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Can Dogs Eat Beans?

Can you feed your dog beans or foods with beans in them? Can dogs eat beans in general? If you want to add human foods such as beans to your dog’s diet, read this article first. Many foods that are safe for us to eat, are harmful to your pup!

Dr. Jess describes the risks and the benefits of feeding beans to your dog, as well as which types of beans dogs should even eat, and which varieties are best left out of Fido’s food bowl.

different types of raw beans organized into small bowls looking from above

Dog food experts sometimes have arguments regarding the safety of serving certain beans to dogs. We will take a deep dive into their concerns here in just a bit.

As delicious as beans are to us, is it a health concern to feed them to our dogs or are we overreacting over this legume?

Let me, the veterinarian, explain my thoughts…

It’s always best to double-check which foods your dog can and can not eat because many foods that are safe and healthy for humans, are actually quite harmful for your dog to eat, or even poisonous or deadly to them.

That’s why I am so glad that you are here making an informed decision before feeding your dog beans!

What Do Dogs Eat?

Just like some humans, there are some dogs that are just not picky about what they eat. They’ll eat whatever you offer them- they’re like vacuum cleaners sucking up anything you put in front of them and then some more on top of that.

Some dogs are on the pickier side of things – which may be an issue if you offer your dog beans, but I’ll get to that here in a little bit.

Pickier pups can be harder to properly feed because they just won’t eat any old food we give them. Try feeding a picky dog something like okra or cabbage!

A common canine diet for pet dogs consists of a complete dry or wet food, usually from a commercial source, and possibly some form of supplement in some specific cases. Not all pet dogs will need supplements to live a healthy lifestyle.

Foraging can also be included in the diet if the dog is an outdoor dog, is allowed to roam, or if the dog is feral, and of course there are treats that are a part of many dog’s diets!

The diet of every dog breed will very when you are looking into a healthy and complete diet for your pup.

Other things that you and your vet should consider when discussing proper diet for your dog, is their lifestyle, age, and any medical issues that they have or are prone to getting in the future as they age.

So it is important to know when offering food to your dog, what constitutes a healthy choice, and what does not.

An improper diet could put your dog at risk of having problems properly digesting their food and absorbing nutrients correctly. And we don’t want that now do we?

So let’s talk specifically about beans, since that’s why you clicked over here today, and talk about how it could affect your dog’s overall health and well-being.

Bean Talk:

Beans are a common type of legume that can be seen grown and/or consumed all over the world.

Beans are a Summer crop plant, meaning that they warmer weather to grow.

Beans come in many different varieties, including kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, fava beans, garbanzo beans, soybeans, and green beans

Each one of these types of beans has a different shape, size, color, and flavor profile.

Some are routinely eaten raw or dried, many are cooked, as in boiled or steamed for the most part, and others are canned or processed even more, such as refried beans or baked beans.

Some types of beans need to be soaked before being consumed, while others are safe to eat without soaking of any kind.

Bean Nutrition:

Just like with any other vegetable, beans have their nutritional value…. as well as some things to be weary of.

Wikipedia does a great job of summarizing the basics of bean nutrition:

“Beans are high in protein, complex carbohydrates, folate, and iron. Beans also have significant amounts of fiber and soluble fiber, with one cup of cooked beans providing between nine and 13 grams of fiber. Soluble fiber can help lower blood cholesterol.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bean

Vitamins:

Beans contain vitamins B1 and B6, E, and K.

Minerals:

Beans contain essential minerals too, such as selenium, copper, manganese, and zinc, which are all necessary to maintain healthy bodily functions.

Antioxidants:

Beans contains antioxidants that may help to prevent cell damage that harmful free radicals can cause. These antioxidants can help with things like preventing certain cancers and diseases.

Sugar Content:

Beans have a low sugar content as well.

Something to take note on and to keep in mind when feeding to dogs who can come down with digestive upset with large amounts of sugar or do not need the extra calorie content!

High Protein:

Protein helps maintain healthy muscle mass and helps stomach feel full, among many other roles it plays in the body.

If your dog feels full for longer, maybe they won’t be begging for so many treats. For the overweight or diabetic dog, this could be huge!

Fiber-Packed:

Beans are packed with healthy fiber.

This fiber helps decrease the chances of constipation and improves gut motility.

Too much fiber however, can lead to too much gut motility… and that’s not a good thing either!

Fiber also plays a pivotal role in feeling satiated, satisfied after eating a meal.

This is incredible helpful with diabetic dogs and those who are needing to lose extra pounds.

Can You Feed Beans To Dogs?

While beans are not toxic to dogs and some types can be quite beneficial even, too many beans could lead to some health issues

So yes, dogs can have beans, as long as you feed the right kind of beans, prepared the correct way, and in moderation for your dog.

Let me dive a little deeper and explain myself so you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should let fido eat beans off of your plate.

Do Dogs Like Beans?

Dogs are natural carnivores.

