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Are dogs allowed to eat beans?

Several varieties of beans stand in bowls on a table

Can dogs eat beans? It depends on the bean! Many, in small portions, are nutritious for your dog, but not all are safe to feed.

Although beans can be a great source of fibre and protein, and some varieties contain beneficial vitamins and minerals, they should not be used as a substitute for animal protein. They should also not be served in large quantities (they cause flatulence, and not just in us). Most importantly, know which beans are safe for your dog.

Can dogs eat beans?

Most beans are safe for dogs to eat, but under some conditions. They should be cooked without additives and not canned or served raw. However, there are some beans, such as green beans, that are completely safe for our dogs to eat in any form and some others that are harmful and can be fatal to your dog. For this reason, it is important that you read up on the type of bean you want to feed your dog.

In general, you should not overdo it with the amount of beans. It should not become the main meal, but just an addition to the usual meal. If your dog eats too many beans, it can lead to severe flatulence.

Healthy beans for dogs

A dog has a bowl of food in its mouth, signalling that it is hungry

With more than 19,000 varieties of legumes, there is a wide range of beans suitable for dogs. Here are the most popular beans that are tolerable for dogs:

  • Black beans
  • Butter beans or lima beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Green beans or pole beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Bean sprouts
  • Kidney beans

Black beans

They are safe as long as they are cooked without spices and not canned. Avoid feeding your dog raw beans as they are virtually indigestible. Instead, soak them overnight and cook them plain.

Lima beans / butter beans

As long as you buy dried beans, soak them and then cook them without seasoning, lima beans are a healthy treat to share with your dog.

Chickpeas

Like many other types of beans, chickpeas are safe for dogs! But you should not feed them raw or from a can. Also make sure you don't add any extra ingredients. 

Pole beans / green beans

Can dogs eat green beans? Yes, absolutely! Green beans, also known as pole beans, are perhaps the safest beans, of all! Dogs are allowed to eat green beans whether raw, cooked, chopped or however you like! Green beans contain many nutrients, such as calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin K. Just make sure there are no added ingredients.

Pinto beans

As with many other types of beans, you need to make sure they are prepared properly. Don't feed your dog raw or canned pinto beans. Instead, buy dried beans, soak them overnight and then cook them the next day without any other ingredients for a tasty and healthy treat!

Bean sprouts

Bean sprouts can be fed to your dog in moderation! They are good for preventing liver and kidney disease. They can be served raw or cooked. As always, make sure there are no added ingredients.

Kidney beans

Be careful, raw kidney beans are toxic to dogs and should be avoided at all costs. However, if you cook the kidney beans without any additional spices or ingredients, they are not only safe for your dog, but healthy too! Avoid canned beans that contain preservatives and other unsafe ingredients

You should be careful with these beans

A dog is huddled under a blanket. Only the snout can be seen

  • Field beans
  • Baked beans
  • Fried beans
  • Coffee beans
  • Chilli beans
  • Canned beans

Field beans

Canned beans are unhealthy for dogs. This is because of a compound called PHA, which is toxic to our furry friends. Unlike other beans, which are harmful raw but safe when cooked, field beans are toxic both cooked and raw!

Baked beans

Baked beans are made of fat and sugar, which makes them unhealthy for dogs. They may also contain tomato paste, onions and garlic, all of which are unhealthy and really harmful to dogs.

Fried beans

Dogs should not eat refried beans for two reasons. First, they come from a can, which means they contain preservatives that are not healthy for our four-legged friends. More importantly, refried beans often contain onions, garlic, and other potentially toxic spices.

Coffee beans

Caution. Coffee beans contain caffeine, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Eating coffee beans can be very dangerous and easily life-threatening. If your dog eats coffee beans, contact your veterinarian immediately!

Chili beans

No, you should not feed your dog chilli beans. Chilli beans are very spicy in most cases, which dogs don't tolerate well. Your dog will probably get an upset stomach. Depending on the ingredient list of the dish, it can get much worse, because chilli beans are often prepared with garlic and onions, which are harmful and dangerous to dogs even in powdered form.

What are the health benefits of beans?

Several varieties of beans in cloth bags lie on the ground, half spilled out

Not only do beans help dogs regulate blood sugar levels, but they are also packed with nutrients, including these essential ingredients:

  • Protein - an important component of a healthy diet
  • Vitamin A - Good for the heart and eyes
  • Vitamin C - Supports the immune system
  • Vitamin K - Helps the body recover from injury
  • Potassium - Supports muscle and bone health
  • Iron - Forms red blood cells
  • Magnesium - Helps the body better absorb other nutrients
  • Antioxidants - Lower cholesterol levels

What are the dangers of beans?

An overdose of beans can have similar effects on dogs as it does on humans. If your pet gobbles up beans, watch out for:

  • Excessive flatulence
  • Loose stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting

While most beans are not overly dangerous to pets, some can cause gastrointestinal distress. Often, the side effects result from ingesting many ingredients commonly mixed with beans, such as garlic, onions, salt, tomatoes and chemical preservatives. To avoid these dangers, stick to pet-safe beans, cook them properly and leave out salt and spices. You should avoid raw beans, as they contain the highly toxic substance lectin.

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