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Green beans: the healthy treat for dogs

Green beans: the healthy treat for dogsGiving too much manufactured treats to dogs is not good for our pet’s health, we have been told many times.

We look for healthier alternatives to treats we usually get from pet stores because for many of us,  giving treats is an important part of our daily interaction with our dogs.

Green beans: the healthy treat for dogs
Starla loves to laze around the garden, just feeling the grass under her body. To ensure she does not gain excess weight, we have lessened her intake of manufactured treats. She is given vegetables for treats these days. Starla was a stray dog who begged for food in a subdivision in Quezon City before she was rescued by Save Animals of Love and Light (Save ALL Inc.), an animal welfare group. 
Green beans may be the low-calorie substitute we have been looking for, said Anna Burke, in “Can Dogs Have Green Beans?” in the American Kennel Club website.

Are green beans safe?

Green beans are safe for dogs as long as they are plain when given to dogs, said Burke.

“Chopped, steamed, raw, or canned—all types of green beans are safe for dogs to eat, as long as they are plain. Green beans themselves are not only safe for dogs, veterinarians also recommend them as a healthy treat.  Best of all, dogs seem to love them,” Burke said.

But adding other ingredients to beans is less healthy and even dangerous, warned Burke.  

Are green beans healthy?

Yes, green beans are healthy as they are full of important vitamins and minerals. These are protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K. This vegetable is also full of fiber and low in calories, which can help make dogs and humans feel full when they are dieting.

“Your dog does not necessarily need these extra nutrients, if he is already eating a complete and balanced commercial diet, but it is nice to know that green beans offer a nutritional alternative to dog biscuits — and can make us feel less guilty about cutting out unhealthy treats and scraps from our dogs’ diets,” Burke said.

Green beans and losing weight

Burke stressed that most owners do not realize their pet is overweight. This oversight is bad for our dogs, she said.

“Obesity leads to a long list of health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, orthopedic problems, heart disease, kidney disease, and some cancers. To make things worse, carrying those extra pounds around can decrease your dog’s life expectancy up to 2 years. Since we get so little time with our dogs to begin with, losing 2 years is a big deal,” Burke said.

It is important that our obese dogs lose weight.

“Giving green beans as a treat in place of conventional biscuits can help your dog lose weight, as long as you are also taking action to increase his exercise and moderate his regular diet. Feeding green beans will not help your dog lose weight if he is not getting enough exercise and is consuming inappropriate calories for his age, breed,  and lifestyle,” said Burke.

The Green Bean Diet

This must be done with the supervision and recommendation of a vet.

“This diet plan gradually substitutes green beans in place of a percentage of a dog’s food. For example, an owner starts out by supplementing 10 percent of the volume of her dog’s regular meal with green beans, and increases the percentage over time up to 50 percent, until the dog reaches its target weight. Then the owner gradually reintroduces the regular food back into the dog’s diet,” Burke explained.

The dog may have an underlying medical condition that a vet has to address before going through any kind of diet plan.

“To begin with, dogs that gain weight suddenly or have difficulty losing weight despite exercise and diet restrictions could have a serious health condition, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease,” said Burke.

You need your vet’s guidance to ensure there is no nutritional imbalance and deficiencies in your dog’s diet.  Consult your vet for  the best dog food and wellness plan for your dog.

Green beans as a healthy treat

Green beans can not be a major source of vitamins and nutrition. But it is the perfect, healthy treat, said Burke.

Green beans: the healthy treat for dogs
Popoy is gaining weight so he is  encouraged to roam more in the garden, with a caretaker playing with him so that he will move more. Just like Starla, he gets boiled veggies for treats  most times. A vegetable is not only a healthy treat but it is also less expensive. Popoy was rescued by Save ALL Inc. when he was 10- days old and about to be brought to the pound to be killed or euthanized.
“If, however, you are just looking for a healthy, low-calorie treat to feed Fido, green beans are an excellent option. As with any treat, try not to exceed 10 percent of your dog’s daily diet, and watch for any signs of stomach upset or allergic reactions,” Burke said.  

Topics: American Kennel Club , pets health , Anna Burke
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