Are you concerned that there are lentils listed in your dog food ingredients? Or are you wondering if you can feed your dog lentils separately? This article will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of lentils so you can decide if it is something you want to feed your dog.
Did you know that lentils have been around for approximately 60,000 years? Some people have never heard of or eaten this little legume. They were introduced to the Americas in the early 16th century and have gained popularity in the United States because of their nutritional value. You will see lentils frequently added to grain-free dog food to add fiber and other nutrients.
Can Dogs Eat Lentils?
Yes, dogs can eat lentils. In fact, it is not uncommon for a veterinarian to recommend lentils as a way to add fiber to your dog’s diet. Lentils can come in different colors and sizes. The best lentils for dogs are the split yellow lentils and split red lentils because they are the easiest to digest.
When you cook these lentils, they become soft and mushy so they are easy for your dog to consume. In that respect, you do not want to give your dog raw lentils. Lentils are used in commercial dog food as a filler that contains nutrients, compared to corn, which doesn’t provide many nutrients when used.
When Are Lentils Bad for Dogs?
Do not feed your dog raw lentils because they are too difficult to eat. When you cook a lentil, they become soft and are easier to digest. Since a dog has a shorter digestive tract, they may experience gas, diarrhea, and upset stomach easier if fed a large number of lentils at once.
Don’t feed your dog lentils that are seasoned or part of a soup or casserole. Your dog doesn’t need the salt and spices that are added to these foods, and they will most likely experience gastrointestinal upset.
Some veterinarians recommend that you do not feed your dog lentils because they contain phytates and lectins. Phytates can be difficult for carnivores to break down because they lack the needed enzyme to do so, and lectins are a protein that can cause digestive concerns when eaten in high quantities. Before you feed your dog lentils, discuss with your veterinarian what they recommend.
When Are Lentils Good for Dogs?
Lentils are legumes commonly used as grain substitutes because they are full of fiber and protein. Lentils shouldn’t take the place of the primary protein in your dogs’ food, but they can be a way to complement the other ingredients if they are used in small amounts.
Lentils also contain essential vitamins and minerals and are commonly used as a meat replacement for vegetarians and vegans. They are high in potassium, folate, iron, thiamine, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. As mentioned, they are high in fiber, which is great for the digestive tract and can help with constipation or diarrhea issues your dog may be suffering from.
Puppies and Lentils
Pay attention when feeding your puppy lentils for the first time, as you only want to feed a small amount. Only do this if your veterinarian recommends that you feed legumes to your puppy. Puppies can suffer from digestive troubles easier than an adult dog, so you don’t want to cause your pup to feel ill and suffer from diarrhea.
How to Feed Lentils to Your Dog
Lentils are hard-like beans before they are cooked. They are easy to prepare, though, and the red and yellow lentils that are the most ideal for dogs cook fast. Once they are cooked, they tend to break apart and are now easy for your dog to eat and digest.
Don’t add any salt, sugar, or other seasonings to the lentils. Feeding them plain is the best, even though they are bland. But once you add them to your dog’s food, they will blend well with the other ingredients.
Lentils are not toxic to dogs and can be fed in moderation. However, it is best to get the go-ahead from your veterinarian before feeding your dog lentils, especially if you want to do this as part of their regular diet. Some dogs will tolerate lentils more than others because every dog is different, but red and yellow lentils are the best for dogs because they break down when cooked, so they are easier to digest.
It can be confusing to know what is healthy and ideal to feed your dog because of conflicting reports. We know that dog owners want to provide the best for their canine friends. If you do your research and include your vet in your decision, then you will find the most appropriate choice for your dog.
Featured image credit: congerdesign, Pixabay
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.