Some dogs find the flavor of beans to be a delicious one, just as some people love beans, from their salads to their baked dinners.

So yes, some dogs like beans. Some dogs even LOVE them.

Other dogs will definitely turn their nose away from the legume. There is only one way to find out.

Are Beans Beneficial For Dogs?

The random taste of a bean or two, or a small bite as a treat is totally fine – it will not harm your dog as long as the beans are prepared safely. 

However, there’s no need to offer it in large quantities, as this can cause some major health issues for your pup, as I discuss below.

Basically, if your dog consumed a bit of beans, you don’t need to drive them straight to the vet to get their stomach emptied. 

If they start showing any odd signs of being affected by this new food (a list of signs and symptoms to look out for is further down in this article), contact your local veterinarian to get more information on what to do next.

So, yes there are some negative effects that can be seen with some dogs who consume beans.

However, this does not mean that a large number of dogs see many more health benefits versus those few health concerns.

Some of the health benefits for dogs who consume beans include:

  1. High Fiber: Fiber is great to keep the digestive system flowing smoothly and also helps dogs feel satiated (feeling full for longer after eating).
  2. High Protein: Protein helps maintain healthy muscle, is the building blocks of strong body systems, and helps the stomach feel full longer.
  3. Low Calorie: If your dog is overweight, you are liking looking for low calorie options for treats, etc.
  4. Low Fat: Again, if you are looking for lower-fat options to serve your overweight dog, may be a good add-on option.
  5. Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants: A has many different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help keep your dog happy and healthy.

Can Beans Be Harmful to Dogs?

Before we can decide whether beans are safe to feed our dogs, we need to first understand some of the risks involved if we do feed our dogs beans.

Keep these factors in mind before offering your dog beans:

Harmful Reason #1: Loose Stool, Diarrhea, and the Farts

Too much fiber can mean hypermotile, or increased movement, of one’s digestive tract.

Some dogs are more sensitive to additional fiber in their diets, so they are more likely to have loose stool and in some cases, full-blown diarrhea.

Other dogs will not be impacted by any additional fiber in their diets.

Many dog owners also report that their dog has increased flatulence after eating beans.

This is very common and typically go away after the increased gas is removed from their systems.

AKA, after your dog has a case of the farts.

If your dog acts uncomfortable due to extreme gas from their bean consumption, stop offering them beans and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Harmful Reason #2: Allergic Reaction to Beans

A dog can develop an intolerance or an allergy to any food, so there is always the possibility that your dog is allergic to beans.

If you suspect your dog is allergic to beans, do NOT feed it to your dog.

If your dog is allergic to beans and accidentally ingests it, go to your nearest animal emergency room immediately.

When this happens, the attack sets off a hypersensitivity reaction and can result in any of the following symptoms:

Common symptoms of adverse/allergic reaction to food:

  • Swelling of body parts (ex. facial swelling)
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching/Increased grooming
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • etc.

Harmful Reason #3: Harmful Substances

There is a natural compound in beans called phytic acid, that can add up and affect your dog is fed beans in large quantities, as it can hinder the absorption of important minerals.

There is also a compound, a type of lectin, termed phytohaemagglutinin found in some beans that can cause gastrointestinal upset that may lead to more serious effects if not stopped.

This is why it is important to know which beans you can offer to your pup, and how they should be prepared in order to keep your dog safe.

How Many Beans Can a Dog Eat?

This depends on the specific dog in question and the type of bean you are wanting to tempt your furry companion with.

Most the time, beans, prepared correctly and given in moderation periodically, is most likely just as healthy for your dog as it is for you.

Moderation is key here; never go overboard when feeding beans to your dog, no matter if your dog has a stomach of steel or not. Small amounts every once in a while is likely okay for most dogs.

Smaller dogs do not need as many beans as a larger dog to have the same effect.

Dogs with loose stool do not need to be fed beans at all.

The best thing to do to gauge how many beans you should be feeding your dog safely, would be to contact your veterinarian about the specific pet in question.

Specific bean serving suggestions are broken down below.

Can Dogs Eat Refried Beans?

Dogs should not be fed refried beans.

Refried beans are flavored with spices that are not healthy for your dog to consume, including onion, garlic, chili powder, salt, etc.

These spices, as well as other spices that can be in your refried beans, can cause everything from anemia, to electrolyte imbalances.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Beans?

Many types of raw beans contain a toxin.

To rid the beans of this, the beans are typically soaked overnight, and then cooked.

Because of this toxin, please do not feed your dog raw beans.

Most dogs will not eat a raw beans when offered. Instead, offering them a cooked beans is the way to go.

Can Dogs Eat Baked Beans?

Yes, dogs can eat baked beans, as long as no seasonings or other cooking products were used in the cooking process.

If the beans have been properly soaked and then baked without anything else added to them, then technically, yes, they can eat baked beans – remember, no sauce!

Your dog will be much more likely to accept cooked beans from you due to the softer texture and stronger smell compared to if you were going to try and offer them raw beans.

