Beans are a staple in vegetarian diets. They are a great way to get protein without eating something animal-based. They come in so many forms that if you don’t like one kind, there’s sure to be one out there that you do like. If you think your dog would like to try beans, you’re probably right! But are beans good for your dog? This is an important question to ask.
Can Dogs Eat Beans Safely?
Beans are safe for your dog as long as they’re plain and cogoked thoroughly. Beans aren’t considered a low calorie food, but they make up for that with how much protein they have. A serving of legumes has two to four times as much protein as grains do. Protein is a necessary part of your dog’s diet, however it should come mostly from meat sources. Beans are also filled with the vitamins C and K, as well as the mineral magnesium which all play an important role in canine health.
Of all of the beans in the legume family, green beans are the most nutritionally dense and offer the most dietary value. Green beans are a wonderful snack option for your dog if you’re trying to get them to lose weight. Some beans have antioxidants that lower cholesterol and fight diseases like cancer and arthritis. Kidney beans are especially high in antioxidants.
Before you start liberally giving your dog legumes, think about what too many beans does to your digestive system. Not only do you get excessive gas, you also get a slight stomach ache and loose stools. This is due to all of the fiber found in beans, and your dog will handle excessive legumes in much the same way.
Types of Beans You Should Bot Feed Your Dog
There are three main types of beans that you should never give your dog.
The first are baked beans. Baked beans are sweetened with sugar, and while it makes them amazingly tasty, the sugar in baked beans is not good for your dog. Sugar will cause weight gain and can crash a diabetic dog’s blood sugar. Tomatoes are also a significant ingredient in baked beans, and tomatoes can be toxic to dogs in certain situations. There’s also the possibility of onions and garlic being tucked into the can in some form which are toxic in small doses.
Chili beans are another one to avoid feeding dogs. First, they could have garlic and onions, and even in powdered form, they can be deadly to dogs. Secondly, chili beans are relatively spicy. Even if you can handle spice until it makes your eyes stream, dogs don’t have the same tolerance. The spiciness will definitely lead to severe gastric upset like diarrhea and persistent gas.
Coffee beans are also off the list. Caffeine can damage your dog’s neurological system and even lead to death. Coffee beans are severely concentrated forms of caffeine, and a small amount can be very dangerous for your dog. In fact, one of the reasons chocolate is so toxic to dogs is that it contains caffeine.
As a side note, raw red kidney beans contain a toxin that is very dangerous to your dog. Always ensure the beans you feed your dog are cooked.
Feeding Beans to Your Dog
If you’re giving your dog canned beans, read the label. Many beans are saturated in sugar or salt, and dogs shouldn’t have either of these ingredients. Opt for low sodium, sugar-free varieties such as black beans or green beans. Also check for additions of onions and garlic. Even in powdered form, these two ingredients are deadly to dogs.
Beans may be a staple in vegetarian diets, that doesn’t mean they need to be a staple in your dog’s. They get everything they need from their dog food, and anything you add to their diet should be a small accompaniment or an occasional treat.