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Can Dogs Eat Lentils? Everything You Need To Know

Yes, dogs can eat well-cooked lentils in moderation. Lentils are a superfood, pretty beneficial to your dogs. They are a storehouse of dietary fiber, proteins, and vital nutrients like  B vitamins, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and carotenoids. Avoiding overconsumption of lentils and appropriately cooking them before serving them to your dogs ensure they derive the maximum health benefits. 

What are lentils? 

Lentils are tiny lens-shaped seeds growing in pods belonging to the legume family. Their origin can be traced back to the past 11,000 years. Available in various colors like green, brown, red, and black, they are an excellent source of proteins and fibers. In addition, these are pretty easy to cook and are available at a low cost. 

Lentils have a rich nutritional profile constituting minerals, proteins, and fiber. For example, 100 g of cooked lentils contains the following:

Calories116
Proteins9.02 g
Fats0.38 g
Carbohydrates20.13 g
Fiber7.9 g
Sugar1.8 g

Further, lentils are also a source of the following essential nutrients: 

  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Thiamin
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Selenium

Are lentils Safe for Dogs? 

Yes, lentils are safe for dogs’ consumption, provided they are cooked appropriately. This is because feeding an enormous amount of raw lentils can lead to toxic effects in dogs. Further, overconsumption of cooked lentils can cause gastrointestinal discomfort in dogs. 

Why are lentils good for dogs? 

  1. Good for Diabetic and Hypersensitive Dogs

Lentils are low-sugar yet nutrient-dense. Hence, they are perfect for diabetic dogs who require a nourishing meal without hiking their sugar levels. 

They are also a great alternative protein source for dogs suffering from hypersensitivities or food-related allergies.

  1. Contains Healthy fats 

Lentils are low-caloric food containing healthy fats. These fats help combat bad cholesterol while stabilizing blood pressure. Consequently, they aid in reducing the risk of heart disease while promoting weight loss. 

  1. Supports several bodily functions 

As discussed above, lentils constitute ample minerals and are pretty rich in proteins and fiber. Therefore, its consumption enhances and supports the below bodily functions in your pet:

ProteinsAids in muscular development and tissue repair.Promotes healthy hair and skin.Stimulates the production of antibodies, strengthening the immune system function. Aids in the secretion of hormones and enzymes. 
FiberRegulates bowel movements.Smoothens the digestive process.Prevents constipation.Helps satiate dogs and makes them feel fuller for long.Promotes weight loss.Works along with proteins to flush out toxins from the body.Improves metabolism enhancing overall health. 
Folate (Vitamin B9)Aids in red blood cell productions and promotes blood formation.Aids in DNA synthesis and encourages cell division and tissue growth.Enhances  immune function.
IronAids in the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Helps carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.Supports your dog’s  enzymatic functions.Improves the metabolism of dogs  and increases their energy.Promotes a healthy blood circulation Lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
ManganeseAids in the extraction and digestion of proteins and carbohydrates.
PhosphorusThis mineral teams up with calcium to strengthen bones and teeth.Acts as a catalyst for bodily functions like growth, maintenance, and cell repair.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)Improves brain function, heart function, and promotes proper growth. 
PotassiumIt helps in the proper functioning of your dog’s kidneys.Aids in maintaining cardiac and digestive health.It strengthens your pet’s bones. It regulates fluid levels and promotes muscle development.
Vitamin B6Synthesizes proteins and promotes the absorption of both proteins and fats. 
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)Supports the breakdown of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates and aids in digestion.Maintain your dog’s general health.Enhances healing from injuries. Slows down aging.Prevents diseases like cancer.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)It helps convert fats and carbohydrates into energy.It breaks down fatty acids promoting a lustrous skin and coat.It enhances your pet’s mental capacity.It promotes hormonal secretion in dogs.Promotes the optimal functioning of kidneysHelps cope with stressAids in lactation.Induces the production of growth hormones Destroys harmful bacteria in the digestive tract.Maintain optimal pH levels in your dog’s digestive tract.
Pantothenic Acid(Vitamin B5)Aids in energy metabolism
MagnesiumPromote the absorption and metabolism of other minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassiumHelps in the utilization of B-complex vitamins and vitamins C and E.
ZincEnhances immunity.Reduces inflammation.Has good antioxidant properties.
CopperHelps in the formation and activity of red blood cells.Acts as a cofactor in numerous enzymatic reactions.Necessary for normal skin and hair pigmentation.
SeleniumPrevents inflammation.Lessen the painful inflammation of joints for arthritic dogs.  Enhances immune system response.Reduces the growth of tumors.

Why are lentils Bad for Dogs? 

Although lentils are endowed with a rich nutritional profile, they have some downsides. However, it is possible to overcome these adverse reactions with certain precautions. Here are the downsides of serving lentils to your dogs:

  1. Lentils come with a low digestibility rate

Serving lentils in larger quantities can slow down the digestive process in dogs. Hence, they have to be served in moderation to avoid:

  • Gassiness
  • Stomach upset
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

For the same reason, you have to introduce lentils slowly to your dog if you have just begun to feed him. 

