Can I Give My Dog Beans?

Can I Give My Dog Beans?Many owners would say that a dog eating beans is a bad, even stinky, idea. The thinking is pets are gassy enough, despite this food being rich in protein and fiber.

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Beans cause flatulence for sure, but there’s also much nutrition to be had. Kudos for wanting to share. Feeding some to your dog is safe, even smart. We’ll offer a few helpful tips here.

First off, all beans need to be cooked before they are fed to dogs. Actually, you should soak them too. As far as choosing a variety, it’s a huge topic! Let’s get started…

Can I Give My Dog Beans? Answer: Yes, in moderation

They are nutritious. Just limit a pet’s portions and never serve raw.

In particular, we recommend that you avoid feeding your dog raw red kidney beans. They contain a potentially harmful toxin, a lectin called Phytohemagglutinin (that’s a mouthful). In general though, beans and lentils are healthy and can provide a dog with valuable nutrition including lots of protein. Nevertheless, beans aren’t a replacement for meat.

This food group is best for complementing canine chow. A top quality wet dog food that contains green beans (for small breeds) strikes an excellent balance.

Bountiful Benefits of Beans

Beans have so many benefits, one being antioxidant properties. They can also prevent canine constipation, although diarrhea is possibility which is why moderation is a must.

The fiber in beans assists with regulation of blood sugar levels. This is particularly helpful for diabetic dogs. Chickpeas, Pinto, Black-Eyed, Lima, Garbanzo are a few that are fantastic.

The nutrients in beans are absolutely awesome. Your dog’s immune system will be strengthened and they’ll be less likely to suffer from diseases over the course of their lifetime.

Canned Beans and Chili

Buying beans dried is the way to go. You’ll avoid the extra sodium and also get a great deal. Besides, canned beans often contain unknown nasty chemicals (preservatives) in addition to salt.

Some owners like to mix chili beans in with regular dog food. We aren’t crazy about that idea. Spiced foods can cause stomach problems.

Keep in mind that certain ingredients that go with beans, such as onions, are off limits.

Which Kinds are the Best

Soybeans, edamame and Lupin beans are especially high in protein. Green and black beans are also decent choices for feeding to dogs.

You don’t actually need to be so choosy. There are so many bean varieties that we can’t cover them all. None are known to be harmful for pets, when cooked.

Many folks don’t realize that pretty much all beans are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese to name a few vitamins and minerals.

A Few Downsides for Dogs

Your pet dog can certainly benefit from whatever type of beans you have on hand. Obviously, not coffee beans!

One drawback, besides the obvious gas issue, is the moist texture characteristic. Be sure to maintain your dog’s dental health to prevent cavities and gum problems.

Conclusion on Beans

You can feed your dog appropriately portioned cooked beans. Mixing this vegetable in with regular dog food makes sense. They are healthy, but some preparation is required. Soak your beans and cook them prior to Fido’s feeding time. The resulting gas is normal and, hopefully, not a dog deal breaker.

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Dr. Stephanie Flansburg Cruz, a practicing vet, has reviewed and endorsed this article. She has 3 dogs of her own and cares about the welfare of all animals.

51 thoughts on “Can I Give My Dog Beans?

  1. Pam

    I am cooking for my 5 month old Boxers. In an average batch I throw in – 4 handfuls each of barley, whole wheat, pintos, navys, limas and black-eyes. I cook it about all day, then mix in a quart of my own canned chicken breast, about a cup of dry rice and about a half cup of powdered milk.

    Sometimes I add extra meat from the freezer but that gives you an idea. For a snack, I serve them raw oats mixed with peanut butter and dried blueberries. Is this a balanced and healthy diet? Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. Francine

    I have a neighbor who keeps putting beans on the lawn where I let my dogs roam. Naturally, the dog roams and tends to stop and eat these things, but I don’t understand why? They keep putting these beans, rice and noodles on the lawn. Will beans hurt? My dog hasn’t appeared to become ill at this time.

