Lentils are a great source of nutrition for dogs when combined with other ingredients. Can dogs eat lentils is a question most pet owners will ask at one point when making homemade dog food recipes.
Yes! Dogs can absolutely eat lentils as long as they are cooked properly! They need to be soaked ahead of time and then boiled, to make sure that you are removing as many of the lectins as possible. Lectins? Yup. Lectins are present in raw legumes and they interfere with the digestion in dogs (Dolan et al., 2010). Your dog would have to have a really huge portion of RAW lentils EVERY day for a long time to have any issues, so as long as you cook them and feed them to your pup with other foods your dog will be just fine. In fact, lentils are one of the most healthy things you can even feed your dog!
Are Lentils Healthy for Dogs?
Here are some amazing health benefits of feeding lentils to your pup:
- Lower Cholesterol – Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fiber.
- Heart Health – Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health.
- Digestive Health – Insoluble dietary fiber found in lentils is prebiotic fiber which feeds the good bacteria in your dog’s gut and helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
- Stabilized Blood Sugar – soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. These beans have low sugar content and are combined with their nutritional content.
- Good Protein – Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein.
- Increases Energy – Lentils are a good source of iron that gives your dog the energy he needs to be happy, healthy, and active regularly.
- Weight Loss – One cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, but will leave your pup feeling full and satisfied so they won’t be looking for table scraps
Lentils are also known to help to prevent certain diseases due to the amount of antioxidants and minerals like B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. One important mineral found in lentils is selenium which prevents inflammation and improves the dog’s immune system. Selenium is also known to reduce the growth of tumors.
How to Cook Lentils for Dogs
To cook lentils for dogs, you first want to make sure that you soak your raw lentils in water for at least an hour. After soaking, lentils can be boiled in water or broth. There is no need to add salt or other spices. Dogs should not have any additional spices added to their foods – their food should be flavored with other food only.
When I am making dog food recipes, I like to use sweet ingredients filled with vitamins to flavor the food such as carrots, sweet potatoes, peas or apples. These are all very versatile and can be switched around in almost any dog food recipe. Here is a basic dog food recipe you can make at home on the stove or in your instant pot.
Instant Pot Dog Food Recipe
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 can chickpeas or 1 cup dried beans, soaked overnight
- 3 medium carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and chopped
- 4 cups water
- 1 lb ground turkey (optional)
- Put everything except the ground turkey into the instant pot, if using. If using stovetop, add to large pot and set to boil.
- Set instant pot to high pressure for 20 minutes and let cook. Allow the pot to release the steam naturally.
- Meanwhile, brown the ground turkey in a separate frying pan and set aside.
- When the lentil mixture has finished, stir in the ground turkey and mix well. Let cool before serving it to your pup. Store in the refrigerator as you would leftovers, heating before serving. Homemade dog food can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can freeze for 3-4 months.
**Note – If you make a large batch, you can take small portions of the dog food and put it in small baggies and store in larger freezer bags in the freezer and use as desired.