Can Dogs Eat Green Beans?
Can Dogs Eat Green Beans Let’s face it? Most of our dogs could stand to cut back on the treats just a little bit, but for many of us, treats are an important part of our daily interaction with our canines. This leaves us looking for healthier alternatives to reward our dogs for their good behavior.
Are Green Beans Safe for Dogs?
Chopped, steamed, raw, or canned — all types of green beans are safe for dogs to eat, as long as they are plain. Green beans themselves are not only safe for dogs, but veterinarians also recommend them as a healthy treat. Best of all, dogs seem to love them.
Sometimes, green beans are prepared with other ingredients. This can make them not only less healthy and even dangerous. Here are some green bean hazards to avoid:
- Canned beans with added salt
- Green beans cooked with oils and spices
- Green beans cooked with harmful vegetables, such as garlic and onions
- Feeding large, whole green beans to dogs, which can be a choking hazard
What Is the Green Bean Diet?
You may have heard someone mention the “green bean diet” as a way to help a dog lose weight. This diet plan gradually substitutes green beans place of a percentage of a dog’s food. For example, an owner starts by supplementing 10 percent of the volume of her dog’s regular meal with green beans, and increases the percentage over time up to 50 percent, until the dog reaches its target weight. Then the owner gradually reintroduces the regular food back into the dog’s diet.
While the green bean diet sounds like a good idea, in theory, veterinarian Ken Tudor, writing for PetMD, explains the risks of attempting the green bean diet without veterinary guidance.
To begin with, dogs that gain weight suddenly or have difficulty losing weight despite exercise and diet restrictions could have serious health conditions, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.
Even if your dog’s extra weight stems from a few too many kibbles and scraps, according to Dr. Tudor, “Regular food is inappropriate for weight-loss patients. Although weight-loss patients are fed the calories appropriate for their ideal target weight, they still need amino acids, fats, vitamins, and minerals for their present weight.”
This can lead to nutritional imbalances and deficiencies, and dogs on the green bean diet may regain the weight they lost as a result of metabolic changes.
Tudor concludes by saying that green beans can be an effective part of a weight-loss diet, as long as you consult with your veterinarian about the best dog food and overall wellness plan to help your dog lose weight.
The Perfect Healthy Treat
If, however, you are just looking for a healthy, low-calorie treat to feed Fido, green beans are an excellent option. As with any treat, try not to exceed 10 percent of your dog’s daily diet, and watch for any signs of stomach upset or allergic reactions.
Check out these other fruits and vegetables to find out which are safe for dogs to eat and which are not.
Health Benefits of Green Beans
Green beans have many nutritional benefits for you and your canine companion. They’re low-calorie treats with high amounts of fiber and many essential nutrients that boost your dog’s immune system and overall health. Here are a few of these nutrients, and what they do for your dog:
Vitamin C, Vitamins A, and beta carotene work alongside flavonols, quercetin, and kaemferol to combat free radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, boost your dog’s immune system, and help fight some cancers.
This essential vitamin helps regulate your dog’s nervous system and metabolism.
This vitamin helps your dog’s blood clot and aids their bone metabolism.
Iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium are trace minerals found in green beans. They work together to support the growth of red blood cells, the formation of healthy bones and teeth, and the smooth functioning of bodily systems.
The fiber in green beans is an insoluble fiber that adds bulk to stools and keeps the digestive system moving. Foods high in fiber can help with weight loss since they keep your dog satisfied for longer after meals.
Foods with high water content are hydrating – and low-calorie – making them ideal for dogs who need to lose weight.
Though green beans are healthy for your dog, they can still pose a choking hazard, or upset your dog’s stomach. They can also cause gas and diarrhea – or vomiting – if your dog eats too many green beans. Your vet will know how much is appropriate for your dog.
Weight Loss and Green Beans
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention states that 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight. Dogs who are overweight can suffer serious health conditions because of the added stress on their bodies and joints.
The first step in helping a dog lose weight is increasing their daily amount of exercise. However, If your dog hasn’t lost weight after you do this, you should schedule a vet check to rule out serious health issues – like hypothyroidism or Cushing’s Disease – before you start any diet for your dog.
Veterinarians have long recommended green beans as a food supplement for weight loss. Dog parents have used the “green bean diet” for years. Some swear by it, while others say their dogs gained the weight back quickly. The premise of this diet is that the high fiber and water content of green beans keep dogs full for longer without providing as many calories as dog food.
To put your dog on a green bean diet, start by replacing 10% of their dog food with green beans. After two or three days, increase the proportion of green beans to 20%. After a few more days, increase the proportion again to 50%. Keep serving your dog a diet of half green beans and half dog food until they reach the desired weight.
Once that weight is off, you can increase the proportion of dog food in their meals to pre-diet levels on a similar timeline. Feed your dog 20% green beans for a few days, then 10% green beans for another few days, and then start feeding them 100% dog food again – calibrated for your dog’s ideal weight, of course.
This diet has worked for many dogs. However, when you replace dog food with green beans, it can lower the number of essential nutrients you feed your dog. Before your dog begins any weight loss plan, consult your vet.
These nutritional deficiencies are the biggest drawback of the green bean diet. Green beans have many healthy nutrients, but dogs need amino acids, fats, vitamins, and minerals as well. If you replace a well-balanced dog food with green beans, your dog’s diet may not have all the nutrients they need for optimum health – which is why, again, you should always talk to your vet before putting your dog on a diet.