  3. James Caldwell

    A wee note to say thank you. We adopted a mystery dog from a rescue kennel. He came to us seriously under weight and our vet diagnosed him with Kennel Cough along with a delicate tummy. Over the past two years of periodic sickness we have discovered a wheat intolerance and he has a slight diabetes problem.

    Only by making meals at home have we been able to control what was going into his meals. We recently started adding Black Turtle, green beans and a huge variety of vegetables to his home cooked meat and veggie-based diet. The information on your site has been a great assistance to our new family member so thank you again!

  4. Joan Prater

    I don’t like soy beans much but my dog sometimes does. I have bean salad with edamame and I eat all but the edamame. It’s good to know it is okay for her to eat it.

  5. Craig

    Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same thing. A 15 kilogram dog needs to eat about a family-sized block of chocolate or a cup of chopped onions before it starts getting sick. Inadvertently slipping Rover a piece of chocolate is 99% okay. Is chocolate a cash cow for vets?

  6. Sarita

    Thanks for the information. You said onions are off limits. I made black beans in my Instant Pot pressure cooker with a whole onion, whole orange and basil leaves. I drizzled it on my dog’s kibble not knowing onions were bad, but it didn’t seem to cause gas or any problems. Any idea why?

  7. Linda

    Are fully cooked unseasoned Pinto beans okay if I mash them with a fork first and feed sparingly? I soak them for 12 hours to remove a percentage of the starch. All replies are welcome because there’s nothing worse than a 65 pound Doberman with the runs.

  8. Melissa

    I feed my Yellow Lab cooked chicken, veggies, yogurt and an apple every day. I will occasionally add other items like oatmeal, pumpkin puree and cooked beans. I’ve never had any issues with beans until this last week. I cooked a batch of dry organic beans from Target and fed some to him along with his chicken and veggies.

    He threw up while I was gone after that. I figured he had some tummy issues and didn’t think anything about it until I gave him some more today. Less than 1/2 a cup, with his food, and within 30 minutes he threw up. It’s gotta be the black beans from Target.

  9. Hailey

    My dog will only eat vegetables. If we nearly force him, occasionally he’ll have a bit of meat but he’s happy with frozen veggies. His favorites are peas and sweet potato.

    1. Stephen P

      The sugars and starch in sweet potatoes are an oxidant which trigger the aging process in humans as well as dogs. It’s like putting the body on slow roast over a long period of time. Avoid starches like corn and potatoes, along with simple sugars that might be present in some natural foods.

      1. Scott

        Ryan, like many people, mistakenly compare the diets of dogs to wild animals such as wolves. Dogs are not wolves. They have lived for hundreds of thousands of years alongside humans, with much of their diet being our scraps. Their digestive systems have changed to make the most of that mixed diet.

        From my research, the general scientific consensus seems to be that the ideal diet for most dogs is about 40-60% meat proteins. Just like humans (likely once again from sharing our diet for so long), they can survive and even thrive as long as they are active and getting the essential nutrients.

        In other words, a dog can survive eating a wolf’s diet, but a wolf would die of malnutrition eating a dog’s diet.

        1. Diana

          I have found that sick animals often prefer a vegetarian diet for a time, as it may be more easily digested than meat. I assume there are some animals who prefer veggies over meat. Just don’t include too many potatoes which can cause itchiness and hair loss among other things.

          I suggest you feed your dog vegetables without letting naysayers guilt you out. I know both vegetarian and meat eating dogs who are just fine and some very fat unhealthy dogs who are fed lots of treats. So if your dog is too skinny or sick offer veggies, then chicken or beef broth and then go back to the meat.

    2. Dianne

      My Terripoo cross got into my low-fat supper when I turned my back and he started to scarf cooked black beans and Niblet corn. My mother used to say that things taste best when they are stolen!

      Her other observation that I have religiously followed, is that you have to kiss your canine poopsy loudly and frequently, so that your friend in the dog suit knows that he or she is loved.

    1. DorrieL

      Yes but dry dog food is so far removed from real food that you have to introduce new foods gradually. I cook for my dogs daily which includes a starch, a veggie, a protein, some fat and some Dr. Good pet enzymes. I try to use fresh organic foods as much as possible.

