Can Dogs Eat Lentils?

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Can dogs eat lentils? Yes, once cooked lentils are safe for dogs in moderate amounts. They are a healthy source of plant-based protein, rich in fiber, may promote weight loss, and can potentially benefit a dog with diabetes. 
Adding lentils alongside your dogs' diet may be beneficial. However, you must make sure they are getting enough protein, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from other sources as lentils are not a complete food for dogs.
As with all food, make sure it is incorporated into their daily allowance to avoid obesity. If you are using lentils as a treat, treats should only make up 10% of your dog's recommended daily allowance.
Make sure to introduce lentils slowly. Rapidly changing your pet's diet can result in an upset stomach.

 

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What Are Lentils?

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Lentils belong to the legume family. Other members include chickpeas, peas, soybeans, and beans. 
They have been available for centuries and are thought to originate from Asian and North Africa. Lentils are in dishes from all over the world, including dhal, soup, and salad. 
Lentils are cheap to source, easy to use and provide a healthy vegan protein. They are also high in fiber and great for humans on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
What is the difference between green and red lentils?
Green - Green lentils hold their shape the best, and they are perfect to use as a protein substitute and work well in salads. They have an earthy flavor. 
Red - Red lentils are mushier when cooked. They work well to blend into sauces, soups, and curry. They have a more subtle flavor and are cheaper than green varieties.

 

Benefits Of Lentils For Dogs

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There are limited studies on the benefits of lentils on dogs; however, from their nutritional information and our knowledge of domestic dogs, we can draw some ideas.

 

Nutrients per 100g boiled lentils
Calories
116
Total Fat
0.4g
Total Carbohydrates
20g
Of which sugar
1.8g
Protein 
9g


Vegetarian or Vegan Diet

Many people choose to feed their dog a vegetarian or vegan diet for a variety of reasons, including health, sustainability, animal rights, and allergies. 
Lentils can be an excellent ingredient to add in, however, if you are feeding your dog a vegan diet, make sure to consult a nutritionist or a veterinarian for guidance to make sure your pet is getting the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

 

Muscle Repair

Lentils are high in protein for a portion of meat-free food, with 8g per 100g. Protein is essential in your dog's diet for the maintenance of their muscles, as well as energy. Many dogs will get their protein supply from meat, dairy, and eggs. However, lentils can also be added to boost the protein in their dog food.

 

Energy

Lentils contain 20g of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are essential for energy as well as keeping your dog fuller for longer. Lentils could be added to your dogs' food in place of other carbohydrates, including rice, quinoa, sweet potato, and wheat. It is good to switch your dog's diet occasionally to give them something new and so they don't develop a selective palate or any intolerances.

 

Keep Your Dog Regular

With a high fiber content, lentils are thought to be good for keeping your dogs' digestive system moving. 

 

May Aid Diabetes

Lentils are low sugar and high fiber and therefore are favored over other sources of carbohydrates for a diabetic diet. Make sure to speak with your vet before altering your dog's diabetic food.

 

Risks Of Lentils For Dogs

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Cheap For Dog Food

Many pet food brands do not necessarily have the dogs' welfare at heart. Lentils can be used to bulk out dog food and raise the protein content without providing the necessary nutrients required. We believe a dog food should be primarily made up of good quality meat. Check your dog food packages, and research the brands to find good quality dog food.

 

Risk Of Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) 

DCM is when there is not enough pressure to pump the blood around the body. While DCM is not uncommon in dogs, it is more common in certain breeds. Breed not usually at high risk of DCM were being reported. The FDA is investigating a possible link between dogs who consumed a diet primarily made up of legumes (including lentils, chickpeas, pulses, and other peas and beans) and potatoes. 
The FDA is still exploring this. Check this link for more information and to keep up to date. 

 

Additives

Pre-packaged and canned lentils usually contain ingredients unsuitable for dogs. Do not feel your dog any of your lentil soup, dhal, salads, flavored lentils, or tinned lentils. They may include garlic, onions, excess salt, raisins, among other toxic ingredients. 
 

Gastro-Intestinal Upset

As with all new foods, introduce lentils slowly. Start by adding 1-2 tbsp to your dogs' usual food and adjust and exchange from there. Feeding little by little will allow you to see whether or not lentils agree with your dog.
New food can cause vomiting and diarrhea if fed suddenly and in large amounts. 

 

Lectins

Lectins are present in all plant food. They are natural defenses to deter animals from eating them while they're growing. 
Lentils are high in lectins when raw; however, rinsing and thoroughly cooking them helps lower the amount. 
High lectin foods are potentially damaging to dogs with thyroid conditions and leaky gut. Check with your vet before feeding your dog lentils if they have either of these issues.

