Are Lentils Good For Dogs? Pros And Cons

yellow and brown beans on brown wooden table

Key points

  • Lentils belong to the legume family, and they are an excellent protein source, especially in vegetarian diets. They are safe for dogs, but only when given in limited amounts.
  • Lentils can benefit dogs by helping them with diabetes, providing energy, preventing diseases, ensuring regular stool, and facilitating muscle growth.
  • If you want to add lentils to your dog’s diet, cook them thoroughly without adding any seasonings. Introduce them gradually and observe your pet’s reaction.
  • Possible side effects your dog may experience after eating lentils include diarrhea, gas, and upset stomach.

Lentils are very popular among people because of their amazing nutritional properties. Members of the legume family, lentils come in different colors. They provide a great opportunity to enrich your pet’s diet with proteins, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. In addition, lentils are not expensive, and they take little time to cook. Studies have proved that lentils may lower cholesterol levels, help with weight loss, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower blood pressure. That’s why many pet owners wonder whether they can share lentils with their beloved pets.

Can Dogs Eat Lentils?

The answer is yes, lentils aren’t toxic to your dog. In fact, some pet food brands use lentils instead of corn to improve the nutritional value of their products. However, some dogs may not tolerate lentils and experience mild gastrointestinal issues after consuming them. One study has shown that lentils and peas have a low digestibility rate, meaning that lentils slow down digestion in dogs. Therefore, consuming too much of this product can upset your canine’s stomach and cause gastrointestinal problems.brown and black dried leaves

Top 6 Benefits Of Lentils For Dogs

Lentils are known to be very high in protein and fiber since one cup of these legumes contains 18g of protein and 16g of fiber as well as iron, magnesium, folate, potassium, and phosphorus.

Here is the list of top 6 benefits lentils can provide to your dog:

Lentils Are An Excellent Source of Energy

Because lentils contain 20g of carbohydrates, they provide a very efficient way to supply your dog with energy. They are also high in iron, which helps pets make new blood and transport oxygen, boost their metabolism, and promote energy running on water

They Can Help With Diabetes

If your dog suffers from diabetes, adding lentils to its diet may ease the condition. Lentils are low in sugar but high in fiber and protein, which can help to get rid of toxins in the digestive tract.

Lentils Can Help Prevent Diseases

These beans contain selenium, an essential mineral and antioxidant rarely found in other foods. Selenium helps facilitate liver enzyme function, detoxify cancer-causing compounds, reduce tumor growth, boost the immune system, and prevent inflammation.

They Are A Superfood

In general, lentils can improve your dog’s health and prolong its life span since lentils lower cholesterol and alleviate high blood pressure. They are also low in fat and calories. Plus, lentils will keep your dog’s digestive system moving, ensuring regular bowel movements.

silver spoon on black ceramic bowl with vegetables

Lentils Are Great Additions To Vegetarian Diets

If you choose a vegetarian or vegan diet for your dog, then adding lentils will be an excellent choice. But remember to consult with your vet to ensure that your dog gets all the necessary nutrients, especially if you feed it a vegan diet.

They Contribute To Muscle Repair

Lentils are high in protein (with 8g of protein per 100g of product), and protein is essential to properly maintain the pet’s muscles and its energy levels. Therefore, adding lentils to your dog’s diet can significantly contribute to the pets’ muscle strength.

How To Feed A Dog Lentils?

round orange pot

You should thoroughly cook lentils before giving them to your dog. Dog taste buds are a bit different from human, therefore, there’s no need to add salt or any other seasoning or flavorings. Try to introduce the product slowly, starting with a few tablespoons to see if it causes any indigestion.

Keep in mind that lentils for dogs should be properly cooked because they contain large amounts of lectins, a group of glycoproteins that can be toxic. Foods that have high lectin content can be harmful to dogs with thyroid conditions and leaky gut syndrome. Ask a vet to check your dog for these conditions before introducing lentils into its diet.

However, adverse effects will occur only if your dog eats a huge amount of raw product. By cooking lentils, you will reduce the amount of lectins by 200X times. It’s best to boil or steam lentils, as it’s not recommended to slow cook or crockpot cook them.

Lentils Side Effects For Dogs

As mentioned above, lentils are not dangerous to your dog, but still, there are few things for you to be aware of:

Lentils Can Upset Your Dog’s Stomach

Every dog has an individual response to fiber-rich foods, and while some dogs feel just fine after eating beans, others may experience gas and stomach discomfort. Diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation may also occur after a dog eats lentils, so make sure that you gradually introduce the product and carefully observe the dog’s reaction before increasing the portion.

Avoid Added Salts And Seasonings In Commercial Lentils

Make sure you buy lentils in natural form with no added salt or seasoning, as many kinds of commercial lentils contain additives that your dog should not ingest at all. Also, high sodium intake can cause toxicity over time, so be careful with that.

five assorted-type condiments

Lentil Soup Can Be Dangerous

Even though lentils are often added to different soups, you should never share any of these meals with your canine. Most of the time, homemade or canned soups contain garlic and onions, which are extremely toxic for dogs, and consuming even a small amount of them can be fatal to dogs.

The best way to cook lentils and feed your dog is the simplest one. Go with unsalted, plain, and properly cooked beans and avoid any other ingredients.

soup in bowl

Risk Of Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

This condition occurs when there’s not enough pressure in the vessels to pump the blood. DCM is not uncommon in dogs, but some breeds are more prone to suffer from it. Scientists haven’t yet been able to show a link between having canine dilated cardiomyopathy and legume-based diets (which include lentils) for pets, but the FDA is still investigating the matter.

Be Careful With Cheap Dog Food

If you know that your dog can’t tolerate lentils, be extremely careful when buying cheap dog foods. Usually, dog food manufacturers use lentils to increase the protein content of their products without providing the necessary nutrients. So always check the package when you buy dog food.


Are lentils good for dogs to eat?

Yes, they are an excellent source of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, folate, potassium, and phosphorus.

What kind of lentils can dogs eat?

Dogs can eat only plain, unsalted, cooked lentils that are not combined with any other ingredients.

How many lentils can dogs eat?

Start by giving your dog a few tablespoons of cooked lentils, then observe the pet’s reaction and gradually increase the portion to ½ of a cup.

Why are lentils bad for dogs?

It’s not recommended to give lentils to dogs with stomach problems since they can cause gas and upset your dog’s stomach.

What legumes are safe for dogs?

Pinto beans, soybeans, green beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans are all safe for canines.

Do lentils cause heart disease in dogs?

Some studies have found that most reported cases of canine cilated Cardiomyopathy occurred in dogs who consumed pet foods containing lentils, peas, and chickpeas.