Are you wondering ‘Can dogs eat lima beans?’ Did your pup swipe some off of your plate when you weren’t looking? Or maybe you’re thinking about creating homemade treats for your pup and want to know if lima beans are okay as an ingredient?
We understand – figuring out what our dogs should and should not eat can be difficult. Furthermore, diet is a very big part of a dog’s health and happiness! That can put a lot of pressure on us to feed them correctly. And for good reason!
Can Dogs Eat Lima Beans
Luckily, though, we’re here to help. We’ve put together this article discussing whether or not dogs can eat lima beans. We’ll explain everything you need to know about giving your pet lima beans. First, we’ll look at what a dog should be eating! Then, we’ll look specifically at lima beans and what they contain. Using this information, we’ll figure out if lima beans fit into a dog’s diet!
What Should a Dog Eat?
This is a big question. But it is one that every dog owner should know the answer to; it is our job to figure out what our pooch should and should not be eating, after all. Contrary to many modern misconceptions, dogs are omnivores. In other words, they can eat a variety of foods, including meats, veggies, and fruits. Actually, they are much like humans in this regard.
A Healthy Diet for Dogs
Dogs are not, in fact, carnivores like wolves. It has been theorized that dogs have developed the ability to eat grains, veggies, and fruits as a result of living close to people. After being domesticated, dogs simply developed the ability to eat what their human companions ate. How does this translate into their modern diet particularly, though?
Well, it means that dogs actually are their healthiest when they eat a variety of foods. This ensures that they get all the nutrients they need and that they don’t develop any deficiencies. There are some studies which have shown that dogs can live on wholly meat-based or plant-based diets. However, just like humans on restrictive diets, steps must be taken to ensure that a dog receives all the nutrients he or she needs.
Now that we know that dogs thrive off of a diet revolving around a variety of foods, let’s look at what lima beans specifically contain.
Are Lima Beans Safe for Dogs?
Are lima beans a healthy addition to a balanced doggy diet? Yes they are, if you want them to be! These beans are rich in proteins and fiber, which means they can sit alongside the other components of your dog’s diet very nicely. And if you’re here because you pooch managed to grab some lima beans off your plate don’t panic. The short answer to the question ‘can dogs eat lima beans?’ is yes. Lima beans are not harmful to dogs.
Are Lima Beans Good For Dogs?
Lima beans are roughly 73% carbs, 3% fats, and 24% protein. As you can see, they are almost completely made up of carbohydrates, with very little fat. However, they also contain a decent amount of protein. They share this with other beans as well.
Regarding particular vitamins and minerals, lima beans are a good source of folate, iron, and potassium. They are also an extremely good source of fiber and manganese. In fact, fiber is very important in a dog’s diet for a number of reasons.
Can Dogs Have Lima Beans: Dogs and Fiber
Just like in humans, fiber is decently important in a dog’s diet. Fiber provides a lot of support for our dog’s digestive system by helping them stay regular. In fact, without fiber, our beloved pets would be at risk for a whole host of issues. Not only does it keep harmful bacteria colonies from forming, but it also aids the colon in recovering from injury and stress, and can reduce both diarrhea and constipation.
Furthermore, fiber can also help your pet maintain or reach a healthy weight. Fiber is more filling than other foods, and therefore can make your pooch fill fuller on fewer calories. This prevents overeating and can go a long way in helping your pet lose weight. In fact, many vets recommend high fiber diets for overweight pets.
High fiber diets for dogs
Similarly to humans, fiber is harder for dogs to digest than other carbohydrates. However, instead of this being a negative aspect, it is actually extremely helpful! This slow digestion prevents the blood stream from being bombarded with sugars all at once. This helps keep your puppy’s blood sugar at an even level, as opposed to spiking up and then diving back down. Actually, high fiber diets are recommended for pre-diabetic and diabetic dogs!
Obviously, fiber is very important in a dog’s diet. However, that isn’t the only thing lima beans contain that can be extremely helpful in your dog’s health.
Lima Beans for Dogs: Dogs and Protein
Protein is extremely important in a dog’s diet for a number of reasons. Firstly, protein is used by a dog’s muscles to maintain themselves. Without enough protein, the muscles will deteriorate gradually. Protein is specifically important in older dogs.
While older dogs are generally less active, and therefore need less food, their protein requirement actually increases by about 50%. If these older dogs do not eat enough protein, this deficiency can couple with age-related weight loss and can contribute to earlier mortality. In other words, because older dogs already lose muscle mass naturally, having a protein deficiency can make this problem worse. It is suggested that older dogs receive at least 25% of their calories from protein.
Are Lima Beans Bad for Dogs? Gassy Dogs
There is one drawback to giving your pup lima beans – gas. Lima beans are, after all, beans. And we all know what that means. Beans, including lima beans, actually cause gas due to a particular sugar they contain. This sugar cannot be broken down completely by the digestive tract, and therefore leads to gassiness. However, lima beans shouldn’t cause so much gas that your pet becomes uncomfortable. It just might be something to keep in mind if you bring your pet to bed at night!
How to Feed Lima Beans to Dogs
When it comes to actually feeding your pup lima beans, it is important to cook them beforehand. This is because raw lima beans are hard to digest and can cause injury to your pet’s teeth. However, do not season the lima beans when preparing them for your pup. Dogs can be sensitive to a number of seasonings humans regularly use. And some are even toxic! Due to this, never season your dog’s lima beans.
You should also limit your dog’s consumption. The occasional serving of lima beans is perfectly okay, but they should not replace your pup’s usual, balanced diet. Remember, dogs need a variety of foods!
Can Dogs Have Lima Beans?
So, as we’ve said, the answer to ‘can dogs eat lima beans?’ is yes! Lima beans are perfectly okay to feed your pet on the occasional basis. They are not toxic, and actually have more than a few health benefits. However, remember that dogs should always consume a balanced diet; their diet should not comprise of largely one food source. Therefore, lima beans should not replace their usual dog food.
Does Your Pup Like Lima Beans?
How do you cook them for him or her? Find out if they’re alone and what food other people’s dogs like to eat over in the forum!
References and Further Reading
Axelsson, Erik. “The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet.” Nature Research Journal. 2012.
Knight, Andrew. “Vegetarian versus Meat-Based Diets for Companion Animals.” Centre for Animal Welfare, University of Winchester. 2016.
Finlay, Katie. Benefits of High-Fiber Dog Foods. American Kennel Club. 2018.
Laflamme. “Pet Food Safety: dietary protein.” Topic in Companion Animal Medicine. 2008.
Teixeria, Fabio and Brunetto Marcio, “Nutritional Factors Related to Glucose and Lipid Modulation in Diabetic Dogs: Literature Review”. 2017
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website