 

How Do You Cook Lentils For Dogs?

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Thoroughly cooking lentils is essential to lower the lectin count to avoid toxic reactions. It also makes lentils easier to digest for our dogs. Dog food recipes will vary depending on how they are used, but this is a rough guide on how to cook dry lentils easily.

Recipe inspired by Lentils.org

Ingredients: 
  • 3 parts water
  • 1 part dry lentils
Directions:
1. Place the lentils in a strainer and rinse with clean, cool water to remove any debris. 
2. Place the water and lentils in a large pan and bring to a boil.
3. Once boiling, reduce temperature and cover for 10-30 minutes (depending on the variety), or until soft.

 

Lentil Dog Food and Treat Recipes

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Festive Dog Treats, inspired by I Don't Have Time For That 

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup lentils, cooked and drained (use the package instructions or directions above)
  • 1/2 fresh cranberries, chopped
  • 1/3 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 egg
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and rub together with your hands.
3. On a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness.
4. Cut into treat sized pieces. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool before feeding to your dog.

 

Turkey and Lentil Kibble, inspired by Top Dog Tips

Ingredients:
  • 6 cups water, separated
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium broccoli head, chopped
  • 1 large apple, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
Directions:
1. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and lentils once hot. When boiling, reduce temperature to medium-low and allow to cook for 20 minutes.  
2. When the lentils and rice are cooked, add the remaining water, carrot, broccoli, apple, oats, parsley, and rosemary. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Let it cook for an additional 20 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Bown the ground turkey in a dry frying pan, continually stirring to avoid sticking. 
5. Once everything is finished cooking, combine all the mixes in a blender with the coconut oil (this may need to be done in 2 batches unless you have a large enough blender - just divide each mix by 2). 
6. Place the blended mixture onto the lined baking sheets and bake for 1 hour. 
7. After 1 hour, chop the food in half and flip. Place back in the oven and bake for 1 more hour. 
8. Once your slabs of dog food have baked for 2 hours, remove from the oven and chop into kibble sized pieces, appropriate for your dogs' size. 
9. Reduce the oven to 325 degrees F (162 degrees C) and bake the pieces for a further hour, until dry. 
10. Once thoroughly dried, allow the kibble to cool before feeding to your dog.

 

Turkey Dog Food, inspired by Pet Guide

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups split peas
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
Directions:
1. On medium-high heat, in a large pan, cook the turkey in the oil. Do not drain juices.
2. Add the water to the turkey, and bring to a boil.
3. Once boiling, turn the heat to low.
4. Add lentils, split peas, and rice and cover pot with a lid. Cook until softened. 
5. Add vegetables and cook an additional 5-7 minutes.
6. Mash slightly, and allow to cool before serving to your dog.

 

Vegetarian and Vegan Pet Food Brands 

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Wild Earth

Wild Earth is a vegan dog food brand. They are passionate about creating healthier dog food, which has less of an impact on the environment. The main source of protein in their food is yeast. They claim, "The protein generated by our yeast is of the highest quality and contains all 10 essential amino acids dogs need, so it's every bit as nutritious as meat-based protein, with none of the downsides." Their food contains no soy, corn, or rice. 

 

V-Dog

Opened in 2005, V-Dog is a family run business, based in San Fransico. Their driving force behind the brand is quality food, which doesn't impact the planet and for the welfare of all animals. They claim that a vegan diet for your dog is naturally hypoallergenic and easier to digest. Their primary source of protein comes from peas.  

 

Halo 

Halo is not a strictly vegan dog food brand. However, they offer an entire vegan range and won the 2018 VegNews award. They offer this food as an alternative for dogs who do either do not digest or are more sensitive to meat and dairy. The main source of protein in Halo pet foods comes from peas and chickpeas. Their recipe also does not include rice, so if your dog is sensitive to rice and you are looking for a vegan option, this could work great for you. 
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FAQs

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Can dogs eat red lentil pasta?
Usually, yes, once cooked and depending on the ingredients. If red lentil pasta is made 100% from red lentil flour, it should be fine for dogs. Usually, this flour is made from 100% ground dry lentils making it suitable for dogs once cooked.

 

Can dogs eat barley?
Yes, barley is harmless for dogs and can be used as a carbohydrate for energy.

 

Can dogs eat split peas?
Normally, yes. Split peas are a good source of protein. However, we don't recommend then as their primary protein source. Some dogs may also be sensitive to some vegetation, like peas, causing vomiting and diarrhea. 

 

Can dogs eat lentils safely?
Normally, yes. Lentils are not toxic to dogs, although some dogs may be more sensitive to lentils than others, which can cause stomach upset.

 

 

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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.

 

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