Owning a dog is probably one of the most rewarding experiences in life, second only to raising a child. We can’t find a better way to describe the level of love, loyalty, and appreciation you are going to get out of this relationship. But, we can’t deny that taking care of one living, breathing being also requires a lot of commitment.
One of the biggest challenges the dog owners face is, of course, the matter of nutrition. You see, plenty of people make the mistake of thinking that what is good for human beings also works for dogs.
Humans are omnivores and can eat pretty much anything. Dogs have entirely different digestive systems. For them, many foods that are considered healthy by humans are off the table.
That brings us to the question – can dogs eat kidney beans? We know humans can. Let’s see how things stand in the canine world.
What Are Kidney Beans Anyway?
Kidney beans are a very popular staple in numerous cuisines all around the world. But, if you have, for some reason missed this popular food, here’s the short breakdown.
Kidney beans are the variety of common beans set apart by their cousins by dark red color and distinct shape that closely resembles the human kidney (hence the name). Much like other bean varieties, kidney beans are also very nutritious. They are especially rich in protein and micronutrients like iron, folate, and manganese which makes them an excellent candidate for dog food.
Let’s take a quick look at a detailed nutritional breakdown. One cup of red kidney beans (approximately 177 grams) contains approximately:
When it comes to humans, this powerful mix high in powerful antioxidants provides a lot of useful benefits like better heart health, more stable blood sugar levels, and a great help in weight control.
The only potential danger that comes from this otherwise healthy food comes in the form of a relatively high level of phytohemagglutinin which makes them a bit more toxic than most other bean varieties. However, this problem can be successfully mitigated by slowly cooking the food content at lower temperatures of 80 °C (176 °F).
But, as we already mentioned in the introduction the foods that are beneficial for humans are not necessarily equally as healthy for dogs. So, now that we have a good idea about what we are dealing with here, let’s see can dogs eat kidney beans and if so in what circumstances.
The Dog Nutrition Facts
To answer this question we will need to consider one more important factor – the dog nutrition facts.
While dogs require all the essential nutrients to stay healthy and reach their full potential, all breeds, especially while they are still puppies need food rich in protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins. As they grow old senior dogs may experience some digestive problems so the food they intake should also be very digestible.
This is somewhat good news since, as we’ve seen above, kidney beans are incredibly rich in protein. Taking into consideration that dogs need high levels of these nutrients (according to some estimation, puppies and lactating dogs require up to 28% of the protein in their food) this could be a match made in heaven.
Other things that are incredibly beneficial for a healthy food diet are the fibers that prevent constipation and high blood sugar levels as well as maintain healthy digestion. With as much as 16.5 grams of fiber per one cup, kidney beans easily knock this requirement out of the park.
So, Can Dogs Eat Kidney Beans?
Now that we’ve cleared both these important considerations out of the way, it is time to finally get to the bottom of the topic.
Although they are primarily carnivores, the dogs have a very adaptive digestive system so they can eat all sorts of plant species including legumes – the family kidney beans belong to. So, to answer the main question of this article can dogs eat kidney beans – yes, they can. The rich nutritional content of this food makes them incredibly beneficial for our favorite pets.
But, that’s not all. Dogs are also capable of consuming other popular bean types like:
Does that mean, you can simply base your dog’s diet exclusively around this popular food? Well, not quite. Beans can be problematic even when put through a healthy human body that is much more adept at breaking down legumes.
Feeding beans to a dog requires extra caution. So, let’s go through a couple more considerations before you start making your kidney bean stocks.
When You Should Feed Your Dog With Kidney Beans?
In one of the previous passages we have mentioned that kidney beans are very rich in fiber – a nutrient essential for healthy digestion and regular stool. So, if your dogs are suffering from any kind of digestive problem, adding kidney beans to their diet can do nothing but help. They will easily clean their digestive tract, remove toxins that can cause various diseases, and ramp up their immune system.
Also, kidney beans are known for their slowly releasing carbs which makes them a true champion in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. If your vet points out this problem the kidney beans might just be the solution that can help your dog stay fit and healthy.
Finally, we have to mention the problem of obesity. According to recent research, as much as 56% of dogs out there are overweight or have reached the state of obesity. The results of these conditions can be just as devastating as in the case of human beings. So, it is in your best interest to save your favorite pet from this destiny and keep the animal in the best possible shape.
That brings us back to good old kidney beans. Due to its very high fiber content, this food can make your dog feel fuller and reduce its appetite. This, in turn, reduces dogs’ food cravings and helps them maintain a healthier weight. So, this is yet another situation when the use of kidney beans is highly advisable.
When You Should Absolutely Keep Your Dog Away From Kidney Beans?
Now, let’s flip this coin and take a look at its other side.
When we talked about kidney beans’ nutritional content, we have mentioned that this food contains a toxin called phytohemagglutinin. This bad boy can cause a lot of health problems that include the likes of diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. If your dog is suffering from any of these problems, kidney beans should be temporarily put on hold even if they are properly prepared (more about that in a minute).
The second thing we have to point out (although you are probably aware of it already) is that all beans can cause some very unpleasant gassiness. In this regard, dogs are no different from humans. Therefore, we suggest that you never overfeed your pet with this ingredient exclusively and use it solely to balance out other important nutrients. Of course, if your dog is already experiencing digestive gas, kidney beans will do very little to help the poor animal get better.
Also, canned food is sometimes stacked with all sorts of additives and ingredients we know very little about. If you are going to include such a sensitive ingredient in your dog’s diet, we advise that you prepare the beans yourself.
Finally, we have to point out that small puppies are far more sensitive than older dogs that can live entirely on a vegetarian diet. Their nutrition needs to be much more varied if you want to keep them healthy. So use kidney beans only in moderation as a protein-rich supplement.
How To Prepare Kidney Beans For Your Dog?
The way kidney beans are prepared has a huge impact on whether they will be suitable for your dog or not. Many people like to feed their pets with food leftovers which are, admittedly, very convenient and save tons of time.
In the case of kidney beans, however, this can be highly problematic for more than one reason. For instance, homemade baked beans are very high in sugar and use garlic or even onion powder. Both these ingredients are extremely unsuitable for dogs and can cause serious health issues.
The things are not different when we move to refried beans that pack other dangerous ingredients like salt, chili powder, and cumin – all of them a big no-no in the canine world.
So, if you ever want to feed your dogs with kidney beans, you should prepare the meal especially for them and their nutritional needs. The best way to do that is to simply cook the beans and mash them so they become easier to digest. You should stay away from any kind of spices altogether but be double careful when it comes to the culprits we have mentioned above.
We hope this short overview gave you some general idea about the best ways kidney beans can be used in your dog’s nutrition. Kidney beans are an incredibly rich source of protein and fiber that can make your pet’s life awesome.
But, using this ingredient to an excess or in situations when it’s not suitable can also cause some problems. So, feel free to feed your puppies with beans but be careful when and how you are going to do that.