Lentils are a healthy legume that has excellent nutritional values. They are a trendy food that is easy to prepare and can be added to a wide range of salads, soups, and main courses. With their high nutritional content, eating lentils is a simple yet tasty way to get the necessary minerals, vitamins, and proteins. But can dogs eat them, are they good for them?
If you are wondering “can I give lentils to my dog” then the answer is Yes, dogs can eat them in relative safety, while also reaping some benefits. However, it is necessary to make some clarifications on the consumption of lentils by dogs, and we will explain them below.
In this article, we will take a look at the nutritional values of these legumes, their safe consumption by our furry friends, what are its benefits, and their advice on their intake in different forms or quantities.
What are lentils?
Lentils belong to the legume family and have high amounts of fiber and protein. They come in numerous colors, including green, brown, red, and black, and are shaped like tiny peas.
They are easy to prepare and cook and are quite inexpensive, making them a low-cost source of protein available to everyone in the world.
Lentils have become the number one nutritional choice for those who eat healthy, thanks to their potential health benefits. But can dogs eat them just like us? Is it okay for them to consume them regularly? Is their use in any form without danger?
So, can dogs eat them safely? Yes, lentils are relatively harmless to pooch’s health and provide extra nutrition in their diet. However, some may experience mild gastrointestinal upset after taking them due to their high fiber content.
Lentils, indeed, legumes in general, are known to have a typical high content of protein and fiber, for example:
- 230 calories
- 18 g protein
- 16 g fibers
- 40 g carbohydrates
- Folic acid
- Vitamins B1, B3, B5, and B6
While lentils are not associated with huge health benefits, as is the case with pumpkin seeds, most legumes do have some, as research has shown:
- Lentils can reduce the cholesterol level
- Lentils can reduce the risk of heart disease
- Lentils reduce blood pressure
- Lentils can contribute to weight loss.
But can dogs also eat them? Is it true that they are especially good for their digestion thanks to the high fiber content? Yes and no. Although many studies are based on human trials, there is also evidence on digestibility and its effects on little dogs.
The digestibility of lentils in dogs
For example, a study in 36 dogs looked at six different sources of starch, including lentils. The results show that of these six, rice and cassava are the most digestible by dogs, followed by corn and sorghum. Lentils and peas, on the other hand, have the lowest digestibility rate.
Another research was then conducted on dogs and people for similar factors. It has been found that lentils clearly slow down the digestion process of puppies, the more the amount of such legumes increases, the slower the digestion.
This means that if your dog takes too much, it could cause gastrointestinal problems and stomach discomfort. In addition, an excessive amount of lentils could cause diarrhea, as well as possible constipation.
Lecithin in lentils
A study revealed how raw lentils and all legumes, in general, contain very high amounts of lecithin, a group of glycoproteins. Technically, lecithins can cause intestinal absorption and produce toxicity via the growth of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
However, before you get indignant, it is important to point out that in order to cause these side effects of lecithins from lentils, you need to give the dog very large quantities. In addition, lecithins can be reduced by up to 200% by cooking them.
In this way, it is advisable to always cook lentils when feeding them to dogs. Research has shown that boiled or steamed lentils, similar to other legumes, have a very low concentration of lecithins. Slow cooking is not recommended.
That said, can dogs eat lentils? Are they good for them if they are prepared correctly? Is it safe to feed them in moderate amounts when boiled or steamed?
4 Four beneficial effects of lentils in dogs
1. They could help diabetic dogs.
Unfortunately, some dogs suffer from diabetes, but adding lentils to their diet can help manage the condition better. These beans are low in sugar and, combined with their nutritional content, are ideally the perfect food to include in their diet.
The fibers and proteins contained in lentils help to rid the digestive tract of toxins, helping the furry friend to live better and longer. Your vet can advise you on the appropriate amount of these legumes to add to a diabetic dog’s diet.
2. They are an excellent source of energy for dogs.
Lentils are an excellent source of iron which gives your dog the energy needed to be happy, healthy, and active on a daily basis. Little dogs need a high level of iron to make blood.
By itself, iron is a fundamental building block of hemoglobin and is involved in the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the cells of the body. Hence, iron gives a strong boost to the metabolism and produces energy.
3. They are a superfood that can help improve your dog’s health
lentils can be considered a superfood in many respects. There are many characteristics that can help extend your dog’s life expectancy:
- High levels of fiber which contribute to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- The leveling of blood sugar after a meal.
- They are low in fat and calories.
4. They can prevent some diseases
Lentils contain an essential and antioxidant mineral called selenium. This element is found in most foods, reduces the growth of tumors, improves the immune system response, and prevents inflammation.
Selenium also contributes to the function of enzymes in the liver, particularly by detoxifying carcinogenic compounds. In addition, the fibers contained in lentils can reduce the possibility of colon cancer.
Bottom line, can dogs eat lentils and enjoy the benefits?
You can undoubtedly give lentils to your dog and if in small quantities, their consumption by dogs is harmless. Unfortunately, it is better to cook them (boil them) to improve their digestibility and decrease the dose of lecithins present.
Being an inexpensive source of fiber and protein, lentils can become a staple of the diet. But can they somehow be harmful to your four-legged friends?
3 potential side effects of lentils for dogs
The question is, are lentils bad for dogs if prepared in a certain way or given in certain quantities? The fact is, although lentils are harmless food for dogs in general, there are some things about them that you should know and watch out for.
1. Consuming them can create flatulence and stomach upset in dogs
Some legumes, including lentils, cause dogs to experience flatulence and discomfort. Although they are less likely to create air than other beans, thanks to their high digestibility, each dog responds in its own way to this food.
Flatulence can be followed by diarrhea and stomach discomfort, so be sure to introduce lentils gradually and in small quantities. Then observe your dog’s reaction before adding more to Its diet.
2. Commercial lentils may contain added salts and seasonings
If you want to give your dog some lentils, then buy organic ones and prepare them thoroughly. Many types of store-bought lentils have additional and very dangerous additives that dogs should definitely not ingest.
High levels of sodium over time can cause salt toxicity, while some condiments may not blend well with your puppy’s tummy.
3. Lentil soup is a potential danger to your dog
These beans are used frequently in many soups but you should never feed them to your furry friend. Often, canned or homemade soups contain garlic or onion, and such members of the Allium family are toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of certain plants can cause the puppy to become anemic and, in the worst cases, cause coma or death.
Give your dog natural, unsalted, cooked lentils. Do not give them any legumes combined with other mysterious ingredients, for example in soups.
Bottom Line, Can Dogs Eat Lentils Safely? Are they good for them? Yes, you can give lentils to your four-legged friends and this could bring them some benefits, although they have not yet been proven. Remember that, thanks to the high fiber content, they could cause flatulence or stomach discomfort.
Can lentils pose any risks? Technically not. Lentils are not bad for dogs, provided they are natural and cooked. This way, your pooch gets a good dose of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Remember to introduce these legumes slowly into your diet, to limit any stomach upset.
This article is purely informative, at Shelterapet we do not have the right to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We encourage you to take your pet to the vet in case It has any kind of discomfort.