Made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and spices, hummus is a common dish in the Middle East and Mediterranean. Today it’s popular in the United States. You can usually find it in grocery stores. Is it safe to offer hummus to your dog? Find out below.
In the Middle East, hummus is often eaten as a dip, with pita bread. In North America, where hummus is often produced commercially, many people eat it as a snack or appetizer. It is sometimes served with crackers or a flatbread such as pita.
Since it is produced commercially in the U.S., hummus comes in many different flavors, though it’s still basically cooked, mashed chickpeas and tahini. (Tahini is a toasted sesame seed paste.)
The chickpeas in hummus are high in dietary fiber, protein, vitamin B6, and manganese. It’s also high in copper, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. The nutritional content of hummus will vary, depending on other ingredients added. Basic hummus has about 166 calories per 100 grams (3.5 ounces).
That serving size of 100 grams contains about 9.6 grams of fat, 7.9 grams of protein, and 14.3 grams of carbohydrates. It also has about 6 grams of fiber.
The fat content in hummus comes mostly from the tahini and olive oil used. It can be about 14 percent fat; 17 percent carbohydrates; and 10 percent protein.
Hummus is considered to be a good source of plant protein, especially for vegetarians.
Hummus may provide some health benefits. The olive oil in hummus is thought to be anti-inflammatory. It contains the antioxidant oleocanthal which is an anti-inflammatory. The sesame seeds in tahini may also be anti-inflammatory.
Since it’s high in fiber, the dietary fiber in hummus may be good for your digestive health. It might help keep you regular. It can also help feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Some of the fiber in hummus may be linked to a lower risk of colon cancer.
Hummus is also low on the glycemic index so it may help regulate your blood sugar levels. The chickpeas in hummus are rich in protein, resistant starch, and antinutrients. They can slow the digestion of carbohydrates. Hummus is also a good source of soluble fiber and healthy fats.
Hummus contains heart-healthy ingredients that might help reduce heart disease. The olive oil in hummus is a source of fats that are good for your heart. The chickpeas in hummus appear to help lower “bad” cholesterol.
Plus, the dietary fiber in hummus may help curb your appetite, helping people lose weight. Hummus is also naturally gluten-free and free of dairy and nuts so it’s unlikely to trigger allergies.
On the down side, if you have any sensitive digestive issues, the chickpeas in hummus may lead to some gassiness and bloating. This is due to a sugar or carb in chickpeas (and some vegetables) called raffinose. Not everyone digests hummus well. This problem is more likely to occur if you eat too much hummus.
Can you give your dog hummus to eat?
That depends on the hummus. A lot of hummus is made using garlic and other spices, some of which can be problematic for your dog.
Chickpeas and tahini, the main ingredients in hummus, should not pose any problem for most dogs. In fact, many dog foods add chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in grain-free dog foods – sometimes in high amounts.
The problem for your dog is the other ingredients that might be added to the recipe.
We looked at the Sabra site, since they make so many kinds of hummus. These are the ingredients in their Classic Hummus:
Cooked Chickpeas, Water, Tahini (Ground Sesame), NonGMO Soybean Oil, Garlic, Salt, Non GMO Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate Added to Maintain Freshness
In fact, every kind of Sabra hummus we check contained garlic. Many contained other spices which would be bad for your dog, too.
So, if you would like to give your dog some hummus, you will probably need to make it yourself. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to make at home. You can just follow a regular hummus recipe and leave out the garlic.
All of these ingredients are available in grocery stores in most medium and larger cities.
- 2 cups of canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 1/3 cup of tahini
- ¼ cup of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- (OMIT 2 cloves of crushed garlic)
- Pinch of salt
Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until they are smooth.
This plain hummus will be safe for your dog to eat while you enjoy other versions.
One more word. Like some people, dogs with sensitive digestion can have difficulty digesting the chickpeas in hummus. If your dog has problems with his digestion, you should limit the hummus he is allowed to eat or avoid it completely. Otherwise, he could have a gassy night and some temporary abdominal pain.
How much hummus can your dog eat?
Hummus is a healthy food but you still need to watch the calories. Hummus has about 47 calories per ounce. That’s only about 2 tablespoons. For a small dog that only needs about 500 calories per day, that’s nearly 10 percent of his daily calorie intake.
If you have a medium or large dog, you can give them a little more.
Keep in mind that any new food can upset your dog’s stomach, even if it’s a healthy food. It’s advisable to only give your dog a small amount of hummus the first time he tries it.
How often can you give your dog hummus?
If your dog enjoys hummus and he has no ill effects, you could give him a small amount of plain hummus 2-3 times per week.
Hummus has many health benefits that both you and your dog can enjoy. If you plan to give some to your dog, you will likely need to make your own hummus since most commercially-made versions contain garlic and other spices that can be harmful to dogs. Watch the calories when giving your dog hummus. They can add up quickly.