?
There are 18 types of the most popular beans in the market, and there are over 19,000 varieties of legumes. With this overwhelming number of beans and legumes to choose from, there’s a chance that you will end up choosing those that are not safe for dogs to consume.
But since you are reading this article, for sure, you can now avoid those beans from landing in your dog’s mouth.
Again, remember that not all beans are the same; some are safe for dogs, while some are not. When shopping, you may stick to the following types to ensure the safety of your pooch.
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Butter beans, or lima beans
- Green beans, or string beans
- Kidney beans
- Garbanzo beans
- Navy beans
Nevertheless, knowing the list of beans can dogs eat is not enough to keep your pup safe. As always, you should also ensure to never add salt, seasonings, or artificial flavorings to the beans or to the homemade pet food that you are preparing.
It might be tempting to add a pinch of salt to add some taste, but remember that you should not compare your dog’s taste with ours. It’s not as if they would devour their dog food because of the added seasonings. They won’t appreciate these additives the way that we do, and these unnecessary ingredients are also harmful to them.
When preparing your pup’s beans, you should do so as you would for yourself. Beans contain a lot of fiber that can aid digestion. However, when uncooked, they are almost indigestible.
So, when you are giving your dogs beans or legumes in their meals, make sure to wash and soak them first before cooking (except for green beans, which can be served raw). By doing this, it will be easier for your dog to digest them and may also help reduce flatulence.
Which Beans Are Not Safe for Dogs?
While we love and can tolerate large doses of coffee beans, our canine buddies can’t, and they shouldn’t even consume even a small amount of coffee beans.
You should also avoid giving your pup baked beans, which are a popular side dish during weekend BBQ parties and potlucks. Aside from these, you should also avoid the following beans to keep your pets safe:
- Baked beans – High in sugar, and contains tomatoes, garlic, and onions, which can be toxic for dogs
- Coffee beans – Caffeine is toxic for dogs and can cause neurological damage, or even death
- Fava beans, or broad beans – Can cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain
- Refried beans – Contain seasonings and preservatives that are harmful to dogs, such as garlic, salt, cumin, and chili powder
- Canned beans – Filled with salt, and other harmful additives for dogs
- Chili beans – Contain garlic, onion, and spices, which are dangerous for dogs
- Raw kidney beans – Contains a toxin that is unsafe for dogs
Health Benefits of Beans for Dogs
We’ve already mentioned that beans are a great source of proteins and fiber for dogs, but aside from that, they are also loaded with other essential nutrients. Dogs can benefit from the vitamins and minerals found in beans such as vitamins A, C, K, B-vitamins, potassium, iron, and magnesium.
Beans are also packed with antioxidants which offer several health benefits for dogs, and they are known to help regulate the body’s blood sugar level.
Vitamin A in your pup’s diet, which can be obtained from eating beans, can help promote a healthy heart and eyes. Vitamin K helps the body from recovering from injuries, while vitamin C strengthens the immune system to keep your dog from getting sick easily.
The B-vitamins help with carbohydrate metabolism, as well as in the regulation of the body’s stored energies. This group of vitamins also facilitates enzyme function, glucose generation, hormone regulation, and red blood cell and nervous system function.
Moreover, potassium helps with bone and muscle health, while iron helps with red blood cell production. Magnesium supports the body in absorbing nutrients more efficiently, and the antioxidants help fight free radicals to prevent cancer, as well as lower cholesterol and reduce the changes brought by arthritis.
Side Effects of Eating Too Much Beans for Dogs
With all of the nutrients found in beans, it can be tempting to feed your dog with a lot of beans. However, beans should only be treated as treats, and not as daily staples of your pup’s diet.
As such, you should only offer them to your pooch in moderation. Treats should total to not more than 10% of your dog’s total caloric intake.
When your dog consumes huge amounts of beans, he may experience excessive gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. These are all unpleasant experiences for your dog that you may easily avoid by not feeding him a lot of beans. Persistent diarrhea also puts him at risk for dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
Also, like what was said earlier, aside from giving beans as dog treats, you should stay away from salt, seasonings, and other harmful ingredients to your dogs, such as garlic, onion, and tomatoes.
It’s important to add variation to your pups’ diet to encourage your dog to eat, but what’s more important is that you constantly provide them with high-quality dog food that is packed with the nutrients that they need. As mentioned, beans are safe for dogs, but in moderation.
When feeding beans, you should always wash them before cooking, with the exemption of green beans which can be eaten raw without causing issues to your dog. Mashing the cooked beans can also help since most dogs don’t chew their food. Hence, doing so can aid in digestion and better absorption of the nutrients.
If your dog isn’t fond of eating beans or legumes as treats, you may also add these into their favorite dog food, or you can also mix the beans with other tasty fruits and vegetables. And as for canned beans, we mentioned that you should avoid them as much as possible.
However, if you have to, you may also serve them provided that you read the label to make sure that there are no harmful ingredients added. You should also rinse them in running water for two minutes to wash off over 40% of the sodium present in the brine.
You may also find beans in the freezer. Just like with canned beans, you can also serve these to your dog but make sure to check the sodium levels, and soak, and rinse the beans.
Some beans are safe for dogs, while some are not. By all means, avoid the beans mentioned above that are unsafe for dogs to eat. And though beans can serve as substitutes for animal-based proteins for us, humans, it is not the same with dogs. Your pup needs a well-balanced diet that is filled with meat-based proteins.
As for the beans, and other human foods, you can occasionally give these to them as treats, but not as daily staples. A nutritionally balanced diet with the use of high-quality dog food or homemade recipes for dogs should be the basis of your pet’s diet.
Can I give my dog canned beans?
Mostly no. Though canned beans aren't immediately dangerous and won't make your dog ill right away, they're not a healthy choice for your pet. Canned beans are loaded with sodium and preservative chemicals, which can tax a dog's digestive system.
Will beans hurt dogs?
The short answer is no. Beans are a safe food for dogs to eat. They're non-toxic and have vitamins and minerals that can be beneficial to your dog.
Why are beans bad for dogs?
Beans already contain a lot of fiber, but uncooked they are almost indigestible. Dogs can have beans or legumes that have been soaked first and then cooked. This helps your dog digest them and may help reduce flatulence. (Beans may still give your dog some gas!)
What beans are not good for dogs?
Do not feed your dog any baked beans (they're high in sugar and tomatoes, garlic and onions), chili beans (same reasons as baked beans, plus they can be spicy!), coffee beans (caffeine is toxic), or raw red kidney beans (also toxic).