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My dogs love green beans. I love green beans. But this isn't something that I would have thought to add to my dogs' diet until a veterinarian recommended it for Sydney to help her lose weight. Today, green beans are a regular part of my dogs' raw food diet and, in this blog post, I explain why.
Nutrients in Green Beans
Green beans are a great source of the following vitamins and minerals, however, before you fill your dog's dish with green beans, ask yourself how bio-available these nutrients for our dogs.
- Vitamins A, C, and K
So, are these nutrients bioavailable? Some people say “no,” that our dogs don't have enough cellulase (the enzyme that helps digest vegetables) in their system. I've also learned, over the years, that if we break the cellular wall of the vegetables we feed to our dogs, we make the nutrients available for absorption. This is why I puree or ferment vegetables for my dogs. Who's right about vegetable or dogs? Who knows anymore. Everyone has an opinion and based on my research, I believe vegetables are beneficial for dogs.
Why I Add Green Beans to My Dogs' Raw Diet
I prefer fresh green beans to canned green beans, however, I will add canned green beans for some situations.
So, what are the situations? Why do I add green beans to my dogs' raw diet?
1 – Green Beans Add Fiber and Support Gut Health
I add green beans and other vegetables to my dogs' raw diet because they are a great source of fiber. The best source of fiber is animal fur, but other than rabbit ear treats that my dogs occasionally get, I don't feed a lot of animal pelt, so the next best thing, from what I've learned would be vegetables.
I've learned to place a priority on supporting my dogs' gut health because 80% of the immune system lives in the gut, a healthy gut is able to absorb more nutrients, and my dogs that have a healthy gut have fewer health issues.
2 – Green Beans Add Antioxidants to the Diet
Some say that 50% of dogs will develop cancer in their lifetime. That means that at least two of my dogs will develop cancer. The percentage is higher in senior dogs and I have two senior dogs. This freaks me out so I want to make sure that I'm doing everything I can to prevent cancer and keep my dogs healthy.
Antioxidants may help to protect the cells in our dogs' from free radicals, which our dogs are exposed to in the toxic environment in which they lived, being fed a highly-processed diet, and being subjected to over-vaccination. I would love to believe that by riding our home and property of as many toxins as possible, feeding a diet of fresh food, and being conservative about vaccinations will protect my dogs, but there isn't a full-proof way to beat cancer. So I do the best I can.
3 – Green Beans Supports Weight Loss
I have two dogs that are overweight (but losing steadily) and green beans have helped to facilitate their weight loss. I replace a portion of their meal (about 10% with green beans to help them feel full). When I realized that I was overfeeding my dogs, I used green beans to decrease their meal without them realizing that mommy was cheating their bowls.
Sometimes I added fresh green beans, but there were times that I used low sodium canned green beans.
4 Easy Ways to Add Green Beans to Your Dogs' Raw Diet
1 – Create a Veggie Mix
The easiest way to add green beans to your dogs' diet is to puree them and add them to the bowl. I like the idea of adding green beans along with other healthy vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, collard greens, cabbage, and asparagus.
To do this on a regular basis, it's important to have a really good blender. The best one costs $400 at Costco, it blends vegetables into a juice in seconds. But I don't have a spare $400 lying around so I bought the best blender that I could afford. I might look for something better on Black Friday.
If you're adding green beans solely for weight loss or a treat, you can just chop them up into small pieces and mix into your dog's dish. Some believe that chopping vegetables breaks the cellular wall, thereby making the nutrients bioavailable. Others believe that this isn't enough and the vegetables need to be pureed.
2 – Ferment Vegetables
Fermenting vegetables is easy too, but there is a time element that prevents you from adding the vegetables to the food right away. In the summer, I ferment for 10 days, in the winter it's 20 days. Fermenting vegetables allows me to add nutrients to the diet as well as a natural source of probiotics.
3 – Blanching Vegetables
Another way to break the cellular wall of green beans is to blanch them, which means that you cook them in a pot of boiling hot water for about two minutes. I like to do this in the wintertime to add the green beans to my dogs' meals along with some bone broth. They love it.
4 – Dehydrated Green Beans
If you have a dehydrator, consider making green bean treats for your dog. These are easy to make and you can get creative by sprinkling a meal topper (I prefer Dr. Becker's Bites appetite flakes) over the green beans to give them a more tempting flavor for your dog.
For Dogs that Don't Like Green Beans
I hear from people who have dogs that don't like green beans (or other vegetables) and there are a couple of things you can do if your dog isn't a fan of the green:
- Mix the green beans (or other vegetables) with bone broth. I leave the meat in my bone broth and mixing it with vegetables is a yummy treat for my dogs. I feed it warm in the winter and as a frozen treat in the summer.
- Mix the green beans (or other vegetables) with green tripe. Green tripe is a food that may tempt the pickiest of eaters.
- Mix the green beans (or other vegetables) with liver. My dogs love liver and, on occasion, I'll cook them a big beef liver or chicken liver and they go nuts as they smell the treat. Blending it up with vegetables and creating a frozen treat or meal topper is always a hit.