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Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat beans?

Overall, most beans are fine as snacks or treats, but there are exceptions.

Your dog loves eyeing your dinner, but you’re not sure what’s OK to share. Are beans at the barbecue safe for pups? How about that fresh green bean side dish? Let’s be honest: There are simply too many varieties of beans to keep track of. The good news is, most beans are safe for your dog to eat, but let’s unpack the layers of legumes. 

Are beans good for dogs?

In moderation, beans are unlikely to cause any problems for your pup. Most beans are nontoxic to dogs and can serve as a great low-calorie snack. A bean-heavy diet, however, can predispose dogs to a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, so consult your vet before adding beans to your dog’s diet.  

“With dilated cardiomyopathy, the heart gets bigger, like a balloon,” Dr. Amber Koch, DVM, veterinarian at MedVet Norwalk, says. “As it expands, that stretches out the muscle fibers and they can’t contract as efficiently. Over time, this can lead to heart failure.” 

Since beans are a healthy source of fiber and protein, it’s important to double check your dog’s everyday food, especially if it’s a grain-free variety, to ensure beans aren’t the primary ingredient. 

What type of beans can dogs eat?

In general, most beans (without seasonings) are safe for dogs to eat in moderation. The most common household cooked beans including black, lima, garbanzo, pinto, kidney, red and white beans are all safe to eat. Cannellini, navy and great northern beans may be less common, but are just as healthy for your dog to eat on occasion.

Vegetables, like fresh green beans and string beans, are also a healthy snack for your pup as long as you’re not adding any extra seasonings.

Related: Can dogs eat chocolate?

What type of beans should dogs avoid

Fava beans can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain in your pup and should be avoided. Raw red kidney beans also contain toxins dangerous to dogs, so try not to let any drop to a waiting pup while prepping to cook these beans. 

Your dog shouldn’t eat chili beans, or chili in general, as it contains garlic, onions and other spices harmful to pups. Dr. Koch warns to stay away from feeding your dog processed foods, as it’s harder to understand their ingredients and they typically contain high amounts of salt. Baked beans and refried beans should be avoided, as well as any other canned beans, as they’re generally full of sodium. 

What happens when dogs eat beans? 

Introducing your dog to any new food has the potential to cause stomach upset. It’s best to let them try new snacks slowly, and consult a vet when trying new snacks or treats. 

You also shouldn’t serve your dog beans cooked in fat or oil as an excess of these ingredients can lead to pancreatitis. Unsurprisingly, beans may also cause gas, so feed your pup at your own risk!

Happy snacking

Just like any treat, beans shouldn’t consist of more than 10% of your dog’s diet. But most beans can serve as a safe, healthy and low-calorie treat for your pup. 

We’re confident that beans aren’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat ... ?” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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