Can Dogs Eat Pinto Beans? – Are They Safe for Dogs?

Can your dog eat pinto beans? The short answer is yes! Pinto beans are a great source of protein for your pooch. They are also high in fiber and will aid in your dog’s digestion. But before you rush out to purchase bags of pinto beans for your pooch to feast on, there are a few things to take into consideration.

While pinto beans have definite health benefits for your dog, the key is moderation. Too much of a good thing can quickly become harmful, especially in animals. Remember that although they are perfectly fine, even beneficial, for your dog to eat, pinto beans are not a part of their natural diet, so there are things to be aware of.

divider 9

What Are Pinto Beans?

Pinto beans are medium-sized beans with a brown, mottled exterior when raw. After they’ve been cooked, they are soft and creamy with a distinctive buttery flavor. They are often described as nuttier in flavor and tastier than most other beans, and they are an affordable and easy-to-prepare option to add to your pooch’s diet.

Health Benefits of Pinto Beans

Pintos are an extremely nutritious variety of bean, with several health benefits. They are also completely non-toxic and have a host of beneficial vitamins and nutrients. Key benefits include:

  • Protein is an essential component of your dog’s diet, as it contributes to the overall health of their coat and skin and muscle development,      and it provides them with abundant energy. Pintos contain around 15 grams of protein per cup.
  •  Pintos contain 15 grams of fiber per cup, and fiber is an essential aid in digestion, promotes heart health, and gives your pooch a healthy gut.
  • Low in fat and cholesterol. Pintos are low in cholesterol and fat, making them ideal for dogs with weight issues, and they may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • Pinto beans are rich in antioxidants, which will help slow the aging process and boost your dog’s immune system.
  • Pinto beans are inexpensive and easy to prepare, making them a cheap and convenient addition to your dog’s diet.

Keep in mind that these health benefits come from whole, home-cooked pinto beans. Canned pinto beans can often contain added preservatives, salt, and even sugar, which can be harmful to your dog’s health. If canned beans are all you have access to, giving them a thorough rinse will help reduce the added ingredients.

dog eating
Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Health Concerns of Pinto Beans

While pinto beans are non-toxic and are perfectly fine to give your pooch, there are a few concerns to be aware of. Firstly, moderation is key, and feeding them too much can become a problem. Health issues to take into consideration include:

  • While pintos contain a host of beneficial vitamins and minerals, they are also high in calories. Unless you have a large and high-energy dog, you’ll need to pay careful attention to their caloric intake to prevent weight issues and obesity.
  • Gas and bloating. Most beans and legumes, including pintos, are notorious for causing gas and bloating when eaten in excess. This is because their skins contain unabsorbed short-chain carbohydrates like galacto-oligosaccharides and fructans. These sugars are poorly absorbed in the digestive system, and your pooch’ s gut bacteria quickly attempt to take care of them via fermentation. This fermentation results in gas and bloating that can sometimes be painful for your dog.
  • While it may seem counterintuitive, excess fiber can cause constipation in your pooch. Fibrous bulk in your dog’s digestive system attracts water, and if they are not adequately hydrated, this can cause compaction and constipation.

Almost all the health concerns with eating pinto beans can largely be mitigated by not feeding them to your dog in excess and by thoroughly cooking them first. Soaking them in hot water before cooking and then discarding the excess water will also help reduce these symptoms. You should never give your dog raw pinto beans, or any other raw beans, for that matter. Raw beans contain lectins that can be harmful to your pooch. While pinto beans are a great source of protein, they should not be the only source of protein your dog has access to.

Preparing Pinto Beans

Now that you know pinto beans are not only safe for your dog but also have a host of benefits, you may be wondering the best way to add them to your dog’s diet. We recommend no more than a couple of tablespoons every few days, depending on your dog’s size. A good rough guide is around 5-10% of their weekly food intake. Any more than this may start causing complications.

We recommend adding pintos to your dog’s existing dry or wet food a few times a week, giving them small amounts at first. Your dog may not enjoy or tolerate them well,  so starting slow will give you a good indication of any potential reactions. These beans need to be thoroughly rinsed and cooked before serving, and they will usually take around 2-3 hours to cook through completely. You can dramatically speed the cooking process by soaking the beans overnight.

close up pinto beans
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Other Beneficial Beans

If your dog enjoys and tolerates pinto beans, you might consider other beans that are also beneficial to your pooch. As always, these should all be thoroughly rinsed and cooked before serving.

  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Soybeans
  • Green beans
  • Butter beans
  • Lima beans

Divider 5

Conclusion

Not only are pinto beans perfectly safe for dogs to eat, but they can provide your pooch with a host of nutritional benefits too. They contain high amounts of protein and fiber, essential components to your dog’s healthy and balanced diet. They also have several minerals and vitamins that are beneficial to your dog’s diet. Not only that, but they are easy and quick to prepare and are an inexpensive addition to your dog’s food.

As long as they are properly cleaned and cooked, the only downsides to pinto beans are when they are given in excess. This can result in gas, bloating, and even diarrhea, but given in moderation, they will be perfectly fine for your dog’s digestion.

To conclude, yes, your dog can eat pinto beans, and they will make a nutritious and inexpensive addition to your dog’s regular diet!


Featured Image: Public Domain Pictures