Bowls of different types of beans

Can Dogs Eat Beans? Yes, But…

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Beans, beans, the magical fruit—the more you eat, the more you…well, you know! Beans are wonderfully healthy food and make a great addition to a well-balanced diet. However, if you’re a dog owner, you may be wondering if beans are as good for your pup as they are for you.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing a human snack with your dog every now and then. It is necessary to feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet, but sharing food can be a fun way to bond when done correctly. Let’s take a look at the humble bean and learn whether it can be an appropriate addition to your dog’s diet.

Can Dogs Eat Beans?

Yes, dogs can eat some beans, but should avoid others.

There are almost 20,000 varieties of beans! Most of them are packed with nutrients, fiber, protein, and vitamins. Beans contain zinc, copper, magnesium, and vitamins B1, B6, E, and K. The most common varieties found in the US are pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, and fava beans.

As with most human foods, some beans are safe for your dog to eat, and some are not. Fortunately, all the beans that are safe to feed your pup are readily available in your local grocery store. They include pinto beans, black beans, soybeans, garbanzo beans, green beans, lima beans, and lentils.

Canned Beans vs. Dried Beans

Should you feed your dog canned beans or beans that you have prepared from dry? It should go without saying that you should never feed your dog dry beans. They pose a choking hazard and can expand in your dog’s stomach, causing bloating, blockages, vomiting, and other problems.

Beans that have been thoroughly cooked should be safe. Likewise, canned beans can be fine to serve your dog, as long as they are not high in sodium, sugar, or other additives. You should also check that the beans are unflavored—never feed your dog chili, or beans that have heavy seasoning on them.

How Many Beans Can I Give My Dog?

The most important thing to remember when feeding any human food to your dog is to give it in moderation. Any food can upset a dog’s stomach if your dog eats too much of it. Most vets recommend that only 10% of your dog’s total calories should come from a source outside their normal, veterinarian-approved dog food.

How Should I Prepare Beans for My Dog?

Always give your dog fully-cooked beans. Raw beans are difficult to digest and can upset your dog’s stomach. Use water to prepare the beans. Don’t add any salt or seasoning. If you are using canned beans, make sure to read the ingredients. Don’t serve your dog anything with lots of additives.

Never season beans for your dog. Even salt can throw a dog’s internal system out of balance. Never put spicy things like peppers into the beans, as these can cause gastrointestinal distress. Plain in the name of the game.

Don’t serve your dog too many beans at once, especially if you don’t want to be dealing with doggie farts all night! Dog farts might sound funny, but bloating, constipation and gas are not fun for your furry friend.

Tips from Our Vets

The following is a list of tips on how to think about what human foods are (and may not be) safe for your dog from Dr. Jennifer Coates’ article on Foods Dogs Can and Cannot Eat.

There are some human foods that dogs can eat safely, as well as some human foods dogs can’t eat.

If you have a dog, you might be used to seeing adorable puppy eyes begging for a bite of, well, anything that you happen to be eating.

While it’s natural to want to share human food with your furry pal, many of the foods we eat are toxic to dogs. Some reasons foods may be harmful to your pup include:

  • Foods that are a problem due to our physiological differences (foods we can handle that a dog’s stomach can’t)
  • Other foods aren’t toxic, but are still potentially dangerous for dogs because they are hard to digest
  • Another category of foods that are a problem for dogs are foods that may contain high levels of fat

Some tips and words of caution if you are feeding your pet human foods:

  • Always keep in mind that new foods of any kind, including switching to a different dog food, can cause stomach upset.
  • When you find a human food you’d like to share with your pup, go slowly. Give small amounts at first and watch for any problems like vomiting or diarrhea before giving more.
  • Remember that treats should make up less than 10% of your dog’s diet. So all of the foods that are safe for your dog should be given in moderation to avoid weight gain and nutrient excesses and deficiencies.

What To Do if Your Dog Eats Something He Shouldn’t

Now that you know what foods are safe for dogs, it’s a good idea to know what to do if your pup eats food that’s toxic to dogs.

If your dog does end up eating something he shouldn’t, try not to panic. You have a few options for getting the help your dog needs:

  • The first is to call your dog’s veterinarian, who can advise you to either come into the office or to watch for signs of poisoning, obstruction, or other potential problems.
  • If it’s after hours, you can try calling an emergency veterinarian.
  • Another option is to call a pet poison control line. Be aware that there is a fee to use these services. Two that we can recommend are the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

In some cases, you might be told to induce vomiting in your dog. It is helpful to keep hydrogen peroxide on hand in case you need to do this.

Do not induce vomiting unless your veterinarian or someone from one of the pet poison control hotlines advises you to do so, however, because in some cases, vomiting can make the situation worse. [efn_note]Is it ever safe to induce vomiting? November 19, 2019. Accessed April 28, 2021.[/efn_note]

Final Thoughts

It’s fine to serve your dog beans every so often. They should be fully cooked in water, prepared without seasoning, and served in moderation. A half-cup of beans a couple of times a week should be sufficient.

Check out the articles below to learn whether other common foods are safe (or not safe) for dogs to eat:

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.