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Can Dogs Eat Beans? 

bowl of beans

Yes, most types of beans are considered safe for dogs to consume in small amounts when they’ve been properly cooked and prepared. However, you should always consult your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your dog’s diet—and that includes beans. Beans are legumes and they can be found in commercially available dog food. While they offer health benefits, it’s important to remember that beans should be considered an occasional treat, not a staple part of your dog’s regular diet. All treats combined should make up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily calories, otherwise there is a risk of nutritional imbalances.

As a pet parent, it’s normal to ask questions like, “Can dogs eat black beans?” or “Can dogs eat pinto beans?” Here’s a list of some beans that are appropriate to serve dogs when cooked without any potentially toxic ingredients such as onions or garlic, or ingredients that may be too much for their diet such as salt.  

  • Black beans  

  • Pinto beans  

  • Kidney beans  

  • Garbanzo beans  

  • Soybeans  

  • Lima beans/Butter beans  

  • Lentils  

If beans are part of your regular diet and your dog begs for them, you may wonder, “Can dogs eat beans?” When plainly cooked, the beans listed above are typically considered safe for dogs to eat, but there are some techniques and precautions to keep in mind. Your dog should get all the nutrition they need from a high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog food. Beans also need to be cooked and prepared in specific ways to help avoid gastrointestinal upset and/or toxicity from added ingredients. Additionally, there are some beans that you should avoid giving your dog altogether, including fava beans and all canned beans. Canned beans contain a lot of sodium and preservatives that aren't good for a dog's digestive system.  

Health benefits of beans for dogs 

Beans are full of protein, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. These legumes have a low glycemic index, meaning they don’t raise blood sugar quickly when you eat them.  The high fiber content in beans helps slow the digestive process and stabilize blood sugar levels.   

Beans are full of other nutrients, too.  

  • Antioxidants May help reduce inflammatory tissue damage associated with type 2 diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and cancer

  • Iron is incorporated into red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your pet’s body  

  • Magnesium  Supports enzyme reactions in the body, including those that synthesize protein, contract muscles, regulate blood sugar and control blood pressure 

  • Potassium An electrolyte that supports bone, muscle and nerve health  

  • Protein Provides vital amino acids to build lean muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, skin and hair  

  • Vitamin A Promotes eye and heart health  

  • Vitamin C Helps boost the immune system  

With all of that said, beans aren’t essential for your dog’s diet. Your pet already gets everything they need from their regular, high quality nutirtious dog food. The high protein paired with high fiber content also comes with potential risks. Like humans, dogs can get gassy or experience diarrhea if they eat too many beans. Moderation is key for any type of food you feed your pet. Portions should only ever be treat sized and you should always start with an even smaller amount than what you think your dog might enjoy. You’ll also need to monitor your pup for signs of gastrointestinal upset. If your dog experiences no gastrointestinal upset after trying beans, they can be offered as an occasional treat in small amounts.   

How to feed beans to your dog 

Consult your veterinarian for approval before adding beans to your dog’s treat rotation. If your veterinarian gives you the OK, make sure you follow proper instructions. Never feed raw or seasoned beans to your dog as they can be harmful.

If you’re starting with raw beans, soak them overnight before cooking. Once cooked, mash them up. Dogs can eat too quickly—especially when trying new foods—and a mashed version might slow them down. Spices can cause gastrointestinal issues, like bloating and gas, and we’ve already established that ingredients like onions, garlic and excessive salt can be toxic.  

Can dogs eat refried beans or other beans from a can? Your dog should pass on canned and refried beans because they are typically high in sodium and preservatives and might also contain unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients for your canine companion. Avoid baked, refried or chili beans because the added ingredients can be dangerous for dogs.  

Featured Dog Food and Treats with Beans 

FAQs about feeding your dog beans 

None of them. Raw beans contain phytohemagglutinin—often referred to as lectin—a protein that is known to be toxic to dogs. Washing and cooking the beans removes enough of the toxin so dogs can enjoy small portions of plain, cooked beans.  

Now that you know some beans are OK, you might be wondering which ones aren’t. Here is a list of beans that your dog shouldn’t consume. 

  • Fava beans 
  • Refried beans 
  • Baked beans 
  • Chili beans 

In addition, don’t prepare beans with salt, garlic, onion, tomatoes, preservatives or any other toxic ingredients if you’re planning on sharing them with your dog.   

Canned beans tend to have a high sodium content and may contain dangerous/toxic ingredients for dogs. However, canned beans in water without any extra ingredients are ok for your dog. While refried beans are a staple of Mexican food dishes and some people think that a Fourth of July barbeque just isn’t the same without baked beans, you should avoid giving them to your pup. If you love these types of canned beans, you may wonder, “Can dogs eat refried beans?” or “Can dogs eat baked beans?” The answer is no.  

While many humans love salt, spices and preservatives, they’re not suitable for dogs. When dogs overeat salt, they can suffer from dehydration and sodium ion poisoning. Refried, baked and chili beans also contain other ingredients toxic to dogs, such as garlic and onions. Baked beans have high sugar content, which may increase the risk of upset stomach and obesity.  

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Reviewed by Petco’s Animal Care, Education and Compliance (ACE) Team

Petco’s ACE team is a passionate group of experienced pet care experts dedicated to supporting the overall health & wellness of pets. The ACE team works to develop animal care operations and standards across the organization and promote proper animal care and education for Pet Care Center partners and pet parents, while also ensuring regulatory compliance.