Can Dogs Eat Beans? How safe is it?

Can dogs eat beans?

Affiliate Disclosure: When you buy a product via our links, we sometimes earn a referral fee. Learn more

I love beans. And legumes. Canned, refried, soaked overnight and then cooked in a soup, or simply cooked in a bit of stock and then mixed with bacon pieces as a snack. I could go on and on about all the ways I like to eat beans. Yet as a dog owner, you always wonder – what food is good for my pooch, right?

And here I am today, wondering – can dogs eat beans?

As always, I went ahead and checked with my trusted vets and online sources, and here is what I found out:

Some beans are safe for dogs, and some are not recommended or might be even toxic. In particular, Pinto beans, Kidney beans (except raw red ones), Soybeans, Bean sprouts, Black beans, Butter Beans, Garbanzo beans (a.k.a. Chickpeas), Green beans, Lima beans, and Lentils are safe for dogs. Whereas Fava beans, Baked beans, Canned beans, Refried beans, Chili beans, Coffee beans, and Raw red kidney beans are NOT safe for dogs.

Before you go and give those beans to your dog, make sure to read a bit more on what is the best way to serve the ‘good’ beans and why to avoid the ‘bad’ ones.

Table of Contents

Full list of beans that dogs can and cannot eat

DOGS CAN EATDOGS CANNOT EAT
Pinto beansFava beans
Kidney beans (except raw red ones)Baked beans
SoybeansCanned beans
Bean sproutsRefried beans
Black beansChili beans
Butter BeansCoffee beans
Garbanzo beans (a.k.a. Chickpeas)Raw red kidney beans
Green beans
Lima beans
Navy beans
Edamame
Lentils

Are beans good for dogs?

Most beans and legumes are rich in protein, potassium, iron, and fiber, which are all significant elements to have in your doggie’s diet. 

For example, here are the nutrition tables for raw pinto beans, fresh green beans, and chickpeas.

As you can see, they are low in cholesterol and sodium and high in protein, which all makes a great addition to your doggie’s diet. 

However, it is essential to note that even though dogs are omnivores, the ‘good’ beans should be taken with moderation and not replace animal protein. 

Please note: these nutritional values and dietary percentage values are made for humans and do not apply for dogs the same way. I’ve still included it for comparison’s sake.

Which beans are safe for dogs?

After doing my research, one thing became evident for me – not all beans are created equal. They vary from being super nutritious and beneficial to those that, even in small amounts, can make your doggie seriously ill or results in death.

But first, here is a bit more on beans that are good for your dog.

Green Beans

green beans are good for dogs

For example, green beans – one of the best beans you could give to your dog, are not beans at all. Green beans are actually vegetables and are not classified as legumes, like most of the other beans and lentils. But let’s not get lost in the technicalities – green beans are great for dogs and contain much of the needed nutrients. Just make sure you wash them properly and serve them either raw or cooked without any sauces or other ingredients. Make sure to stay away from canned green beans, though (more on ‘why’ – below).

Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans, Black Beans, Butten Beans, and Garbanzo Beans

can dogs eat chickpeas

Dried common beans like pinto, kidney or black beans are great for dogs and can even lower cholesterol levels in their blood (although our expert Vet Dr. Erica Irish says that most vets don’t get too upset over an elevated cholesterol). They are also cheap and straightforward to prepare; thus, it’s worthwhile to consider as part of your dog’s diet.

To prepare any of these dried beans for your doggy, simply leave 1 cup of dried beans to soak overnight. Next day, drain the water, wash the beans and fill with 3 cups of freshwater. Then put the beans on the stove and boil until soft. Depending on the bean, it’s anywhere between 45mins and 1.5h.

The next time I’ll make some beans, I’ll definitely take a few spoonfuls and mix it with the dog food, to add an extra nutritional variety!

Soybeans, Edamame and Bean Sprouts

Did you know that Edamame beans are just young, premature soybeans? I didn’t!

Nevertheless, both mature Soybeans and Edamame beans are a great crunchy snack for your doggie. They are rich in polyunsaturated fats and proteins, which are great for active dogs.

The best way to buy and serve edamame or soybeans is to buy them raw (or dried) and then cook in unsalted water until soft. Make sure you avoid already prepped edamame as they are usually heavily salted and prepared with some oil.

