Lentils are small edible legumes often used for many types of dishes. Their rich and earthy flavor makes them a perfect addition to salads, soups, and even baked goodies like cookies.
On top of that, lentils are packed with dietary fiber, potassium, protein, iron, magnesium, and B-vitamins. They are flavorful and healthy. Would it hurt to give Fido some? Continue reading to learn more about lentils for dogs.
Are Lentils Bad for Doggies?
Yes, they can be a staple in your pet’s diet. If you are looking for other sources of protein apart from meat, lentils can be a safe option. A bag of lentils is also more affordable compared to a high-protein dog food.
If you’re planning to share some lentils with Fido, make sure they are not seasoned with cumin, turmeric, garlic powder, or onion that could upset the dog’s stomach. Plain lentils already have a rich and pleasant taste so there’s no need to add a lot of seasoning.
Your lentils should also be rinsed and soaked before you cook them. Immersing them in water neutralizes the anti-nutrients found in their shells. This process also reduces the cooking time by half. Given their small size, soaking them for a couple of hours will be enough to get rid of the anti-nutrients.
Lentils already are already the easiest to digest legumes. However, because a dog’s gut is different from a human’s one, your pet will not be able to handle them well unless they are well-cooked or soaked thoroughly.
There are so many colors of lentils and each one has a different use. When choosing lentils for your pet, consider the red ones over the other colors. They are usually split and they are best known for their very earthy flavor.
Meanwhile, it’s true that lentils are packed with protein. However, they are classified as incomplete protein because they lack two essential amino acids. If you want a protein-rich food for your pet, consider diversifying your options. You can get protein from animal meat, quinoa, and high-quality dog food.
Risks of Feeding Lentils to Canines
They are not toxic to dogs but do note that they may cause potential side effects, so remember to feed in moderation. A dog used to eating commercial pet food may also suffer from diarrhea after having some lentils for the first time. There are dogs with a sensitive stomach, too, so keep that in mind before offering lentils.
The side effects of consuming lentils include flatulence. There are also lentils out there sold with excessive amounts of salt added, so keep an eye for the sodium content of the product before buying. Avoid buying canned lentils for your pet because these are the ones that have a lot of sodium.
Since canned lentils are more convenient than the dried ones, you might be tempted to buy them. If you ever do, rinse them well under cold water to at least reduce their sodium content.
Benefits of Lentils for Canines
- They can help give Fido a healthier digestive system. Lentils are packed with dietary fiber which can help prevent constipation. There is a gram of dietary fiber for every tablespoon of lentils.
- They are an excellent source of protein. A cup of lentils has as much as 18 grams of protein, which is important for building healthy and strong muscles.
- They are good for the heart. Lentils contain a chockfull of heart-healthy nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, and fiber.
- They help decrease your pet’s risk of heart disease. As with humans, dogs can also suffer from heart disease. Studies suggest that high-fiber foods, including lentils, help prevent heart problems.
- They can naturally detoxify Fido’s body. Like humans, canines are exposed to certain toxins. It would help to give them foods that promote their body’s natural cleansing process. One of those foods is lentils.
How to Serve Lentils to Dogs
These mini legumes can be used as an ingredient for your pet’s homemade food, particularly on rice meals. You can mix the cooked lentils in your pet’s rice meal for an added fiber. About ¾ cup of lentils should be enough to add to your pet’s meal.
When your pet is not fond of eating rice, you can actually make a mashed lentil meal. Just bring them to a boil along with quinoa and sweet potatoes. Mash them when they are very soft and offer to your pet for a vegetarian meal.
If your dog is into canned food, you can also incorporate some legumes in his meal to make it more filling and more nutritious. Just make sure the legumes were already cooked before adding them to the canned dog food.
In case you have dried lentils and you don’t know what to do with them, you can actually use them for making dog treats. If you have time to bake, you can mix those dried lentils with rolled oats. Bring them to a boil then crack in an egg before baking for around 30 minutes.
Lentils can also be used for making your dog a kibble topper. You can make some gravy out of let by blending the lentils with broth and some cooked vegetables. Your dog will surely love this tasty gravy!
Lentils are among the safe legumes for dogs. The best part is that they are easy to prepare and you can incorporate them into a number of dishes. Above all, they are also economical. They go best in homemade dog food. Just don’t forget to soak them first before cooking to get rid of the anti-nutrients and to make them easier to digest for dogs.