Can Dogs Eat Lima Beans Or Are They Best Avoided?
Lima beans are one of the most popular legumes in the world. There are many varieties of them and they vary from being very small to being large. Some types have been cultivated since ancient times. The beans come in different colors such as white, red, yellow, green and black.
The beans are usually cooked with other ingredients like onions or spices. These flavors make the bean taste delicious when eaten together with meat dishes. However, there are some varieties which do not contain any flavor at all and these ones are called “naked” beans because their texture is similar to that of flour.
There are two kinds of naked beans: wild and domesticated. Wild beans are those which grow naturally in the area where they were grown. For example, the wild type of chickpeas are found in India.
Domesticated beans have been bred to produce larger amounts of protein than their natural counterparts. This means that they have had their seeds removed and/or have had their outer layers (the hull) removed so that the contents can be easily digested by humans.
While lima beans are usually served as a main dish, they can also be eaten as a side dish at the same time. They can be eaten on their own or they can be mashed and formed into patties just like potatoes or other root vegetables are. Lima beans are low in fat and high in several minerals such as iron and phosphorus.
They are also high in fiber so they can help you to stay full for longer (1).
Lima beans taste delicious because they are usually cooked with other ingredients like onions or spices. They can also be eaten raw and the raw ones can be added to pastas, salads, casseroles and many other types of dishes. These are the most common ways in which lima beans are served (2).
Can Dogs Eat Lima Beans Or Are They Best Avoided
Lima beans are not toxic to dogs, however, some types of lima beans may cause other medical problems. This is why it is important to know which type of lima bean your dog has consumed before you take any further steps (3).
Lima bean types, such as the baby lima beans, contain small amounts of toxins such as cyanide within their seeds. These toxins are usually not enough to cause serious illnesses in humans and animals, however, eating too many of these beans can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and even diarrhea (4).
The best way to treat a dog who has eaten a large amount of the wrong lima bean is to induce vomiting and then follow up with activated charcoal. Veterinarians also recommend giving affected dogs some activated charcoal every twelve hours for three days following the incident. If the dog has not vomited by this point, it is best to visit a veterinarian immediately (5).
What Kinds Of Lima Beans Can Dogs Eat
Dogs can eat both types of lima beans: large and small. Large lima beans are also called as butter beans and they have a mild taste which makes most people like them. Large lima beans are readily available in most grocery stores, farmers markets and speciality food shops.
These beans can be eaten cooked or uncooked and they can taste delicious if you add other ingredients like onions or spices.
While cooking the large lima beans makes them softer and easier to digest, it also removes some of their nutrition. The main benefit of cooking the large lima beans is that it makes them taste better and it increases their nutritional value. Large lima beans can be acquired in many different colors such as green, white or even purple.
This is why they taste delicious when mixed with other ingredients as each bean can have its own unique flavor (6).
Small lima beans are also known as butter beans, however, the name butter bean is also used to refer to large lima beans. Small lima beans have a very mild and earthy taste and it is this taste which makes them popular among most people. These beans can also be eaten cooked or uncooked and they can taste delicious if you add other ingredients like onions or spices.
While cooking the small lima beans makes them softer and easier to digest, it also removes some of their nutrition. The main benefit of cooking the small lima beans is that it makes them taste better and it increases their nutritional value. Like the large lima beans, small lima beans can be acquired in many different colors such as green, white or even purple.
This is why they taste delicious when mixed with other ingredients as each bean can have its own unique flavor (7).
What Are The Advantages Of Lima Beans For Dogs
Lima beans have several health benefits for both humans and animals. They are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol and also contain good amounts of dietary fiber, protein and carbohydrates. They are very high in several vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B1, phosphorus, magnesium and copper.
While some animals are able to produce their own vitamin C, dogs cannot do this and require it in their diet. The small amount of vitamin C in lima beans helps to prevent doginflammation (8).
Lima beans are also very low in sodium and because of this they can help to reduce blood pressure levels. While it is not known how much of an impact this has on animals, it certainly can’t hurt. Lima beans also have some anti-cancer properties and this is mainly due to their high levels of phytoestrogens (9).
What Are The Disadvantages Of Lima Beans For Dogs
While lima beans do have several health benefits, they also have several risks which means they should only be fed in moderation. Lima beans are very high in carbohydrates and because of this they should not make up more than ten percent of your dog’s daily diet.
Even though they have less calories than most other beans, too much consumption of lima beans can still cause weight gain. They are also very high in starch and this, when combined with the carbohydrates can lead to some digestive issues and increased production of gas (10).
How Much Lima Beans Does My Dog Need Each Day?
Lima beans are only suitable for adult dogs and not puppies or adult dogs which are still growing. The daily amount of lima beans recommended is around one fourth to one half a cup. This may seem like a large amount, but it really isn’t when you consider how inexpensive they are to buy.
All dogs like the taste of lima beans so there is really no need to measure them out or try to disguise them in food your dog eats on a daily basis. If you find that your dog is eating all of their lima beans then don’t worry, there are a few things you can do. The first thing you can do is only add a small amount of lima beans to their food each day and increase the amount slowly over a period of time.
