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Can Dogs Eat Lentils? Yes! Here’s How To Safely Feed Them

Key Takeaways

  • Cooked lentils are great human foods but they can also be safely added to a well-balanced diet for dogs in moderation.
  • Dogs eat lentils for added nutrition, including protein, fiber, and iron.
  • They can be a tasty addition to a dog’s food.
  • Lentils are low in fat and high in fiber, making them an excellent choice for a diabetic dog’s food or for weight management.
  • Adding cooked lentils in moderation to your dog’s meals can lower the risk of heart disease.

Like many dog owners, I have discovered that cooked lentils can be a great addition to my furry friends’ diet. When incorporated into a well-balanced meal, green lentils can safely provide my dogs with added nutrition, such as protein, fiber, and iron. Like other humans foods, I noticed that my dogs seem to enjoy the taste of lentils. Moreover, lentils are low in fat and high in fiber, making them an excellent choice for weight management.

Plus, introducing new foods into my dogs’ diets has helped to keep their meals interesting and prevent them from becoming bored with their food. Feeding lentils to my dogs has been rewarding as I see them enjoy a new food. It’s also a cost-effective and easy way to give my dogs a little extra nutrition without having to buy expensive supplements or specialized pet foods. As a dog owner with decades of experience, I highly recommend adding lentils in moderation to the dog’s meals to keep them healthy and satisfied.

So, can dogs eat lentils?

Lentils are typically seen as human food—but yes, dogs can eat lentils as part of their diet too. Giving dogs lentils can also provide extra protein as well as other essential nutrients. However, I recommend that these foods be cooked without spices and not be a large part of regular pet food. When preparing them, I first start by soaking lentils overnight—this makes it easier to cook. Proper preparation of lentils is important to remove toxins that may be harmful to dogs. I’ll discuss this further below.

Is it a good idea to give my dog lentils?

Are lentils good? Yes! Feeding lentils provide a great deal of both fiber and protein. In fact, just one cup of lentils gives a dog approximately eighteen grams of protein and sixteen grams of fiber. One cup of lentils provide about 230 calories, too. When it comes to minerals, lentils can provide iron, manganese, copper, folate, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. 

Lentils in a sack.

Other health benefits include a lower cholesterol as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure.

Furthermore, lentils include B1, B6, B5, and B3 vitamins. 

However, note that some dogs will experience some adverse effects from eating lentils. A study utilizing thirty-six dogs eat six different sources of starches in the diet including green lentils. It turns out that dogs have a low rate of digestibility for lentils.

In fact, the more dogs eat lentils, the more their digestive process will slow down; while some scientists observed that dogs experience both diarrhea and constipation from eating too many lentils. This is a bit ironic considering that lentils are a key ingredient in many homemade recipe for constipation, but just keep in mind the proper amount for your dog’s physiology, and you should be fine.

Lentils contain lectins which stimulate intestinal absorption. However, lectins can also cause bacteria to grow in the GI tract, which could lead to toxic effects in the dog. However, this ONLY happens when people feed raw lentils in large amounts. Therefore, it’s important that dogs eat lentils that have been properly prepared—that means soaked until the dryness is completely gone and cooked thoroughly to be perfectly safe for dogs. As long as you feed lentils in small numbers once or twice a week, then there’s no need to worry about this adverse effect in dog food.

So how do I properly prepare the lentils to ensure that my dog doesn’t get lectins in her system?

Remember, the lentils MUST be soaked properly and then cooked thoroughly to ensure that lectins do not inhibit proper digestion and possibly lead to bacterial growth in the dog’s intestinal tract. 

The easiest recipe for lentils that dogs eat is as follows: 

  • 3 parts water
  • one part dry lentils
  • (If you are preparing one cup of lentils, then use three cups of water for this recipe.)
  1. I start by rinsing the dry lentils. Put them in a colander and use cool water to wash away any possible debris and dirt on the lentils. 
  2. Cook lentils by placing the rinsed legumes into a large pan (I would recommend a larger boiler for this) and cover them with three cups of water. Bring the water and lentils to a boil. 
  3. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, reduce it to a low temperature and cover the boiler. Keep the boiler covered for ten to thirty minutes. I always make sure they are SOFT before I serve them to the pooch. The time that it takes to cook lentils until they become soft will depend on the variety of the lentil. Mix with dog food or the typical dog’s diet.

Pro-tip: For optimum health benefits in what my dogs eat, I always follow directions on the bag to cook lentils. If the directions on the bag instruct you to boil them for thirty minutes and then cover them for an hour, do so. 

There are several grain-free dog foods (and other human foods!) recipes that integrate lentils. Notably, some dog food delivery services also create fresh meals using lentils good for dogs.

What are the benefits of feeding my dog cooked lentils?

