We know that the more green veggies we include in our own diets the better, but what about our dogs’ diets? Green beans, which offer plenty of vitamins A, K, and C, plus fiber and folate, are a great part of any diet—and as it turns out, the same is as true for our pups as it is for us!
The Benefits of Green Beans for Dogs
Veterinarians have been recommending green beans for years as a safe and healthy snack for dogs. That’s because on top of being full of all that good-for-you nutrition, green beans are also incredibly low in calories, and have a crunchy texture and slightly sweet flavor that most dogs really enjoy. Whether your dog needs to lose some weight and you’re looking for an alternative to refined, calorie-laden biscuits, or you’re just looking for some more unique ways to sneak healthy foods into your furry friend’s diet, green beans are an excellent choice.
As with any human food that you feed your dog, it’s important to put safety first. If your dog has never had green beans before, introduce them slowly and keep a close eye out to ensure all goes well. The high fiber content in these green veggies can be less than ideal for dogs with already-sensitive stomachs (though may actually be quite beneficial for those with gastrointestinal or bowel issues). The key here is to take your time introducing green beans, and to take your dog’s lead with how you proceed. If they don’t like them or don’t respond well, there’s no reason to force it.
What About the “Green Bean Diet”?
Fad diets aren’t relegated to the human world. You may heard about the Green Bean Diet for dogs, which involves swapping out 10% of your dog’s traditional diet for green beans and gradually increasing up to 50%. The idea is that this will aid in quick weight loss for overweight dogs, particularly those who have struggled to lose weight through other methods.
What’s the verdict, then? As with any trendy, restriction-heavy diet, it’s not going to be a solution for long term weight loss—and it may even be detrimental to your dog’s health. While green beans do offer plenty of key vitamins and minerals, they’re lacking in many of the essential nutrients that make up a balanced doggie diet, including protein, and could lead to some serious nutritional deficiencies for your dog. It’s also unsustainable; as soon as you go back to feeding your dog their proper diet they’re almost certainly going to gain the weight back.
How to Feed Green Beans to Your Dog
Now that we’ve hopefully put to bed the idea of feeding your dog lots of green beans in their diet, let’s look at some ways you can give them some of the good stuff without going overboard.
To start, make sure to only give your dog plain green beans. Salt, sugar, and other spices can irritate your pup’s tummy and lead to digestive issues. Keeping that in mind, you can feed your dog canned, steamed, boiled, baked, dehydrated, or raw green beans. In all instances, trim off any stringy ends, and cut each green bean into a bite-sized piece appropriate for your dog before feeding. Many local pet health food stores sell pre-made green bean treats as well, if you’d rather just grab ‘em and go.
If you’re feeding your dog greens beans for weight loss, use it as a substitute for treats, instead of a substitute for all or a portion of meals. And since low-calorie snacks alone aren’t usually going to be enough to aid in weight loss, make sure that you bolster your efforts by offering your dog plenty of exercise. Work with your vet as well to come up with an every day diet that meets your dog’s nutritional needs while also reducing their daily caloric intake.
Other Ways to Feed Your Dog Green Beans
If your dog is wary about eating a green bean on its own, try sneaking it into their diet in another format. For example, mix canned green beans into your favorite homemade treat recipe, or chop them up, mix them with plain yogurt, and freeze in an ice cube tray for quick and easy pupsicles.
However you choose to feed them, chances are high that your dog will enjoy the addition of green beans to their treat rotation.