Every loving dog owner wants the best for their dogs, and often it can be confusing to find out what the best is. This is never more apparent than when it comes to diets and treats. If you’re wondering whether your dog can eat chickpeas, then we’re going to investigate this and explore any alternatives.
From the moment you bring your puppy home, you want to make sure that you’re doing right by that dog. With so much information out there, from strategies to stop a puppy biting to training a particular breed, the internet can be a convenient place to learn.
The internet can also be a confusing place, where one website may tell you one thing, another could say something different. The canine dietary experts here at Canine Weekly will answer all the questions you may have on the topic of feeding chickpeas to a dog with information you can trust.
Can Dogs Eat Chickpeas? Get The Facts Here
It is widely known that beans have many health benefits for humans as they contain potassium, magnesium, iron, and B-Vitamins. Beans can also be a great source of fiber, protein, antioxidants and can even regulate blood sugars. However, beans vary, and not all of them are safe for your puppy.
The good news is that chickpeas are a safe human food for your dog, and they’re even used in many dog foods, such as Nutrisca, Natural Balance, and Nulo, as a main ingredient. For around the last 10 years, pet food manufacturers have made a substantial movement towards grain-free dog food.
Much of this was ignited due to the 2007 pet-food contamination tragedy, but grains have since been found to be a safe food for most dogs. Grains don’t necessarily need to be avoided to feed your dog a nutritional and safe diet, but grain-free foods can have a higher level of healthy ingredients, such as chickpeas.
Chickpeas are present in around 11.5% of dog food recipes analyzed by The Pet Food Industry. The chickpea ratio is much less than other vegetarian ingredients, like rice, but it is still significant. Before you decide whether chickpeas are enough to base your dog food decisions on, let’s explore their nutritional benefits.
The Nutritional Facts About Chickpeas – and What They Mean for Your Dog
Below we have broken down the nutritional value of one cup of cooked chickpeas:
- 4g Fat
- 13g Dietary Fiber
- 15g Protein
- 45g Carbohydrates
Looking at the nutrition, it is clear that chickpeas provide a high portion of fiber, protein, and carbohydrates while being low in fat. Now, we’re going to look into these factors more thoroughly.
The Protein Content of Chickpeas
In comparison to many other vegetables or plant ingredients, chickpeas are a dense source of protein. Protein is vital for a dog’s health, particularly for cell and muscle growth and a healthy immune system.
It depends on a dog’s age how much protein they need to be getting. A growing puppy needs more protein than an adult dog. For a pup, protein should provide 20-25% of his dietary calories, for an adult dog this should be 18-25%.
The Fat Content of Chickpeas
Chickpeas are very low in fat, which means that dog foods with a higher proportion of chickpeas can be great for overweight dogs or low energy breeds that can be more prone to obesity, such as Bulldogs, Mastiffs, and Labradors.
They do, however, contain a fatty acid known as Lecithin. Lecithin is a good thing and an essential part of cell production; it can also help to aid digestion, improve heart health and help to lower cholesterol.
The Fiber Content of Chickpeas
Chickpeas provide very high dietary fiber, and it’s mostly insoluble (75%) which makes chickpeas great for gut health in dogs. Insoluble fiber remains undigested until it reaches the colon where it is metabolized by the colons bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids.
These fatty acids feed the cells that line the intestine walls and reduce the risk of colon-related issues. Fiber is crucial for a healthy dog and a nutritional component that shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Vitamin and Mineral Contents of Chickpeas
The number one mineral that chickpeas can provide is potassium. Potassium is essential for kidney function, blood pressure, muscle nerves, and a healthy heart. In addition to this, other vitamins and minerals include:
- Magnesium – which is good for dogs’ cells, bones and can even help to prevent diabetes.
- Copper – this helps with the production and storage of iron, which is vital for producing red blood cells.
- Folate – vital for DNA production.
- Iron – crucial for a dog’s body to perform the required normal functions.
- Vitamin A – which sustains healthy eyes.
- Vitamin B – plays a vital role in maintaining overall good health as well as having a direct impact on cell metabolism, brain function, and energy levels. It can also prevent many infections.
- Vitamin C – provides antioxidants that could delay or even prevent cell damage.
Chickpeas provide an extensive range of vitamins and minerals overall. However, the levels aren’t enormous. Let’s look into similar ingredients and alternatives to chickpeas.
How to Feed Chickpeas to a Dog
To keep your four-legged friend healthy and happy when feeding them chickpeas, here are a few things to avoid:
- Moderation is key – any bean variety should be fed in moderation to reduce gas in dogs and aid constipation.
- Always ensure that you wash and cook chickpeas before giving them to your dog; this is the same for all other bean types apart from green beans, which can be fed raw.
- Don’t give baked beans as an alternative to chickpeas; they’re high in sugar and often seasoned with garlic or onions, none of which are good things for dogs.
- Avoid canned beans altogether unless you have carefully read through all of the ingredients and are sure that there aren’t any harmful components lurking, such as seasonings.
Some Alternatives to Chickpeas for Your Dog
Cooked beans have various vitamins and minerals which could benefit your dog. Beans can be cheap, healthy treats or the basis of nutritious homemade dog foods. Here are some safe, healthy beans you could introduce into your dog’s diet safely:
Pinto beans are a plant-based protein are packed with cholesterol-lowering fiber and rich in magnesium. If you were to pair pinto beans with brown rice you would have a virtually fat-free, high-protein basis for a nutritionally balanced meal – just add meat.
If you want to explore homemade cooking for your dog further, we can recommend the Canine cuisine natural recipes book as a great starting point.
Black beans are loaded with fiber and protein and an excellent source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Black beans can be purchased dried to be added to a dog’s meal or you can cook them plainly – with no seasoning, herbs, or spices.
Kidney beans can help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and can even prevent diseases as they contain high levels of antioxidants. However, in raw form kidney beans contain a toxin that is extremely dangerous to dogs and other pets so it is essential you cook them first.
Soy is a common dog food ingredient so it is safe for a dog to eat. However, soy in every form isn’t good for a dog and some dogs can even be allergic to soy so feed with caution and monitor your dog if you choose to try them with soybeans.
The winner of the chickpea alternative is the green bean. Canned, raw, steamed, or chopped it’s a bean safe in any form and even veterinarian recommended as a healthy treat. Green beans are packed with important minerals and vitamins, like calcium, protein, iron, and vitamins A, B6, C, and K.
Green beans are low in calories and high in fiber. If a dog is eating a complete and balanced diet it isn’t essential to add in green beans for their nutrients but they’re a brilliant alternative to commercial dog treats.
The Verdict – Can Dogs Eat Chickpeas?
In short, yes dogs can safely eat chickpeas. Chickpeas are a nutritious ingredient with a good nutritional profile. They’re not the greatest bean out there for health benefits, but they’re also not the worst. Chickpeas are the basis of many natural puppy treats and well received by consumers who rate them easy on the tummy and good for food-orientated hounds!
Chickpeas are found in many natural dog food brands and an increasingly common ingredient for all pet foods and treats. You can cook chickpeas plainly to give as a healthy dog treat or to add to your dog’s meal, but you must avoid seasonings, spices, and other ingredients such as garlic or onions.