Can Dogs Eat Peas? Here's the Scoop on the Legume
There are a lot of peas out there, from canned and snap peas to black-eyed and chickpeas. But if you're looking through your pantry and wondering if your dog can share your go-to side dish, don't assume all pea varieties impact your pup the same way. Some are better for your fur baby than others. So before you crack open that can, take note on which types of peas dogs can eat—and which you should keep far from paw's reach.
Are Peas Good or Bad for Dogs?
For the most part, peas can safely be part of your pooch's diet, says Antje Beth-Joslin, DVM at Dogtopia. The veggie is a good source of fiber, protein, and several vitamins—but how they're packaged and prepared can make a difference in just how healthy they are for your dog.
What Kinds of Peas Can Dogs Eat?
Canned peas tend to be high in sodium (aka salt), and too much salt isn't healthy for Fido. While you can let your dog munch on fresh peas, Beth-Joslin says to steer clear of the canned variety—it's just too much salt. If you want to give your dog canned peas, search your local grocery store for options with no added salt.
Beth-Joslin says frozen peas are safe for dogs, but the peas should be the only ingredient in the package. Avoid frozen peas with butter, sauces, or added sodium.
"[Snap peas] are a good source of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber, and contain several important vitamins and minerals," Beth-Joslin says. "However, they are being studied for a role they may or may not play in a certain type of heart disease that affects dogs." So if you want to add peas to your pup's diet, it's best to opt for another pea variety.
Black-eyed peas are safe for dogs to consume and are a "source of protein, carbohydrate, and fiber and contain several important vitamins," Beth-Joslin says.
Jacqueline Brister, DVM and consultant at Embrace Pet Insurance, says chickpeas are a potential source of novel protein and carbohydrates for dogs that have food allergies to more common sources of carbohydrates or protein. However, she says chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) have "been implicated in diet-related canine dilated cardiomyopathy. Thus, chickpeas should not be used as the dog's primary source of carbohydrates (i.e. in grain-free diets) without discussing the diet change with the dog's veterinarian first."
Like chickpeas, Brister says split peas are a potential source of novel protein and carbohydrates for dogs with food allergies. But, again like chickpeas, split peas have also been implicated in diet-related canine dilated cardiomyopathy.
"Any over-the-counter diets with either split peas or chickpeas as the grain-free source of carbohydrate should be researched and ensured that Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards of nutritional adequacy are met and that a veterinary nutritionist was involved in formulation," Brister says.
As for whole pea pods, Brister says these can be eaten in small amounts and recommends them as a potentially good low-calorie snack for pups struggling with a healthy weight.
How to Prep Peas for Your Dog
Brister recommends cooking chickpeas, split peas, and black-eyed peas before feeding them to your pooch. These peas shouldn't be fed to your dog in dry form. They don't necessarily need to be served to your pet warm; they just should be cooked thoroughly and soft—not crunchy—before feeding. Other varieties of peas (like fresh, frozen, or pea pods) do not need to be cooked before sharing with your pup.
Never season or add oils, butter, or other flavorings to peas before serving them to your dog. Brister also says to get veterinary approval before feeding your pet any type of pea, as they may unbalance other essential nutrients in the diet.
What Other Veggies Can You Serve Your Dog?
Peas aren't the only greens you can give to your dog. Here are some other goodies he can have as a snack:
Brister says that, no matter the vegetable, snacks should be cut small enough so they can be easily chewed and swallowed. And, as always, make sure to talk to your vet before changing your pup's diet.