Can Dogs Eat That

Can Dogs Eat Kidney Beans? Everything You Need to Know

kidney beans red beans beans food

You might be curious about whether it’s safe to share some of your favorite human foods, like kidney beans, with your pup. Well, you’re in luck! Kidney beans can be a healthy treat for dogs when prepared properly and given in moderation. However, there are some important precautions and potential risks to keep in mind. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about feeding kidney beans to your beloved pup so you can make informed decisions and keep your dog happy and healthy. Let’s get started!

RELATED: Can Dogs Eat Peaches? 

The Nutritional Benefits of Kidney Beans for Dogs

Kidney beans are legumes that are packed with beneficial nutrients for dogs (and humans, too!). Here are some of the key nutritional perks:

• Protein

Kidney beans serve as a superb plant-derived protein source, boasting 2-4 times the protein content of grains. Protein is crucial for fostering your dog’s growth, muscle formation, and tissue recovery. However, it’s advisable for animal-based protein to remain the primary component of your dog’s diet.

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• Fiber

The high fiber content in kidney beans promotes digestive health and regularity in dogs. Fiber helps keep their bowel movements smooth and consistent. But that’s not all! Fiber can also help balance the blood sugar and even lower bad cholesterol. Just don’t overdo it, as too much fiber can cause gas, bloating, and stomach upset in some dogs.

• Antioxidants

Kidney beans contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A. These help boost the immune system, fight disease-causing free radicals, slow the aging process, and potentially prevent some types of cancer and cognitive decline in senior dogs. 

wooden bowl of brown kidney beans on a table

• Vitamins and minerals

Kidney beans are a fantastic source of vitamin K.This essential vitamin helps your dog’s blood clot properly and absorb calcium, leading to stronger bones. They also provide essential minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese that support your dog’s metabolism and overall health.

• Low calorie

Worried about your dog’s waistline? Kidney beans can be a guilt-free treat! They are very filling and satisfying while still being low in calories compared to many commercial dog treats.

samoyed wearing kimono costume on park

How to Safely Prepare Kidney Beans for Your Dog 

While kidney beans offer some great nutritional benefits, they need to be prepared the right way to be safe for doggy consumption. Here are the key steps:

1. Always Cook the Beans

Uncooked or undercooked kidney beans contain a toxic protein called lectin phytohaemagglutinin (PHA). This lectin can cause some scary symptoms in dogs, like vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and lethargy. 

red kidney beans in blue ceramic bowl

The good news? This lectin is easily defeated! Simply soak the beans overnight (or 8 hours) and then cook them thoroughly with high heat. This deactivates the lectin, making it perfectly safe and even beneficial for your dog.

How to Cook Kidney Beans for Your Dog:

  1. Rinse it Clean: Start by giving the beans a good rinse under cool running water. This helps remove any dirt, debris, or potential contaminants.
  2. Soak it Up: Next, soak the beans in clean water overnight or for at least 8 hours. Soaking softens the beans and makes them easier for your dog to digest.
  3. Rinse and Simmer: After soaking, drain the water and give the beans another quick rinse. Transfer them to a pot, ensuring they are covered with fresh water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the beans to simmer for about 45-60 minutes. They’re done when tender and easily mashed with a fork.
  4. Cool it Down: Once cooked, drain off any excess water and let the beans cool down to room temperature before serving to your dog.
  5. Skip the seasonings: Plain, cooked kidney beans are the way to go for dogs. Avoid canned beans which often have added sodium and preservatives. Also stay away from baked beans, chili beans, or refried beans which usually contain spices, onion, and garlic that are harmful to dogs. Stick with simple, unseasoned, home-cooked kidney beans.

Remember: Cooked kidney beans are a great occasional treat, but raw ones are a recipe for disaster. Keep your pup safe and happy with proper preparation!

short coated white dog on green field

2. Feed in Moderation

Introduce kidney beans gradually and see how your dog tolerates them. Use them as an occasional treat rather than a staple food. As a general rule, treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. The other 90% should come from a complete and balanced dog food.