1. Feeding a dog with diabetes [1] lentils can actually help to get its blood sugar levels under control. Lentils naturally contain a low amount of sugar. Experts say they are a “perfect food to add to a diabetic dog’s diet.” 

Not only is the lentil nutritionally good for Fido, but the protein and dietary fiber are great for Fido’s overall health. The protein helps Fido build and maintain strong muscles; the fiber helps to move food and waste through his digestive tract. Plus, lentils help a dog to feel less hungry. 

Of course, I always recommend consulting with a vet first when it comes to the number of lentils to add to a diabetic dog’s diet.

2. Lentils provide lots of energy for Fido. 

Lentils are a wonderful source of iron and protein in dog foods. Iron helps to give the dog energy to get and remain active. Protein helps to build and maintain muscles. Iron helps to produce blood; it is integral to hemoglobin in the blood, and it helps to move oxygen from the cells of the body to the lungs. Iron also promotes proper metabolism functioning. 

3. Lentils are a “superfood.” 

Like blueberries, lentils can actually provide several health benefits that are good for dogs and can extend their life. Of course, I’m not speaking from experience – but reports are definitely promising.

Lentils are one of the best high-fiber foods for dogs. This is an extremely important nutrient for dogs, and it is an integral part of a dog’s daily diet. Lentils are also packed with dietary fiber which can help lower bad cholesterol as well as put blood pressure within healthy levels.

Person cooking lentils.

Once a meal has been consumed, lentils can help to keep blood sugars level. This is great for diabetic dogs, but it is also important for dogs that do not have diabetes. In addition, lentils help to make our dogs feel full faster. They may lose weight while consuming lentils, but, because this food contains so many vitamins and essential nutrients, they won’t be missing out on food that is crucial to promoting their health. 

Finally, lentils help to prevent certain diseases due to the presence of antioxidants in the food. The most important mineral found in lentils is selenium. What can selenium do for dogs? Well, it prevents inflammation for one thing. For my arthritic dogs, the selenium in lentils can help to lessen the painful inflammation of joint pain—like a natural joint supplement for dogs. This makes it perfect for dogs experiencing arthritis. Selenium also improves the dog’s immune system response and helps reduce the growth of tumors. Are lentils good by themselves? Not really – you’d want them combined with other food products.

What other considerations should I ponder before feeding dogs lentils?

Usually, as long as lentils are prepared properly, they are a great source of iron, dietary fiber, and protein for dogs. Diabetic dogs will also find lentils beneficial for overall health. Note though that even after proper preparation, dogs eat lentils subject to several guidelines.

First, some lentils can cause dogs to become gassy. Yes, some dogs are already prone to flatulence, but lentils can cause an uncomfortable amount of gas that can leave Fido feeling miserable. You’ll find that lentil as human food also has the same effect.

Some dogs are simply not built to eat lentils. This is an issue because there’s no specific breed that should or shouldn’t eat lentils. There are dogs that will have more of a reaction; they will not only experience this bloated, gassy feeling but they will also have an upset stomach, diarrhea, and nausea. I suggest dog owners introduce lentils slowly and then assessing the dog’s response to the new diet.

Be careful when buying lentils. Some will have added spices and perhaps salt as a preservative. I always purchase all-natural ones without added salt and spices. Do not let dogs eat lentil soup from cans since this usually has garlic or onion. Homemade lentil soup may be possible as long as the lentil soup is made without garlic or onion.


1. Why are lentils bad for dogs?

Lentils are actually good for dogs when prepared correctly. However, eating lentils that have not been cleaned and cooked thoroughly have the potential to cause serious digestive issues in a dog. Lentils that aren’t cooked properly can cause bacterial growth in the digestive tract; this can be detrimental to a dog’s health. 

2. Are lentils good for dogs to eat?

Yes, lentils are very good for your dog provided that dog owners cook them fully. Raw lentils contain lectins that can remain in the GI tract, and they can cause bacteria to grow in the intestinal tract. However, lentils are considered a “superfood” that has so many benefits for dogs. Lentils can help to promote healthy blood sugar numbers, prevent heart disease, and promote digestive health. The key to lentils is preparing them properly. 

3. How many lentils can a dog eat?

Most experts generally recommend one cup of lentils added per meal for dogs. However, it may not be so healthy to feed your dog lentils everyday. Veterinary opinion is still best when it comes to figuring out how many lentils and how often they can be served to dogs as part of a natural and healthy diet. 

4. Do lentils make dogs sick?

Are lentils bad for dogs? No. But when not prepared properly, lentils can make dogs sick. However, if prepared properly—this means cooking the lentil until it is soft—then lentils can actually be quite healthy for dogs. Again, check with the vet as to how much a dog should eat and how often she should eat lentils.

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