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Beans are one of the best foods you can eat for fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. They are cheap, delicious, and their soft textures allow them to assume multiple guises. Whether you are planning to ditch meat completely or switch up your weekly meal routine, beans will be there for you. It is no wonder they have been part of human diets throughout history.
While we can consume most varieties of beans, some types may pose a threat to our dogs. So, before you feed your dog any type of beans, it is always advisable to understand whether it is safe and healthy for him. To make your work easier, this post will focus on Pinto beans, especially with respect to its safety (as dog food) and recommended preparation practices.
What are Pinto Beans?
Pinto Beans are medium-sized beans with brown, streaky colored skins (when raw). Like other types of beans, Pinto beans lose their mottled colors when they are cooked—they will just look like other types of beans such as red or kidney beans. However, their textures and flavors will often stand out. Cooked Pinto beans are much softer and creamier and tend to have distinct nuttiness than other types of beans.
Can Dogs Eat Pinto Beans?
The short answer is: Yes, not only can dogs eat Pinto beans, but it has also been shown that beans are tremendously healthy for dogs. They are non-toxic and pack lots of nutrients that can be beneficial to your dog. In particular, your dog stands to gain the following health benefits if he eats Pinto beans:
- Lowered cholesterol levels: Pinto beans can lower cholesterol levels in your dog, protecting him from risks of cardiovascular diseases.
- Can help fight oxidative damage: Pinto beans are high in antioxidants, which can help your dog fight free radicals that cause oxidative stress/damage to his body cells.
- Aids digestion: Generally, beans pack a lot of dietary fiber, which improves bowel movements and prevents constipation in dogs and humans.
- May Boost Your Dog’s Brain Functions: Like other types of beans, Pinto beans are rich in nutrients like folates and choline, which are known to improve brain functions.
- Source of energy: Pinto beans have 2-4 times more protein than typical grains. Allowing your dog to enjoy some Pinto beans will, therefore, provide him with some natural energy boost.
While Pinto Beans are safe and healthy to dogs, there are health issues that you should be aware of, including:
One embarrassing side of Pinto and other types of beans is that they can make your dog produce a lot of gas. The outer coatings of beans and other legumes have a lot of short-chained carbohydrates or oligosaccharides, which your dog’s digestive system may find difficult to break down. As a result, they bypass the digestion process and reach your dog’s colon, where resident bacteria digest them, often producing gas as a by-product of the fermentation process.
But gas is a natural thing that you shouldn’t worry about. However, if you don’t like a gassy dog or take the doggie gas seriously, consider feeding your dog Pinto beans in moderation.
While beans pack a lot of vitamins and minerals, they are also high in calories. So, feeding your dog a lot of Pinto beans can expose him to a lot of calories, which may cause weight gains and other detrimental health issues, especially if he is not an active dog.
Cramping and Constipation
Fiber aids digestion but excess amounts of it are not easily absorbed by a dog’s system. Consequently, if you allow your dog to consume a lot of Pinto beans, the high amounts of fiber in the beans can temporarily slow down his bowel movements, causing cramping.
Similarly, fiber can help prevent constipation in dogs but if your dog eats a lot of Pinto beans (which translates to more fiber) and doesn’t drink a lot of water or liquids afterward, he can actually suffer from constipation symptoms. This is because Pinto beans are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers and the former needs some liquid to move it through your Fido’s system.
Precautions to Take When Feeding Your Dog Pinto Beans
- Pinto Beans shouldn’t replace other sources of proteins. While they are great sources of proteins, Pinto beans shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet—just like with other dog treats. A high-quality, well-balanced diet should always be the basis of your pooch’s diet.
- Wash Pinto beans and cook thoroughly before serving your dog. Raw beans contain Phytohaemagglutinin, which may be toxic to dogs in large quantities. While cooked beans may also contain this compound, it is in much lower and harmless levels.
- Avoid adding onions, garlic, tomatoes, salt, and seasoning when cooking Pinto beans for your dog. These ingredients can cause gastrointestinal upset, gas, bloating, and even poisoning in dogs.
- Strive to mash Pinto beans before serving it to your dog. Mashed beans not only aids in digestion but also offer greater nutritional value.
- Avoid giving your dog canned Pinto beans because they have high levels of added sodium, sugar, garlic powders, and preservatives, which are all unsafe for your dog. It is advisable to just cook fresh Pinto beans for your canine as you can always control the type of ingredients that goes into a homemade treat.
- If you have to feed your dog canned pinto beans, consider rinsing them in running water for 2-5 minutes. Rinsing can eliminate up to 40% of sodium in canned beans.
Other Good Types of Beans for dogs
Besides Pinto, there are many other types of beans that you can safely feed your dog, including Black-eyed beans, Garbanzo, Lupin, Edamame, Lentils, Lima beans, Green beans, and Kidney beans. When giving your canine friend any of the above-listed beans, remember to keep the highlighted precautions in mind to make the meal safer and healthier for him.
Pinto Beans are delicious, readily available, and safe for dogs. They are bursting with a lot of vitamins and minerals, making them a nutritious treat for dogs. You can add them to your dog’s regular meals but don’t be tempted to use them as a substitute for all your dog’s meals. You still need to give your dog animal-based protein because they are canines and are designed to eat meat in the first place. Strive to only give Pinto beans in moderation or as a healthy snack treat.