Lentils are a healthy super-food that that boast lots of nutrition for us humans. Lentil recipes have become very popular in cafes and on recipe sites. Humans enjoy adding them to soup and salads. They add a funky twist to tradition meals like tacos, pasta, and casseroles.
The flavor of lentils is buttery, nutty, and very mild. The protein, vitamins and minerals lentils deliver are beneficial. There’s no debate whether these little guys are good for us. The big question is, “If it’s good for me are lentils good for my dog?”
There are two schools of thought on whether you can feed your dog lentils. On one side of the debate, many will tell you that lentils are a great source of protein and fiber to add to your pup’s diet. On the other hand, some report that it’s those same proteins and fiber that are harmful to your dog’s health.
In this article, we will outline both sides of the question. You can then decide for yourself if you can give lentils to your dog.
Yes, You Can Feed Your Dog Lentils
Lentils are little legumes that have healthy amounts of iron, fiber and protein. Lentils are also lower in calories that other treats. The prebiotics found in lentils nurture intestinal health in your dog’s digestive system.
The fiber makes your dog feel full longer. The protein builds strong muscles. The iron keeps blood healthy and provides energy your dog can use for play. Lentils can lower both cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
Is your dog’s menu shelf-stable (canned or bagged) foods? Whole foods add fresh ingredients and live enzymes your pet needs. The enzymes in fresh foods help your dog to absorb more nutrients from all foods.
3 Reasons To Never Give Your Dog Lentils
- Lentils contain phytates. Phytates can grab up minerals like calcium or iron and pull them out of the body so they can’t be used. We humans have an enzyme in us that can break these phytates down. Dogs don’t have that enzyme. This could lead to mineral deficiencies in dogs.
- Lentils contain proteins called lectins. Lectins stick to intestinal linings as contribute to leaky gut syndrome. In nature, a bird eats a lentil and the lectins upset the bird’s system. The bird will poop the seed out, planting a new bush. This is nothing you want from your dog!
- The fiber in lentils can slow down the process of digestion, leading to a build-up of gas, or even diarrhea.
Should I Feed My Dog Lentils?
Lentils are delicious. They are great for people, but dogs aren’t build 100% like people. Lentils are seeds from inside of a pod found on a bushy vine. They are not a natural food that your dog would forage in the wild. Your dog’s body never evolved to eat beans or seeds.
Some people, though, might want to lower the amounts of animal meat they serve their pets. Maybe you cook lentils for yourself and want to share. Maybe you want to use lentils to supplement your dog’s regular diet.
Have you have made the decision to give your dog lentils? Here are some tips and tricks to prepare lentils so they are healthier for your pup.
- Rinse lentils several times before cooking them. This removes some of the lectins.
- Cook lentils completely before serving them to make them easier to digest.
- Keep lentils plain. Dogs like the taste of whole foods. Your dog should never get used to salt or other seasonings that can be harmful to them.
- Never feed your dog onion or garlic. They are poison to dogs.
- Feed your dog very small amounts of lentils at first. Watch for signs of allergy or upset stomach.
- Add lentils to the food your dog already eats.
Bonus – Try Sprouting Lentils For Your Dog
Sprouting well-rinsed lentils is magical. It converts them from a little dry bean to a living green vegetable your dog will love. Sprouting increases the levels of the prebiotics and enzymes we already discussed. It increases the levels of vitamins as well. Sprouting adds extra hydration to the lentils and munching on them can freshen your dog’s breath!
So now you have some facts and extra information about whether you can give your dog lentils. You might decide to try a small addition or to let it go completely. There are lots of fresh whole foods out there that will benefit your pup You are a loving human for just looking into the subject.