You can also combine the lima beans with other healthy foods like carrots or bananas which will increase the calories in their diet while still providing the nutrients they need.
How Should I Store Lima Beans Before Use?
Lima beans are prone to several insect and mite infestations. Because of this they should always be stored away in air tight containers in a dark, cool place. Never store them in clear containers or they will spoil quickly. If you buy them in bulk, make sure you also keep them in sealed bags or other containers out of direct light.
Lima beans should be kept for no longer than one month. After this time they will have decreased in both nutritional value and flavor.
Can Dogs Eat Lima Beans The Same Way They Eat Table Scraps?
There is nothing wrong with giving dogs table scraps every once in awhile, but when it comes to feeding your dog lima beans you should only feed them as part of their regular diet.
Giving dogs foods which have a high sugar and carbohydrate content, such as table scraps, on a regular basis can lead to several serious health issues. These include obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and more (11).
Lima beans are not suitable for puppies and young dogs who are still growing as they have been shown to cause the bones in these animals to thicken and harden.
What Other Foods Shouldn’t Dogs Eat?
As we’ve already seen, young dogs shouldn’t eat large quantities of lima beans. There are also several other foods which shouldn’t be given to dogs on a daily basis and should only be given as an occasional treat:
Alcohol – even small amounts of alcohol can cause vomiting and depression. In larger quantities it can cause the collapse of major organs, mental impairment, coma, and even death (12, 13).
Onions, chives and garlic – even though these are related to onions, you should never feed your dog these foods. The vegetables themselves are toxic and even the sprouts from these plants can cause tear production and redness of the skin (14).
Sugar – while sugar in small amounts won’t harm your dog, it won’t do them any good either. White refined sugars have been linked to obesity, diabetes and other problems (15).
Salt – while a little salt won’t hurt your dog, large quantities of it can lead to health issues. The biggest risk is that, over time, the excess salt can cause your dog’s kidneys to fail (16).
Nuts – like seeds, nuts are high in fat and can cause digestive issues and obesity if your dog eats too many (17).
Chocolate – while this isn’t suitable for dogs, in large enough quantities it’s deadly. The theobromine and caffeine in chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, seizures and even death (18).
Yeast – while there is a big debate about whether or not yeast is beneficial or harmful to your dog, it’s generally considered to be a safe ingredient. That said, there are much better tasting and healthier foods out there so there’s no need to risk it (19).
What Else Should I Know?
There is a grain called amaranth, which many mistakenly believe to be a type of rice. However, it’s not a type of rice at all but rather an entirely different species. Some grains are toxic to dogs, so you should never feed your dog this food item (20).
It can be difficult to determine whether or not any given bean is toxic to your dog as there are several varieties which are perfectly safe while others can cause significant health issues and even death. If you suspect that your dog has eaten something it shouldn’t have, take it to the vet immediately (21).
The type of bean that your dog eats can significantly change the health risks that it faces. The most common bean-related problems are from raw, dried beans. However, these aren’t the only potential issues.
Cooked or canned beans don’t cause the same problems, so if you’re worried about this then stick to these instead (22).
Some dogs are more prone to bean-related health issues than others. These problems occur when there is a deficiency in the digestive enzyme, alpha-galactosidase (23).
So, Can Dogs Eat Lima Beans Or Are They Best Avoided?
Lima beans can be eaten by dogs as part of their diet. They don’t pose any major health risk to dogs if they’re cooked properly and in moderation, but it’s not a substance that most canines would choose to eat on their own.
If you want to feed your dog some lima beans, it’s best to do so in small quantities. Also, when cooking them for your dog, be sure to avoid the potential health risks by boiling them and ensuring that the water doesn’t become discolored.
There are many other types of beans that your dog can eat, from black beans to lentils. If your furry friend doesn’t like lima beans, then you’re free to experiment with other options.
Just be sure to avoid the bad kinds of beans, especially the raw or dried ones as these can be seriously toxic to your dog.
There are also many potential benefits to feeding your dog beans. They’re full of fiber and nutrients that can help keep your dog healthy.
As long as you take the time to find out what’s best for your dog, it’s a type of food that can be given on a regular basis as a treat.
If you want to give your dog something different to try then you can, but there’s no need to worry about whether or not it’s going to harm him.
As long as you pay attention to the basic safety instructions and use your own common sense, there isn’t anything here that should cause you any concern.
Just remember, that feeding your dog beans isn’t something that needs to happen on a regular basis. It should be seen as a treat, not as a replacement for its regular food.
Thanks for reading!
Sources & references used in this article:
- Biochemical evaluation of lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus) in alloxan-induced diabetic rats (OR Johnson, SL Isaac, OO Michael… – ARPN Journal of …, 2013 – academia.edu)
- The availability of food folate in man (T Tamura, ELR Stokstad – British Journal of Haematology, 1973 – Wiley Online Library)
- Significance for humans of biologically active factors in soybeans and other food legumes (I Liener – Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 1979 – Springer)