Can Dogs Have Baked Beans?

Dogs should not be fed baked beans.

Baked beans typically contain lots of added sugar that your dog does not need.

They also commonly contain onions, garlic, and tomato in the delicious sauce coating the beans – all of which have been shown to cause harm to dogs.

Can They Have Green Beans?

Yes! Dogs can eat green beans!

In fact, I highly recommend green beans as a treat for dogs who are overweight.

Swap out a raw green bean for a calorie-dense dog treat.

Dogs can safely be given green beans in many forms – raw green beans, steamed, baked.

Cooked green beans are safe for your dog as long as they are cooked without oils, butter, or spices – they need to be kept plain.

Can Dogs Eat Pinto Beans?

Pinto beans need to be soaked in water and then cooked if you are going to serve them to your dog.

Do NOT feed them raw pinto beans.

Pinto beans need to be soaked and cooked because they contain a type of lectin, termed phytohaemagglutinin that can cause gastrointestinal upset that may lead to more serious health issues.

No canned pinto beans, as many companies add extra salt or preservatives.

Lima Beans?

Lima beans are also known as butter beans for reference.

Dogs can eat lima beans.

Just like pinto beans, soak your lima beans overnight and then cook them to make sure that they are safe. Do not cook with any seasonings or oils or butter.

Do not feed your dog raw lima beans.

No canned lima beans, as many companies add extra salt or preservatives.

Can Dogs Eat Kidney Beans?

Just like other beans, such as lima and pinto beans, dogs can also have kidney beans as long as they are soaked and then cooked – without any seasonings, butters, or fats.

No canned kidney beans, as many companies add extra salt or preservatives.

Garbanzo Beans?

Garbanzo beans are also known as chickpeas.

These beans are also safe to feed to your dog.

Again, I feel like a broken record, but you must soak your garbanzo beans first, then cook them (without spices or fats), before offering it to your dog.

No canned garbanzo beans, as many companies add extra salt or preservatives.

What About Navy Beans or Black Beans?

Black beans and navy beans are also safe to feed to your dog.

Again, I feel like a broken record, but you must soak these beans first, then cook them without any spices or fats, before giving them to your dog.

No canned navy or black beans, as many companies add extra salt, seasonings, or preservatives.

How to Serve Beans to Dogs:

After checking with your vet to make sure that beans should be a part of your dog’s menu, start by offering your dog 1 bean.

If your dog does not show any adverse reactions after 24 hours or more, then you are likely safe to continue feeding your pup beans, gradually increasing the amount according to your vet’s guidelines.

Keep the following in mind when serving food to your dog:

And remember that dogs need more than a bowl or plate of beans – they need a complete and balanced diet.

Whichever complete food you choose for your dog, it needs to have the AAFCO label indicating the diet is complete and balanced for your dog’s life stage.

AAFCO approved foods have gone through testing and compliance to make sure that the diet is safe and healthy for your pet.

Dogs already get everything that they need from their kibble or canned food.

How Many Beans Can My Dog Have?

Can dogs eat beans? As I mentioned previously, they can eat beans.

Most dogs are safe consuming beans if they are a healthy adult dog.

A smaller dog will be good with a bite or two of cooked beans, while a large or giant-size dog could handle a few more morsels or bites of cooked beans after a ‘ramping up’ period.

So don’t give your large dog an entire plate of cooked beans the very first time they eat the veggie!

Too many beans can lead to digestive upset, increased flatulence (stinky stinky dog gas!), and other bodily conditions.

I highly recommend contacting your vet first before starting your dog on beans, and also suggest that you start by offering your pup a small amount of beans and then working up to a full amount (AKA a ‘ramp up‘ period).

A little bit of beans typically goes a long way!

It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Talk to your vet about the appropriate serving size of beans for your dog.

Can Puppies Eat Beans?

I would never advise a puppy owner to feed beans to their puppy unless your veterinarian is recommending it due to specific medical needs.

Why do I say this? Because your pup’s first months of life should consist of specialized puppy diets approved by your local veterinarian upon puppy examination.

Puppies tend to have an even more delicate digestive system than adult dogs so giving your puppy beans might cause diarrhea, vomiting, or other adverse reactions.

Find Out If Your Dog Can Eat These Foods!

What to do If Your Dog Eats Beans:

If it is just a bite or two of beans, just watch them for the next 24 hours – just in case, for any signs of adverse reaction. 

If you are concerned with this small amount, of course, contact your veterinarian right away.  Most dogs can tolerate a small amount of beans on occasion and do just fine.  

If it is a large amount of beans, contact your veterinarian right away to discuss details and what to do next. 

In the later case, it is extremely likely that your vet will request that you bring your dog in immediately to get evaluated if they have gotten themselves into a large amount of beans, or a rotten beans.

We vets want to help and we will best help if we are notified right away.

Trust me, us vets are happy to help!

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The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.