      A dog not used to real food might feel funny and get the runs until he gets used to it. Dogs need a fresh balanced diet just like you with the exception of onions, nutmeg, certain nuts, grapes, raisins, avocados or alcohol.

  10. Mary Anne

    I often cook a 5 liter pot of bean soup with red kidney sugar beans and share it with my dogs. One day after feeding my Boerboel what was left over from the bean soup, she developed a severe stomach contortion at only age 3. That evening I had to take the snap decision to euthanize her.

    It was so terribly severe. It will remain etched into my memory for the rest of my life. It was like my dog had been poisoned and right after she had eaten the bean soup! I still feel responsible and realize it could only have been the beans that triggered it.

    1. Hailey

      You don’t think it could have possibly been any of the seasonings? Was there onion in it? Dogs are horribly allergic to onion and garlic as well.

    2. Magdalena

      Great Danes, horses and large breed animals can and do get stomach torsion. When you have a large animal you must be very careful to not cause the gas that causes the stomach to turn over.

      My foster mother got a Great Dane puppy and we had her only about a month or two. She had to be put to sleep because of stomach torsion. The first incident, the vet was able to help her with. When the puppy got it again, my foster mother had to PTS. She was just a baby.

      1. Stephen P

        My wife had a Great Dane as a kid. His stomach turned over and it killed him. Apparently, he ate too much dry kibble in one sitting all of the time. Dry food causes stomach torsion as well. Large dogs are especially susceptible to this.

        1. Miss Cellany

          Giant breeds like Great Danes are too large – their proportions (including those of their internal organs) are out of whack. Dogs were designed, by nature, to be around medium-sized (like a Border Collie or Kelpie).

          Humans pushed the limits of canine size and created bigger breeds. As a result, their hearts and other organs cannot cope with the pressures of such a large body. Great Danes have the third highest rate of heart failure in all breeds.

          It’s well known that very large breeds live far shorter lives than medium and smaller breeds. This is probably due to the extra pressures and strain put on the internal organs by such a large body.

          Nature never intended for dogs to be so large. Inflating their size with artificial selection has caused severe health issues for them. I believe breeders should start breeding for smaller individuals to reduce the size of their breed, no more giants.

    3. Ryan

      Red kidney beans are poisonous if not thoroughly blanched and cooked-even for humans. I wouldn’t give a dog kidney beans. Some other beans aren’t great for dogs and can give them stomach upset. Peanuts are an exception but again, moderation.

  11. Jo

    I once was out with my pet and one of the kids at the house there left a plate of chili with beans where my Bichon Frise was able to get it. By the time I realized he had eaten it, he was outside playing. He never had any reaction at all. I prepared for the worse, and my dog just licked his chops and swaggered contently away. However, I realized I was very Lucky there was no after effect!

  12. Mark

    Just read an article where a Bramble, a Blue Merle Collie, lived to be 27 years old eating a vegan diet. It flies in the face of “dogs must eat meat” doesn’t it?

    1. Sharron

      Hi Mark. I also don’t think that dogs need all that meat protein. I have a Yorkie/Chihuahua, she’s not an overly active dog, just a typical little house dog. She prefers canned dog food compared to dry. I do mix dry and canned food together. The dry is mostly made up of plant protein rather than meat and she is doing well on it. I have had her on the dry foods that have a lot of meat in them but she doesn’t care for them and won’t eat it. If I mix veggies in with the dry food, she eats the veggies and leaves the dry behind.

    2. Ryan

      Dogs need to eat meat, like wolves in the wild. They primarily eat meat supplemented by berries and possibly some wild veggies and grass. Though I wouldn’t let a dog eat lawn grass because of the type of grass and pesticides/fertilizer. Maybe wheat grass in moderation.

  13. Carol

    I feed a mixture of dry and cooked organ meats ground up with beans including black, kidney navy, split peas and lentils. They love the treat on top.