Bean sprouts, on the other hand, can be eaten raw, simply sprinkled on the dry or canned dog food. They contain loads of Vitamin C, A, B, E and can boost your dog’s immune system (especially due to Vitamin C)! 

Lentils

Lentils are useful not only for people but for dogs too. Green, red, black, or yellow – they all offer high amounts of so much needed protein and fiber. However, avoid feeding your dog with lentil soups, as they usually contain high levels of salt, garlic, and onion, which are not suitable for dogs.


“Green beans are my personal favorite treat on this list because I can recommend them to almost all of my patients. They are tasty and have very few calories. Try to stick to one type of bean as a treat for your dog because he or she can develop gastrointestinal upset if they eat too many different treat

ANYDOGGIE’S VETERINARIAN DR. ERICA IRISH

Serving tips for beans

  • The main rule of serving beans to your dogs is to do it in moderation. Excessive amounts of beans and legumes can cause severe gas production and indigestion. And we all know how much having a gassy dog sucks :) Few tablespoons of beans for the pound of dog-food should be a good guideline to follow.
  • Also, as mentioned already, avoid canned beans in any form, because they contain too much sodium, preservatives and may contain onion and garlic, which are both toxic for dogs.
  • If you’re prepping dried beans and lentils – let them soak overnight. It will not only make them much faster to cook, but also get rid of some of the ‘bad’ stuff and make them easier to digest. Rinse beans in cold running water before cooking.
  • Do not add salt or seasoning to any meals you prepare for your doggie, including the beans.

Which beans are bad for dogs?

Fava Beans

can dogs eat fava beans

Fava beans (sometimes called broad beans) are not safe for dogs and should be avoided. They contain a protein called phytohemagglutinin (PHA), which, even at small amounts, can be toxic for dogs and other mammals. This protein can bind to intestinal walls, causing nausea, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhea, not only for dogs but for humans too! So make sure you know how to cook them properly.

Raw Red Kidney Beans

PHA, described above, is especially prominent in the Raw Red Kidney Beans and, therefore, should be avoided at all costs. Canned Red Kidney Beans have most of the PHA removed through the cooking process, thus are safe to consume for humans, but not recommended for dogs. This goes for other canned beans, too:

Baked and Canned Beans

can dogs eat red kidney beans

Baked beans and canned beans can be delicious for your meal, and it is reasonable to wonder, are canned beans safe for dogs? And the answer is that they are not recommended to give to your dog. The reason is that they usually contain a high amount of sugar and sodium that are not healthy for dogs. They also have a bunch of preservatives that simply don’t do any good for your pooch. 

Refried Beans and Chilli Beans

For the same reasons as baked or canned beans, chili beans, and refried beans are not a healthy choice for dogs. In addition to sugar and sodium, especially refried beans typically contain a lot of oil too. This can create serious indigestion problems. Also, if you buy ready-made refried beans, it will most likely include garlic and onions, that are not safe for dogs.

Coffee Beans

coffee beans - can dogs eat coffee beans

To be honest, I’m not sure why anyone would feed their dogs coffee beans, but hey – sometimes accidents happen, and your four-legged friend finds few of these on the floor next to your coffee grinder.

Coffee beans (obviously) contain caffeine, and caffeine is extremely poisonous for dogs. Even small amounts can result in vomiting, elevated blood pressure, elevated heart rate, temperature, and unfortunately, death too. Thus, please avoid giving caffeine to your doggie at all costs!

If your dog ate any of the above beans accidentally, please contact your vet for advice on what to do immediately.

Symptoms of poisoning can include diarrhoea, vomiting, drowsiness and/or an elevated temperature within the next 1-2 hours. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned, please take your dog to the vet immediately.

Conclusion

To sum up, beans and other legumes are a type of product that should be given to your dog with caution. Please make sure you check which beans are safe for dogs before giving any, as some of them can be toxic. If you choose one of the safe ones, please check cooking recommendations before, as it can make a difference between giving your dog something that is nutritious versus something that can have dangerous amounts of sodium, fat, and sugar.

I hope this article helped to make a better decision on your dog’s diet!