Preparing Green Beans for Your Dog
Green beans are most nutritious for your beloved canine when served raw. You can also serve them frozen (my dog’s favorite), boiled, grilled, or steamed, but be aware that the cooking process takes out many of the nutrients.
Dogs tend to gulp down their food and treats. And green beans are large, so you should cut them up into small pieces so they’re not a choking hazard. This is especially important for small dogs.
Additionally, many things we add to green beans when cooking them for ourselves – like seasonings, oils, onions, and garlic (which is toxic to dogs) – can cause stomach upsets, so be sure to serve them plain when feeding green beans to your dog.
Overall, green beans are a healthy treat replacement for high-calorie commercial treats. The low sugar and high fiber content in green beans also make them acceptable for dogs with diabetes.
Plus, they’re portable, so you can take them along when you’re out and about with your pooch. They’re also a hydrating treat for a hot day, not to mention a healthy way to boost your dog’s energy level until dinnertime.
That said, be aware that canned green beans may contain too much salt, which is bad for dogs. If you want to offer your dog canned green beans, make sure they have no added salt.
The best way to serve green beans to your dog is raw or frozen. Because of the aforementioned choking hazard, make sure to cut them up first. Dogs love green beans, so you don’t have to worry about them turning the vegetable down.
Cut up, raw green beans make tasty toppers for your dog’s food. Whether you steam them or offer them raw, your dog will enjoy their crunchy texture.
You can also create a soup for cold weather, by adding green beans, spinach, and sweet potatoes in sodium-free chicken broth. Not only will this slurpy goodness hydrate your dog – it’ll boost their immune system, too.
You can find several tasty dogs treat recipes using green beans on the Internet. Here are a few I found that look interesting:
Doggie Green Bean Crunchies
Cheese and Green Bean Dog Treats
Apple and Green Bean Dog Biscuits
Dehydrated Green Beans
But green beans aren’t the only great snack option for dogs. Look beyond commercial dog treats and check out the many fruits and veggies that can boost your dog’s overall health.
Tips on feeding dogs green beans
Many dogs love frozen green beans as it gives them something to gnaw on. Moreover, frozen beans are a perfect treat for hot summer days. Whether you decide to feed your pup frozen, raw, baked, boiled, steamed, dehydrated, or canned green beans, be sure to remove any stringy ends.
If you feed your dog green beans to help them lose weight, use them as a substitute for treats, not for meals. Work with your veterinarian to come up with a diet that meets your pet’s nutritional needs while also lowering their daily caloric intake.
If your dog isn’t very enthusiastic when it comes to eating green beans, try sneaking them into their diet by combining them with other foods. For instance, you can prepare quick and easy pup popsicles by combining some chopped green beans and plain yogurt. Pour this mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze for your furry friend to enjoy during hot summer days.
Just like any other new food, introduce green beans into your pet’s diet slowly. Giving too many beans too quickly can cause tummy upset, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Pro Tip: Make sure you will be able to give your loved one the best medical care possible by comparing pet insurance plans and finding the provider who fits your needs. It’s best to sign up while your dog is young and before any health concerns arise.
What Other Veggies Can Dogs Eat?
Dogs can eat a variety of vegetables, including carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, cucumbers, potatoes, and celery.
I use carrots a lot, but organic ones. In the beginning, I fastidiously chopped them up into small pieces, as I’m not a big fan of mini carrots. To me, they smell like bleach. However, I soon discovered that all that chopping was a waste of time and probably not as good for their digestion, as they simply wolfed them down without breathing. After that, I started simply washing the carrots with a scrub brush and giving them to my dogs whole.
If they’re organic, the peel isn’t bad for them. The bigger the carrots, the better. It’s a weak substitute for a bone of course, but I don’t give my dogs bones so it makes me feel that I’m giving them some kind of tooth “workout” by allowing them to chew on big carrots. They love them and would eat them by the bag if I let them. I’ve had one of my dogs find them in my travel bag and proceed to eat up the entire stash.
If I want to put carrots in the Kong, I now put them in there in slivered long pieces. They have to work to get them out a bit more and they’re bigger pieces encouraging them to chew and not just inhale. Carrots are great for dogs, just like people, as they are high in fiber and high in vitamins. They are also low in calories, and as I mentioned, great for their teeth.
Broccoli, remarkably, is another great vegetable for your dog as it is loaded with vitamins. It packs a tremendous nutritional boost. However, it can cause digestive problems and should never end up being more than 10% of your dog’s diet.
Pumpkin is another favorite and my dogs love it. It’s a great source of vitamin A as well as fiber. It can be served raw by peeling it like squash or from a can. I buy it in a can (organic) and put it in ice cube trays. I freeze it and then pop it out in pieces and put it in freezer bags. I give them 1 or 2 cubes or tubes and let them chew on ice cubes made of pumpkin. This is one of their favorites and one I think they are addicted to. It’s another great treat on a hot day. Pumpkin is also recommended for dogs having digestive problems of any kind and can be beneficial for curing diarrhea or even preventing it.
Cucumbers are another super vegetable but especially for overweight dogs. Cucumbers can increase energy levels and are high in vitamins K and C as well as B1. They also have great mineral benefits containing potassium, magnesium, and copper.
Potatoes are okay to feed our 4-legged friends, but cooked rather than raw is preferred. Raw potatoes can be hard for them to digest and/or can produce GI distress in dogs.
Celery is another great crunchy snack for dogs. One of mine loves it and the other hates it. It is probably too bland for her tastes. I like to give celery as it is super low in calories and provides another chewing opportunity. I give sweet potato pieces as well. Squash is okay for dogs but they do recommend cooking that a bit first.
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