    1. Christie

      Hello Sharron. I would give your little guy about a tablespoon once a day for about a week and then if you want give a little more up to two times a day. You can also give your beloved pet other veggies if you want. Just make sure they are cooked very well and mash them up.

      If you make a big batch, you can freeze it in the size you need for a week at a time. They will stay up to 3 months in the freezer. I’m so happy you are feeding your dog good and safe food. If you need anything else happy to help out.

      1. Sharron

        Hi Christie. Thanks your reply. What is your opinion on Royal Canine dog food? Should I be giving a holistic food? High protein, high fat, lots of calories? She isn’t a very active dog and she wouldn’t be able to burn off those calories.

        Also, she doesn’t like those foods. I have tried many over the past 4 years including raw, dehydrated and home cooked meals. Thank you.

        1. Tiffany

          I’ve used Royal Canine for my Westie and she loves it. They’ve got various lines, including a mature line of dog foods that should be more suited if your dog is not very active and if she’s older. Mine is 5 years old but needs to lose weight and just hangs around and sits at the bench to watch people pass by most of the time, with the exception of her nightly walks.

          But I have had another dog who also disliked dog food in general and preferred home-cooked meals. So what I did was I still gave her home cooked meals and used the dog food as treats or fillers to her diet. I would feed her a small serving of dog food first then finish off with the yummier food, just to make sure she didn’t miss out on nutrients from both types of food.

      2. Barbara

        I have 2 dogs, an American Eskimo and a Sheltie/Collie mix. I feed them a home cooked meal every morning of dried beans with some lamb, eggs, a little oil that the vet recommended, butternut squash, lots of sweet potatoes and carrots, green and yellow squash, carrots and bone meal. I puree everything after cooking well and I soak the beans. The dogs love it! At night, I feed them a quality dry food in case I miss a micro-nutrient and this also gives their teeth a work-out.

    1. Christie

      Hi. Are you cooking peas or green beans? I don’t give my boys peas, they have lots of natural sugar in them. But the green beans, you can give them the whole thing. Just remember to blend them up well as with any veggies you might give them. You can make up a big batch of veggies and freeze them in the size you want, they will last up to 4 weeks.

      If you feed your beloved pet home-made food you will see a big change in them for the good. I know it can be hard at times to cook all this stuff, but it’s well worth it. You can even buy big bags of mixed veggies that are all ready frozen. Works just as good. Best of luck.

      1. Sher

        Christie, you have some great ideas. I gave my two big guys some broth from my cooked beans. I had a variety of beans that I made a soup out of. Instead of a ham bone in it, I used small pieces of pork. The dogs loved it. I’ve got one picky eater and that helped. I mixed it with their dry food.

    1. Shelley

      Hi Sarah. Always be careful when feeding your dog human food. Sometimes there can be quite a bit of spices in baked beans as well as sugar. It would be better to give them just plain black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc. with no salt or pepper, no spices of any kind – just rinsed off, right out of the can. I have a Westie and she loves all those beans, as well as green beans, raw carrots and bananas.

  14. Christie

    I feed my dogs a mix of cooked beans and fish, like white, tuna and salmon (no bones and cooked) and very well steamed veggies and puree them. My boys are doing very well and are happy. I don’t feed them the crap that is in the big bag stuff. Yes, at first it was hard to keep up with the cooking but well worth it in the long run.

  15. Maria

    This information was very helpful due to the fact that my 2 year old dog loves Peruvian beans, cooked of course. I glad to know they are not harmful.

  16. Samantha Dew

    I love your site and use it all the time as I am in the process of launching a dog treat business. I was wondering if dogs can eat black turtle beans, pinto beans and haricot beans provided of course that they have been soaked and cooked properly.

    1. Lorene

      Raw beans must be soaked in boiling water, let cool, soak for at least 4 hours and the water discarded before cooking. This lessens the gas effect and allows the beans to cook faster to preserve nutrients. Best when then combined with cooked yams, green beans, carrots, beets for the added nutrition and flavor. Only 1/8 to 1/4 of a meal, with fresh meat or dog food.

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