You can find chickpeas (aka ‘garbanzo beans’) dried, canned, mashed, or made into flour. They are also used as a base for foods such as hummus and falafel. When humans love food, it’s not too long before we tend to offer some of what we enjoy to our canine companions.
So what happens when you offer your dog a few chickpeas? Are chickpeas safe for dogs? And can dogs eat falafel or hummus? While they can be safe for canine consumption, it’s always key to make sure new food items are fed to Fido in moderation. Anything in excess can cause problems.
Many beans are safe for dogs, with Chickpeas being one of them as a small part of your dog’s diet. Some dog foods even include them as a fibrous ingredient. Continue reading on, and find out what’s considered a safe amount, and when it’s time to call your local veterinarian.
Are Chickpeas Safe for Dogs?
Chickpeas can be safe for canine consumption if prepared correctly. The safest way to feed hem to your dog is cooked, plain, and without seasoning or additional ingredients. They should also be fed in moderation to avoid obesity and nutrient imbalance. Dog treats containing chickpea flour are also safe, but don’t give your pup too many treats!
As a rough guide, you should feed no more than 10% of their calorie allowance from an unbalanced source- i.e anything outside of his daily cans or kibble. This 10% treat allowance has to be spread across all treats though.
They are sometimes used as an alternative source of protein in commercial pet food, so they are safe to feed your dog if prepared this way. They are added in relatively small quantities and are not intended as the only protein source in a dog’s diet. Some dogs are sensitive to them though, so for pups with sensitive stomachs, it’s best to stick with dog food that avoids lentils or legumes altogether.
There is a growing trend for meat-free pet foods, but you should never remove meat protein from your dog’s diet without consulting your veterinarian first.
Are They Nutritious?
Yes! Chickpeas are high in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. These are important for growth, repair of muscles, eye health, skin and coat health, weight management, and a healthy immune system. They are also low in fat, so they make a nutritious, low-calorie snack.
Chickpeas contain high amounts of iron, phosphorus, manganese, and folate, as well as cancer-fighting saponins. In humans, they’re thought to reduce the consumption of junk food and help people lose weight by controlling their appetite.
They may be particularly beneficial for humans with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Dogs suffering from these diseases need carefully planned diets, and it may not be appropriate to add them.
Don’t be tempted to prepare home-cooked meals if he has any of the conditions listed or shows signs of illness- you may make your dog’s situation worse. You should contact your veterinarian for advice, who will be able to tell you if adding chickpeas to your dog’s diet will help.
Why Are Chickpeas Bad for Dogs?
It may seem tempting to add chickpeas to Fido’s diet. While they are a great source of nutrition, we do not yet know how much is needed to benefit your dog. You also need to be aware of the potential risks and how to avoid them.
This includes not only avoiding specific preparations but considering potential health problems associated with feeding them to your pup.
Which Preparations Should I Avoid?
Some chickpea preparations are bad for dogs. You should avoid any of the following preparations:
Chickpeas stored in cans will usually have salt and other preservatives added to the water, which may cause harm. Too much salt in yFido’s diet can cause excessive thirst and more severe problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle tremors.
Dried chickpeas are very hard and should be cooked, or soaked before cooking, to make them soft. Their small size makes them an easy choking hazard, and if fed to your dog, dried chickpeas could cause irritation to the throat, be hard to digest, and cause gut problems if they eat large amounts.
Falafel is usually made with soaked raw chickpeas or chickpea flour. While neither of these may harm, other ingredients such as onions or garlic added to the falafel are bad for dogs. These can cause fatal anemia. Some signs of anemia are weakness, depression, or rapid breathing.
Falafel is often deep-fried, so it’s not the best food choice. The fat from the oil can cause gut problems and a painful condition called pancreatitis.
Like falafel, the chickpeas used in hummus are mixed with other ingredients, like garlic and lemon juice, which could cause harm. Garlic can cause your dog to become dangerously anemic. Lemon juice is acidic and can irritate their gut. So, avoid feeding hummus to your pup. If Fido has eaten any of these preparations and is acting sick, it’s best to speak to your veterinarian for advice.
Chickpea Health Risks
Feeding too many chickpeas to your pup can cause health problems and make some existing conditions worse. Always contact your veterinarian before feeding chickpeas, or any other food to your canine companion. It’s always best to discuss any dietary changes first to ensure you’re not going to make their condition worse. Chickpeas are not recommended for these conditions:
Gas or Gut Problems
Any dietary change can cause tummy upsets such as vomiting or diarrhea. But, feeding them too many can also cause uncomfortable bloating or excess gas because of their high fiber content.
Fiber can be beneficial if your pup has an underlying gut problem such as diarrhea or constipation, but too much fiber can make their condition worse. It’s hard to know how many will provide the right amount of fiber in their diet.
Before you change your dog’s diet, speak with your veterinarian. There may be other reasons why they have excessive gas or gut problems, and adding in chickpeas might make it worse!
Diabetes is a complex and serious disease, and dogs with diabetes need to be fed exceptionally carefully. They release energy slowly and may help keep their blood sugar levels stable. But changing or supplementing their diet can have a negative impact on diabetes in some situations.
Common side effects of diabetes are excessive hunger and weight change (either weight gain or weight loss). They can make Fido feel full and control their extreme hunger, but their low fat could be a problem if your diabetic dog is underweight.
If your dog has diabetes or you think they may have diabetes speak to your veterinarian about their diet. They will tell you if you can add them are an acceptable food source. However, feeding a formulated diabetic dog diet is safest, as this allows precise nutrition. Your veterinarian will help you to choose food tailored to your pup’s needs.
Chickpeas contain minerals such as potassium, which are vital to support their heart, especially if they have heart disease. However, if given in the wrong quantities, they could make their heart problem worse.
As with the other nutrients in chickpeas, e.g., fiber, we don’t know how many chickpeas canines need to give them the right amount of minerals. If your dog has been diagnosed with a heart problem, speak to your veterinarian about their diet.
In 2018, the FDA began investigating a possible link between a heart condition called DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) and dogs fed grain-free diets (including those containing chickpeas). By the end of 2020, no direct link was made, but investigations are ongoing.
If your dog is a breed that is prone to cardiomyopathy, it might be worth staying away from diets containing large amounts of lentils, peas, and chickpeas until we know more about what happened.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can feed your dog chickpeas, so long as it’s done safely, in moderation, and with your vet’s approval. Make sure they have no additional ingredients or seasoning and are well cooked. If your pup has a gut disease, diabetes, or heart disease, consult your veterinarian before introducing any new food.
The best way to keep them healthy is to make sure they have a complete and balanced diet, which should provide all the nutrition your pooch needs.