Easy to grow and prepare, green beans are popular around the world. They are sold fresh, canned, and frozen. They can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or baked. Plus, they make a great ingredient in stews and casseroles. Your dog might have looked at you with interest when you were preparing these tasty pods. Can dogs have green beans? Yes – in moderation. Learn more below.
“Green beans” is a broad term that includes several different kinds of beans such as French beans, snap beans, string beans, pole beans, and runner beans. Wax beans are a different species but they are usually included as green beans. Compared to dried beans (Navy beans, Black beans, Pinto beans, etc.), green beans usually have less starch and protein but more vitamin A and vitamin C. Green beans are members of the legume family.
Raw green beans (snap beans, in this case) are a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and manganese. They are also a good source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus,, potassium, and copper.
They have 83 percent carbohydrates, 3 percent fats, and 14 percent protein. They score a low 3 percent on the glycemic index.
One cup (110 grams) of raw green beans contains just 34.1 calories with 7.8 total grams of carbs, 3.7 grams of dietary fiber, and 1.5 grams of sugars. It has 0.1 gram of sugars, 0.1 gram of polyunsaturated fats, and 2 grams of protein. Plus, it has 39.6 mg of omega-3 fatty acids to 25.3 mg of omega-6 fatty acid. It’s very rare for a plant to contain a higher amount of omega-3 than omega-6.
Green beans are low in calories and fat so they are often recommended for people trying to lose weight – as long as you don’t load them up with salt and butter. Green beans are also considered to be a heart healthy food. They contain no cholesterol and they are naturally low in sodium.
They are a good source of dietary fiber, including soluble fiber which is thought to help lower LDL or the so-called “bad cholesterol.” It may also support heart health by lowering blood pressure.
If you are eating canned green beans, be sure to rinse them well since canned foods tend to contain salt in the liquid. Or, you can choose canned green beans that contain no added salt.
Green beans are also considered to be a low FODMAP food. FODMAPs are undigested carbs that are metabolized by the bacteria in your gut. This can lead to gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Eating low FODMAP foods can help relieve these problems.
Green beans are also a good source of proteins. Plant proteins are not complete proteins. They are missing one or more of the amino acids your body needs. However, they are still helpful.
Can You Give Your Dog Green Beans to Eat?
Yes, green beans are quite safe for dogs to eat and enjoy.
Many people like to give their dogs some green beans to help them feel full between meals. Green beans are high in fiber so this is a good way to help some overweight dogs slim down without missing a few calories if you cut back on their dog food a little. This is only acceptable for a few calories.
However, if you have heard of the so-called “green bean diet” for dogs where you exchange up to 50 percent of your dog’s dog food for green beans, that’s definitely not a good idea. Your dog needs the vitamins, minerals, animal protein, and other nutrients in his dog food. If your dog needs to lose a lot of weight, talk to your veterinarian. Avoid fad diets for your dog.
Green beans do make a healthier treat than some dog cookies and other treats that can be high in calories.
You may have heard that legumes in dog foods have been possibly associated with a dietary form of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. First, the jury is still out on whether this connection has been proven. Second, the legumes used in dog foods rely heavily on chickpeas and field peas which are higher in protein. The legumes in this form are powdered when they are added to the dog food mixtures. They can make up quite a large percentage of the food – enough to be one of the first five or so ingredients used in the food. Giving your dog a small amount of real green beans as a treat or mixed in his regular dog food wouldn’t come close to matching the amount of legumes that are used in some dog foods.
Just to be safe, we do suggest that you only give your dog green beans in small amounts.
You should not give your dog green beans that are in foods such as green bean casseroles or green beans that have been strongly seasoned with fat and salt. Many people season green beans with bacon grease, for example, which can be very salty. These dishes can contain other foods that could be harmful to your dog.
Always make sure you know all of the ingredients in any food you share with your dog. Don’t share any foods with your dog if any of the ingredients might be unsafe. Remember that any foods containing onions or garlic are a big NO for dogs!
You can give your dog green beans that are raw, frozen, or canned. Raw green beans contain lecithin proteins that can lead to stomach upset so steaming them first can be a good idea. Cooking them slightly for a few minutes resolves the problem. Or, just stick to one or two green beans so they are less likely to cause a problem. Puppies and older dogs often like frozen green beans because of their teeth. They are easy to gum. With canned green beans, be sure to drain and rinse them or buy unsalted green beans.
Green beans are unlikely to be a choking hazard but anything is possible. It often best to chop them up some before you give them to your dog.
How Many Green Beans Can You Give Your Dog?
Green beans are high in dietary fiber so if your dog eats a lot of green beans he could have some digestive problems. Stick to a moderate amount.
You should always introduce any new food to your dog’s diet slowly. The first time you give your dog green beans, watch for any signs of stomach upset. Most dogs can eat green beans without any problems but it’s always possible that your dog could have a more sensitive stomach.
Green beans shouldn’t make up more than about 10 percent of your dog’s diet. However, as we noted above, one whole cup of green beans only has 34 calories. A cup of green beans would be more than enough for most dogs regardless of how many calories he normally eats in one day.
We suggest that you first offer your dog one or two individual green beans to see if he likes them. If he likes them, you could add a few green beans to his meal. But, don’t overdo the amount, especially in the beginning. If you see any sign that your dog is having some digestive problem, stop giving the green beans for a while. He is probably getting too much fiber in his diet. You can give him a few green beans at a later time in a reduced amount.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Green Beans?
Green beans make a healthy treat and they can be a good occasional addition to your dog’s meals. We suggest that you can add green beans to your dog’s diet 2-3 times per week, in moderation. Remember that green beans should take the place of treats and cookies. However, they should not take the place of your dog’s normal diet. They should only be used as a topper for your dog’s meals.
Green beans can be a delicious and healthy addition to your dog’s diet. They make a good alternative to dog treats and cookies that can be higher in calories. They are high in many vitamins and minerals. Plus, they are a good source of dietary fiber. Many dogs love them. Use them in moderation.