Also known as “turtle beans”, black beans are small, oval, shiny beans with purple-black shells, which are popular in human cooking across the world. They are a versatile, delicious and healthy food that most humans love.
However, as a pet owner, you may wonder if your furry friend can eat black beans. Well, the good news is yes, you can. Black beans are as good for your pooch as it is good for you because they have loads of health benefits due to their high fiber, protein, vitamin and mineral content.
What Are Black Beans?
Called frijoles negros in Spanish, black beans originated from South and Central America over 7,000 years ago. Not only are they inexpensive, but black beans are also very high in protein, making them very popular inclusions in vegetarian and vegan diets.
Along with other types of beans like green beans, navy beans, kidney beans and pinto beans, black beans are part of the Phaseolus vulgaris L. plant species and are often included in a wide range of recipes from soups, stew, salads, dips, burgers, etc. Black beans have a meaty, dense texture that is super delicious and satisfying and they are highly nutritious.
Health Benefits of Black Beans for Dogs
Black beans are very nutritious for dogs too. They are a powerhouse of proteins, which are the building blocks necessary for your pet’s structural strength and growth. The protein keeps your dog’s coat healthy and glossy and also helps to make the heart muscles healthy. Black beans are very rich in phytonutrients such as anthocyanins, saponins, quercetin and kaempferol, which have antioxidant properties.
Black beans contain selenium, which helps in the function of liver enzymes and helps to detoxify certain compounds that cause cancer. They are free of cholesterol and contain minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron and potassium.
Potassium helps to improve brain function, control nerve impulses, heart function and muscle activity, while magnesium helps in muscle mobilization and the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Moreover, black beans are packed with B vitamins, vitamin C and K. Vitamin C helps to reduce inflammation and also helps to prevent cognitive aging, while vitamin K helps in proper blood clotting. Black beans are much lower in fat as compared to meat and are a nutritious and healthy way to keep your pet’s protein levels high minus the fat and calories.
Black Beans are an excellent source of fiber, which helps to keep the digestive system of your pet healthy, helps in proper bowel movement, regulates blood sugar and keeps the heart healthy. The fiber also helps to boost your pet’s metabolism, aids digestion and helps your dog to stay fit.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Okra?
Best Ways to Feed Your Dog Black Beans
Black beans are available in stores in dry or canned form. It is best to use dry black beans for your pet; however, they should not be given raw. The dry beans can get stuck in your pet’s throat, choking him and they cannot be digested easily.
Also, avoid canned black beans because these contain additives, flavorings and a high level of sodium, which are unhealthy and can even be toxic to your pet.
Sort the dry beans and wash them well to remove any stones, debris and damaged beans. Then soak the dry black beans for around 8 hours and then cook them. This makes the beans easier to digest and tasty too.
It also helps to reduce the oligosaccharides, a carbohydrate present in legumes, wheat, garlic, leeks, onions and other plant foods, which can cause flatulence and gastrointestinal problems.
Cook the beans by putting them into a pot filled with water and bring the water to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer gently, stirring frequently, for around 1 to 1.5 hours, until the beans are cooked.
Make sure that the beans are submerged in water all through the cook and keep adding water if required. Allow the beans to cool before feeding them to your pet.
Here are some ideas of how you can feed your dog black beans:
- Boil some white or brown rice and add some black beans to it without any salt or spices.
- You can mix some cooked rice and black beans with dry kibble.
- Cook cornmeal in boiling water to make polenta and add some cooked black beans into it. Pour the cornmeal onto a sheet pan and allow it to cool and cut it into squares, which you can put into Ziploc bags and freeze for use anytime.
- You can also use cooked black beans as nutritious treats for your pet when training. These are easy to carry along and can make excellent alternatives for unhealthy store-bought treats, which often contain flavorings and additives that can cause your pet to gain weight and are harmful to your dog’s health.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Horseradish?
Black Beans — Do’s and Don’ts
- When you’re feeding your dog black beans, make sure to give the beans alone in cooked form or mix it into rice, polenta or sweet potato. The important thing is to keep it simple and plain. Do not add any salt, spices, herbs, onion or garlic to the beans.
- Make sure to wash dry black beans, soak and cook them before feeding them to your dog.
- If you’re using canned black beans make sure that they don’t contain any salt, seasonings, flavorings or additives. Read the label of the canned beans before feeding them to your pet. To be safe, wash the canned beans to remove any salt and preservatives before feeding them to your dog.
- Avoid feeding your dog refried beans because these usually contain oil, salt, spices, etc., which can be very harmful to your pet.
- The quantity of black beans that you feed to your dog depends mainly on his size and body weight. Make sure that the black beans should not be more than 10% of your pet’s overall diet.
- Ensure that you feed black beans to your pet in moderation because too much can cause flatulence, gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea, which can make your pet very uncomfortable.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Granola?
Black beans are healthy and high-protein legumes that are loaded with nutrition and offer many health benefits for your dog. It is a natural food that is packed with the goodness of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Super tasty, easily available and very simple to cook, black beans are extremely easy to include in your pet’s diet.
When fed in moderation, black beans are a great and healthy option for your pet. However, you must remember that the black beans should be given alongside a complete diet to make sure that your pet is getting all the nutrients required for a healthy, active and happy life.