Green beans are a healthy vegetable for humans… but what about for dogs? And what about the famous green bean diet for weight loss that everyone seems to love”
Are Green Beans Good For Dogs?
Green beans are a healthy, low-calorie vegetable for dogs. In fact, they’re even recommended by veterinarians who prefer kibble diets and don’t advocate “people food” for dogs!
Green beans are rich in dietary fiber as well as vitamins like vitamin C and A, which both support your dog’s immune health. Vitamin A also helps with eye and skin health and is important in bone and teeth formation. Both vitamins A and C have antioxidant properties, so they help control inflammation and slow your dog’s aging process.
Green beans are also a good source of minerals, like manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Manganese is important for wound healing, metabolism, and bone health. Surprisingly, green beans also contain some omega-3 fatty acids.
So they’re a good vegetable to add to your dog’s diet, whatever you feed him.
RELATED: The best sources of fiber for dogs …
Is The Green Bean Diet Good For Dogs?
It’s not a good idea to use the “green bean diet” as a weight loss program for your dog. If your dog’s a bit chubby, people may advise you to swap out up part of your dog’s food for green beans to help him get to his ideal weight.
The idea is that adding fresh or frozen green beans will keep your dog happy and full, and help him lose weight. So dog owners are swapping out up to half of their dog’s normal food for green beans.
Giving your dog green beans instead of half his regular food, however, isn’t the answer. That won’t provide him with a balanced diet. He’ll get plenty of fiber content … but if you remove half his regular diet, he’ll miss out on key nutrients his body needs. You don’t want to cause your dog a dietary deficiency for the sake of weight loss. You can, however, give your dog green beans as part of a fresh whole food diet.
It’s important that your dog is at a healthy weight. Obesity can shorten a dog’s lifespan by up to two years. To really help your dog lose weight, give him smaller amounts of his regular diet keep the fat low (10% or less of his total diet), and give him plenty of regular exercise.
And you can keep his overall caloric intake down by using green beans as treats instead of other high-calorie treats. There’s more about green beans treats below …
One cup of raw green beans has only 31 calories, with a nutritional punch – 2.7 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein.
RELATED: How starch causes dog obesity …
How To Feed Green Beans
First of all, feed fresh or frozen beans, not canned. (Read more about the risks of canned green beans below.) Always buy organic vegetables whenever you can, to avoid pesticides in your dog’s food.
You can feed raw green beans, but if you do, it’s best to purée them for digestibility. Otherwise steamed is a good option.
If your dog doesn’t like eating green beans, mix them thoroughly into his meals along with other foods he loves.
Cautions With Green Beans
Feed green beans in moderation, especially at first if your dog’s not used to a lot of high-fiber veggies. That way you’ll avoid causing digestive issues like diarrhea or gas from too much fiber.
Even as a Thanksgiving treat, don’t feed green bean casserole. It’s usually topped with onions, which are toxic for dogs. And the sauce may also contain dairy products like milk, cream, or cheese, which are indigestible foods for many dogs.
Avoid giving your dog green beans cooked with a lot of spices that could cause digestive issues. And always skip the onions for your dog. Garlic is healthy for dogs in moderation, however, though it’s healthiest fed raw.
As suggested earlier, avoid canned green beans. Here’s why …
Why Not Canned Green Beans?
Canned green beans typically have a lot of salt, which isn’t good for your dog.
Canned food is also risky because most food cans are lined with plastic that contains Bisphenol A (BPA) that can leach into the food and can harm endocrine, neurological, cardiovascular, and reproductive health. An FDA study in 2011 found that canned green beans were contaminated with significant amounts of BPA. So if you do give your dog any canned foods, check the Environmental Working Group’s website to find out if your brand uses BPA-free linings. However, there’s no research showing alternative can linings are safe either.
Green Beans As A Treat
Most dogs love treats and they’re a great low-calorie way to reward your dog for good behavior … or “just because.” But some traditional treats have low nutritional value along with too many calories.
Instead of treats with unhealthy ingredients, if your dog loves green beans (some don’t!), you can give them cut into bite-sized pieces for a healthy treat. Other fruit and veggies make good snacks for dogs too. Try some of these:
Incorporating Green Beans
In summary … some of the best ways to fix green beans for dogs are the simplest:
- Add lightly steamed or raw puréed green beans to your dog’s food
- Sautée green beans with healthy fat like grass-fed ghee and add to food
- Offer your dogs a few green beans (raw or steamed) as dog treats. Cut them into small pieces if you’re using them as training treats.
- Mix green beans into your favorite treat recipe. Freezing puréed or finely chopped beans in an ice cube tray is a refreshing hot weather snack!
Green beans and other vegetables are great to give your dog as a source of nutrition and fiber. A healthy dog is a happy dog … and yes, dogs can eat green beans!
Arnold Schecter et al. Bisphenol A (BPA) in U.S. Food. Environmental Science & Technology 2010 44 (24), 9425-9430