Can Dogs Eat White Beans?

Can dogs have white beans? ¹

How would you like to eat the same food every single day?

Dogs need and enjoy some variety in their meals, but it’s not easy to know what they can and what cannot eat. White beans are a staple in many households, but can you feed them to your dog? 

The answer is yes, your dog can eat white beans and several other types of beans.

However, do not exaggerate with the beans as they might give your dog a stomach ache, not to mention a revolting amount of gas.

In this article, we will examine the nutrition value in white beans, how you should cook them for your pet, and what type of beans you should not feed your dog. 

How many types of white beans are there?

White beans come in many sizes and shapes, and they are very popular in the United States as well as in many European countries.

There are various types of white beans and for the untrained eye they might be hard to distinguish.

One of the most common types of white beans are navy beans, usually served baked or added to various soups.

They get their name from the fact that, in the 19th century, the US Navy fed them in large quantities to its sailors.

Very popular in Italy, cannellini beans are larger than navy beans and have a flattened shape, similar to lima beans, also known as butter beans for their off-white color, 

Great Northern beans are a bit smaller than cannellini beans and have a more delicate flavor.

How much white beans should I feed my dog?

White beans are rich in both protein and carbs, which makes them quite a balanced meal. In fact, white beans will make your dog feel full for a longer time, certainly more than his regular kibble. However, white beans are also very rich in fiber. Now, fiber is good for a dog’s diet. Many dogs suffering from constipation have too little fiber in their diet. The problem is that white beans might be too rich in fiber for a dog. This will result in excessive gas, something you will not fail to notice. However, that’s not the biggest issue. Too much gas can cause bloating and this might make your dog miserable. 

According to experts, beans should not account for more than 10% of your pet’s calorie intake for one day.

If you run out of dog food, you can give your dog a serving of white beans, but only as an exception. Even if you’re a vegetarian, your dog still needs meat. A few spoonfuls of beans added to his regular meal every once in a while are a great addition to his diet, but it shouldn’t be used as a meat substitute. Moderation is key. 

What is the nutrition value in white beans?

If there’s one thing that can be said about white beans is that such a treat will fill your pet’s belly.

One cup (170 grams) of cooked white beans provide 242 calories, which might be too much for one meal for a middle-sized dog. One serving contains 17 grams of protein and 44 grams of carbs, which will give your dog a lot of energy. In terms of fat, the same serving only has 0.6 grams of fat, which is great. Fats should not account for more than 10% of a dog’s diet.

What is very impressive is the high fiber content. One serving provides 11 grams of fiber. Fiber is important for your dog’s digestion. It adds bulk to the stool and supports regular bowel movements, but, as mentioned above, too much fiber causes abdominal distension and flatulence. 

On the other hand, white beans are a great source of minerals and vitamins. For instance, one serving of cooked white beans provides 36% of the recommended daily value of iron for the average adult. For a middle-sized dog that would be around 100% of the iron he needs. Iron is very important as it supports the production of red blood cells which transport oxygen throughout the body. 

One cup of baked white beans provides 55% of an average adult’s copper needs, so it’s plentiful for your pet. Cooper is essential for iron metabolism so the two go well together. Also, copper supports energy production.

Whte beans are also rich in phosphorus, magnesium and zinc, which support the dog’s immune system, as well as the nervous system. They’re also a valuable source of calcium (14%) which can help your dog have strong bones. 

Puppies and pregnant dogs could seriously benefit from the occasional white beans treat as it is very rich in folate. Also known as vitamin B9 or folic acid, folate supports red blood cell formation and is necessary in periods of rapid growth. 

Last, but not least, white beans are rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which combat free radicals in the dog’s body. Antioxidants are important as they slow down the damages caused by old age, they protect against chronic illness, such as heart disease, and can prevent certain types of cancer.

Can dogs eat canned white beans?

You should avoid giving your dog canned beans, white or any other type. Actually, you should stay away from any sort of canned foods as they are not exactly safe for dogs,

Canned white beans usually contain flavorings such as onion and garlic, which are both toxic for your dog. Also, canned foods tend to have a lot of salt, which your dog doesn’t need. You can put a dash of salt on your dog’s homemade meal, but the amount of salt in processed foods can cause serious health issues if your dog consumes such products often.

In an emergency situation, you can give your dog canned beans, but make sure to rinse them in plenty of water for at least 2 minutes to get rid of as much salt as possible. 

How can I cook white beans for my dog?

Your dog can eat white beans but only if they are well-cooked. As canned beans are off-limits you can prepare some yourself to give your pup a nice treat. It is not recommended that you share your white beans with your dog, as you probably use garlic, onion, salt and other spices for your own meal.

If you want to cook your dog a healthy meal, start by soaking the beans in water for a few hours. You can let them soak overnight so they’re ready for cooking in the morning. Boil the beans as usual, only don’t add any spices or flavorings. 

If you want to prepare a more balanced meal for your pet, you can make a crockpot and throw in whatever you like. A bit of meat would make the dish especially appealing to your dog, but you can also add some carrots, squash, sweet potatoes or rice. 

What types of beans can dogs eat?

The information above refers to white beans, but there are other types of beans that are both safe and nutritious for your dog. You can also give your pet:

  • Lima beans
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Edamame
  • Soybeans
  • Garbanzo beans

And, of course, you can add some green beans to your dog’s regular meals. 

What beans are not safe for dogs?

There are certain types of beans that have no place in your dog’s diet:

Fava beans

You should refrain from giving your dog fava beans, also known as broad beans. Fava beans can cause an upset stomach. Your dog may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Chili beans

Chili beans are also not suitable for your pup, as they contain loads of spices, including onion and garlic. 

Baked/Refried beans

Baked beans and refried beans are to be avoided for the same reasons.

Raw kidney beans

While red kidney beans are considered safe for dogs, you should make sure your pet doesn’t eat any raw beans. The reason is that raw kidney beans contain a compound called lectin phytohemagglutinin (PHA) which is toxic to dogs. If you spill some kidney beans on the floor and your dog manages to eat some raw you need to watch out for PHA poisoning symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Lethargy 

If your dog starts feeling unwell, you should see a vet as soon as possible. 

Coffee beans

Yes, they are called beans, but unlike white beans, coffee beans can kill a dog. This is because coffee beans contain caffeine which is toxic to dogs. Caffeine poisoning determines symptoms such as: elevated heart rate and blood pressure, hyperactivity, vomiting, seizures, tremors and collapse.

Closing Thoughts

Dogs can eat white beans as they are full of protein, carbs and fiber, while being low in fats. However, you should always feed your dog beans in moderation. Use beans as a side dish or as an ingredient in a crockpot. While highly nutritious and rich in vitamins and minerals, white beans can cause problems because they have a lot of fiber. You may be upset by all the gas, but your dog will suffer as well. If you want to give your dog white beans, make sure to prepare them yourself, as canned foods are full of salt and seasonings which can be toxic for dogs. 

Photo credits

¹ Photo by Łukasz Rawa on Unsplash

Sarah Pulsen

Hello, I have been in love with dogs since I was a little girl. I became even more infatuated with them when I was told by my Mum that I couldn't own one. Since I left home there has rarely been a time in my life when I have lived without a dog. My current dog is a Collie Terrier cross, called Ian.