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Can Dogs Eat Lima Beans? Everything You Need to Know

Yes, dogs can eat lima beans or butter beans. Lima beans are a rich source of proteins, fiber, and iron with low sugar and fat levels. The nutrient profile makes them an excellent dietary supplement, especially for diabetic dogs. You can serve lima beans as an occasional meal or tasty treat to your canine mate to ensure his well-being. Additionally, it is better to avoid feeding canned lima beans to your dog.  

What are lima beans? 

Lima bean is an edible kidney-shaped seed of the herbaceous plant, Phaseolus lunatus, which belongs to the legume family. These beans are found within a pod and are known as butter bean, double bean, or wax bean. With a mild flavor and creamy texture, these beans have a unique color that ranges from beige to green. They are also available in red, brown, black, purple, and speckled varieties. These beans can be procured in different forms as: 

  • Dried 
  • Frozen 
  • Canned 

The origin of lima beans can be traced to South America. Additionally, it was named after the capital of Peru. After that, it spread north towards Central America, North America, and the rest of the world.   

Nutritional Profile of Lima Beans: 

Lima beans are a great source of macro and micronutrients, including fibers and various vitamins and minerals.  

One cup (170 grams) of cooked lima beans contains:

CALORIES209
PROTEINS12 g
FAT0.5 g
CARBOHYDRATES40 g
FIBER9 g

Other micronutrients in these beans include: 

  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Thiamin
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6 
  • Phosphorus
  • Trace amounts of Vitamin K and calcium

Are lima beans safe for dogs?  

Yes, Lima beans are safe for your dog’s consumption. They nutritionally benefit him and satiate his appetite without overfeeding. However, please do not feed your dog canned lima beans or serve them with seasonings, preservatives, onion, and garlic powder, as they can harm your pet’s health.  

Why are lima beans good for dogs?  

From the nutritional profile of lima beans, it contains a higher level of fiber, proteins, and iron that benefit your dog in the following ways: 

Fiber: 

 Fiber is an essential part of a dog’s diet, and it helps to: 

  • Eliminate and prevent harmful bacteria in the gut. 
  • Reduce diarrhea and constipation. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Recovers the colon from injury and stress 
  • Prevents overeating by making your dog feel fuller on fewer calories. 
  • Prevents a spike in blood sugar levels, making it an ideal choice for a prediabetic or diabetic pet.  

 Proteins:  

Lima beans are an excellent source of highly concentrated proteins which helps your pet: 

  • Maintain and rebuild muscle tone and strength. 
  • Maintain healthy fur and skin. 
  • Improves physical activity. 
  • Ideal for a pet on a vegan diet. 
  • Ideal for aging or an older dog who has become less active.   

Iron: 

  • Maintains and regulates a healthy flow of blood. 
  • Ensures if the blood supplies the necessary nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body. 

Additionally, lima beans also contain essential nutrients that contribute to your canine’s wellness in the following ways: 

  • Low sugar and fat content: These levels make them an excellent dietary option for diabetic and obese dogs.  
  • Vitamin C & K: Supports immune system function and helps the body recover from injuries. 
  • Potassium: Conditions the muscles and strengthens the bones.  
  • Magnesium: Promotes nutrient absorption  

Antioxidants:  

  • Lowers cholesterol. 
  • Fights cancer  
  • Alleviates the onset of arthritis. 

Why are lima beans bad for dogs? 

Although lima beans are healthy for your dogs, these beans can cause some minor issues in dogs if fed excessively; they include: 

  • Gassiness: Lima beans contain a starchy sugar that cannot be broken down entirely by your canine’s digestive tract leading to gassiness in dogs.  
  • Loose stool and Abdominal pain: Lima beans contain a significant amount of fiber which may cause gastrointestinal issues in dogs if consumed excessively. Additionally, serving beans with salt and seasonings may increase gastrointestinal discomfort. Further, it is advisable to avoid feeding canned lima beans as they contain harmful chemicals such as sodium which are unsuitable for your dog’s gut. Hence, it is safe to buy them fresh and cook before you serve your buddy.    

How much lima beans to feed your dog? 

If you are introducing lima beans to your pup for the first time, it is best to start with a few pieces and increase gradually. For example, you can begin with a tablespoon of lima beans for your small breed dog, while two tablespoons of it will suffice for a large breed dog. Additionally, you can increase or decrease the serving size as per your dog’s taste and acceptance. Finally, you can serve cooked lima beans to your dogs occasionally as a treat once a week. Further, take care that you don’t replace his balanced meal with these beans. 

How should lima beans be prepared for dogs? 

Raw beans are unsuitable for dog consumption as they may contain the toxin Phytohaemagglutinin, also called kidney bean lectin. However, the effect of these toxins can be negated by soaking and cooking the beans. Cooked beans reduce flatulence in dogs. 

  • Rinse the dried lima beans and soak overnight. 
  • To 4 cups of boiling water, slowly add one cup of dried beans. 
  • Boil well until the beans become soft. 
  • Drain the boiled water and allow the beans to sit for approximately an hour. 
  • You can serve them as it is or mash and serve in small amounts as a snack. 

Some of the other ways by which you can add lima beans to your dog’s diet includes: 

  • You can blend the beans with rice and a meat protein to make a homemade meal. 
  • You can also try mixing lima beans with other tasty fruits and veggies your canine enjoys.  

Homemade Recipe

Suppose you want to avoid gassiness in your dog after consuming lima beans. In that case, you may try the following cooking method as it reduces the starchy sugars that contribute to gas.   

  • Soak dried beans in water for three hours. 
  • Boil the soaked beans along with the water and simmer for half an hour. 
  • Drain and replace water and continue cooking at a simmer for another half an hour. 
  • Discard water and rinse. 
  • To the cooked lima beans, you may add an anti-gas probiotic supplement.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can dogs have beans instead of meat? 

No, dogs cannot have only beans in their diet. Likewise, meats should not be replaced by beans in their diet. However, a combination of beans and meat will benefit your dog’s health.  

Can dogs eat green beans? 

Yes, dogs can eat green beans as they are healthy for your dogs.  

Can I Freeze My Lima Beans for Dogs? 

Yes, you can freeze lima beans and place them in the fridge overnight to defrost. Then, you can safely feed them for the next 5-6 months and not beyond that.

Are Baked Beans Suitable for My Dogs? 

No, dogs cannot eat baked beans as they contain high sugar and salt levels which are very unhealthy.  

What types of beans can dogs have? 

Below mentioned are some of the types of beans your canine can enjoy.  

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

Which beans should dogs avoid? 

  • Fava beans (or broad beans): This can cause gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain  
  • Baked beans: These contain high sugar and salt levels which can cause sodium poisoning and diabetes.   
  • Refried beans: These contain preservatives and seasonings, which are very harmful to your pet.  
  • Canned beans: They contain a high level of sodium which is unsuitable for dogs’ consumption.  
  • Chili beans: They contain spices such as garlic and onions, which are harmful to dogs.  
  • Coffee beans: These contain caffeine which is toxic for dogs.  
  • Raw red kidney beans: These contain a chemical kidney bean lectin which makes it unsuitable for dogs’ consumption in natural form.  

Final Thoughts: 

Lima beans are a good source of plant-based proteins, and this makes them suitable for your canine’s consumption occasionally as a snack. However, it would help if you feed these beans sparingly and not replace meat with beans entirely.  

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