  1. Uncooked lentils contain lectin

Raw lentils contain lectin. Lectin is a glycoprotein meant to induce gastrointestinal absorption. However, they come with the risk of encouraging bacterial growth in your canine’s stomach. Although your canine’s gut is capable of breaking down lectin, this reaction can lead to gassiness in dogs. Alternatively, when foreign molecules like lectin are not broken down completely, your dog’s immune system identifies it as a foreign body and begins to attack it. Consequently, your dog can experience the below-mentioned symptoms:

  • Gut lining inflammation 
  • Gastroenteritis signs like vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Rashes 
  • Joint pain 

Therefore refrain from feeding large amounts of uncooked lentils. 

Further, you must ensure to prepare the lentils properly, soaking them completely to remove dryness and cook thoroughly. 

  1. Lentils contain phytates leading to a mineral deficiency

The presence of the substance phytates in lentils is known to bind with minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc, preventing their absorption. A lack of absorption of vital minerals ultimately leads to mineral deficiency in dogs.

However, soaking lentils overnight aids in the partial removal of these substances. This is also why legumes shouldn’t constitute much of your canine’s diet. 

  1. Lentil soup is toxic to dogs

Refrain from feeding canned soups containing lentils to your dog. This can be toxic to your pet as it contains garlic or onion. In addition, you have to take care you do not feed lentils enriched with spices or salt as a preservative. 

  1. Do Lentils Cause Heart Disease in Dogs?

DCM is the short form of Dilated Myocardiopathy. This is a cardiac condition resulting from widening cardiac chambers in dogs. Consequently, the affected dog’s heart finds it challenging to pump blood out of the heart leading to congestive heart failure. The actual cause for DCM is still unknown, but certain factors like genetics, breed predisposition, and possibly nutritional links are being investigated. 

It is suspected that there is a link between grain-free diets containing peas or lentils and DCM. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. Further, the connection between DCM and nutrition is suspected to be due to taurine and carnitine deficiency in dog foods. Some breeds prone to DCM  include Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Great Danes, Dobermans, and Labradors. Dogs affected by DCM often showcase early signs. These include:

  • Intolerant to exercises
  • Excessive panting while breathing
  • Coughing
  • Distended belly
  • Weight Loss 
  • Lethargy 
  • Fainting episodes 

How many lentils to Feed Your Dog? 

You can feed a tablespoon of cooked lentils in the form of treats a couple of times a week. This will ensure your canines don’t suffer from adverse reactions. Further, if you’re introducing, always incrementally increase the serving. 

How to serve lentils to your Dog? 

We can extract their maximum health benefits if the lentils are cooked appropriately. Further, different lentils have a specific boiling time to get rid of lectins. Here are the different types of lentils, their respective cooking times, and the recipe they are generally suitable for based on their taste/texture. 

Texture/ TasteCooking time Good for
Brown lentils Creamy texture20-30 minutes Puree
Red LentilsSlightly sweeter taste15 minutes Broths or sauces
Green and Black lentils Firm texture15-25 minutes Toppings for dog foods 

The best way to cook lentils is as follows:

  1. To prepare a cup of lentils, take three cups of water for 1 part of dry lentils.
  2. Firstly, wash the lentils well to rinse off the dirt and debris.
  3. Heat the water and bring it to a boil.
  4. Once boiled, reduce the flame and add the lentils.
  5. Now, close the boiler with a plate and leave it covered for 10 to 30 minutes until cooked soft before serving. 

Alternatively, you can also try this excellent adapted recipe using lentils for homemade dog treats: 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of brown lentils
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter unsalted and unsweetened 
  • 1/2  very ripe mashed banana
  • 1 whisked egg
  • 1 mixing bowl 
  • 1 baking pan 

Instructions

  1. Boil the lentils until soft and drain them. 
  2. Mash the lentils and add them to a blender with peanut butter, banana, and whisked egg.
  3. Blend the mixture to reach a smooth consistency. 
  4. Place this mixture in a bowl, close it with a dishcloth and refrigerate for an hour until slightly thickened.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F or 160 degrees Celsius.
  6.  Use a tablespoon to spoon the mixture onto baking paper or a greased pan. Bake for 15 mins, then briefly remove from the oven.
  7.  Flip over to finish baking the other side for another 15 mins. The total baking time is 30 to 40 minutes. 
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving. 

What if my Dog ate lentils? 

If your dogs over consumed lentils, they may exhibit an upset stomach or experience gassiness. In that case, you can supplement their diet with some probiotics and monitor their symptoms before reaching a vet. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can dogs eat red lentils?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked red lentils moderately. However, exercise care to cook them for the required time to get rid of lecithins.

Can dogs eat green lentils?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked green lentils in moderation. However, exercise care to cook them for the required time to get rid of lecithins.

Can dogs eat lentil soup?

No, dogs cannot eat lentil soup as it contains onion and garlic, which are toxic for a dog’s consumption. 

Can dogs eat lentil chips?

Dogs cannot eat lentil chips as they are fried and can be too fatty for a dog’s diet. 

Which lentils are good for dogs?

  • Brown lentils 
  • Red lentils 
  • Green lentils 
  • Black lentils

Do lentils cause heart disease in dogs?

No, no direct evidence supports the claim that lentils can cause heart diseases in dogs. 

Conclusion 

Summing up, lentils are a superfood that is pretty nutritious for your dog’s health. However, they must be first cooked appropriately and fed in moderation before serving to your dogs. 

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