3. Consider Mashing or Pureeing

Some dogs, especially smaller breeds, may have trouble chewing whole kidney beans. To make them easier to eat and digest, mash or puree the cooked beans. Mix a small spoonful into your dog’s regular food.

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4. Watch for Signs of Stomach Upset

Every dog is different, and even plain kidney beans don’t agree with some. If you notice vomiting, diarrhea, gas, or appetite loss after your dog eats beans, discontinue feeding them and consult your vet if symptoms persist.

Tasty Ways to Serve Kidney Beans to Your Dog

Now that you know how to safely prepare kidney beans, here are a few simple serving ideas your pup will love:

long coated white and brown dog 1

• Beans and rice

Rice This timeless combination is not only a hit with humans but can also be a tasty treat for your pup. Start by cooking up a small batch of plain kidney beans and rice, making sure to omit any salt, seasonings, or additives that could potentially harm your dog. Once cooled to room temperature, you can serve a spoonful of this delightful mixture as a standalone treat or use it as a topper for their regular kibble. Just remember to store any remaining mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use them within 3 days for optimal freshness.

flat lay bowls with vegetables

• Turkey and Bean Mash

Let’s face it: sometimes life gets busy, and we might run out of our go-to dog food. In a pinch, you can whip up a balanced homemade meal using ground lean turkey, kidney beans, and rice. Simply cook the turkey until it’s no longer pink, then mix in some cooked kidney beans and rice. For an extra nutrient boost, consider pureeing a small amount of green veggies like spinach or green beans and stirring them into the mixture. While this DIY meal can be a lifesaver in a bind, it’s important to remember that it shouldn’t replace your dog’s regular balanced diet in the long run.

closeup shot white terrier eating from his plate

• Protein-Packed Bean Biscuits

If you enjoy making your own dog treats at home, consider giving them a protein boost by substituting a quarter cup of mashed kidney beans for some of the flour in your favorite recipe. This tweak not only boosts the treats’ nutritional value but also introduces a distinctive flavor and texture that your dog will adore. Shape the dough using cookie cutters for playful designs, or opt for a rustic look by spooning it onto a baking sheet. Bake until the treats are firm and golden brown, then allow them to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. Your furry friend will be overjoyed with these delightful goodies!

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Beans to Avoid Giving Your Dog

While some beans are okay for pups in moderation, others can cause real trouble. Here’s a quick list of beans to keep out of your dog’s bowl:

• Fava Beans (Broad Beans): These beans contain very high levels of PHA that can be toxic even after cooking. Don’t risk it!

• Coffee beans: The caffeine content is a big no-no to dogs. Even a small amount can be dangerous.

• Refried beans: The garlic, onions, spices, and preservatives in refried beans spell trouble for your pup’s tummy. 

• Adzuki beans: Delicious for us, toxic for them! These beans can cause serious vomiting and digestive issues.

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Can Kidney Beans Replace Meat Protein in a Dog’s Diet? 

The short answer is no. Even though kidney beans are high in plant-based protein, dogs still require a diet that centers around animal protein sources. Feeding kidney beans as a protein substitute puts them at risk for nutritional imbalances and deficiencies over time.

Dogs are considered omnivores, but they lean more towards the carnivorous side. Meat and animal protein should make up the majority of their diet. That’s how they’re biologically built. In rare cases, a vet may recommend a vegetarian diet for a dog with severe allergies or health issues. But in general, a balanced meat-based diet is best for optimum doggy health and longevity.

couple with their pet dogs

Final Words

For more information on what human foods are safe or dangerous for your dog, be sure to check out our collection of articles on the topic. We cover everything from vegetables and fruits to dairy, bread, and even junk food.


About Judith D. Swan

With a passion for pooch health and nutrition, I've dedicated myself to exploring every "Can dogs eat...?" scenario you can imagine. With a background in veterinary science and years of experience in the pet care industry, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. From the common to the curious, I've researched it all to ensure that your canine companion gets the best possible care. But hey, I'm not just about facts and figures. As a proud dog parent myself, I understand the bond between humans and their four-legged pals. That's why I'm committed to providing trustworthy, practical advice that keeps both tails wagging.