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healthy canine living

What you need to know about the green bean diet for dogs

With supplements, it’s a healthy way to help your dog lose weight

Updated June 4, 2020

Created By

Madison Blancaflor,

The essentials

  • It’s helpful for weight loss but lacks certain nutrition. The green bean diet gradually replaces a portion of your dog’s current dog food with green beans, which are low in calories and high in fiber, to help them lose weight. While this diet might be successful in helping your dog trim pounds, it might also cause a nutritional imbalance in your pup’s diet.
  • Always check with your vet first. Green beans are great as a healthy treat or snack for pups, but make sure to talk through any major dietary changes such as trying the green bean diet with your vet before putting your dog on a weight loss plan.

What is the green bean diet for dogs?

You might be asking “can dogs eat green beans?” Yes. In fact, the green bean diet can be a great way to help overweight dogs reach a healthy weight. The plan is that you replace a gradually increasing portion of your dog’s regular food with green beans. First, you’ll start by replacing around 10% of your dog’s diet. After two or three days, you’ll start replacing 20% with green beans. You continue this pattern until 50% of your dog’s food is green beans.

After your dog reaches your goal weight, you start to slowly wean your pup back to eating the recommended amount of dog food with green beans being used as a supplement or treat.

Green beans are low-calorie and very high in fiber. Fiber causes your dog to feel fuller faster and for longer, which can help curb overeating habits. However, there are a few potential risks to consider alongside the advantages of the diet

Summary: How to put your dog on the green bean diet

  1. Replace 10% of your dog’s food volume with green beans.
  2. After two or three days, up the percentage of green beans to 20%.
  3. Continue that pattern until your dog’s diet is 50% green beans.
  4. Once your dog reaches the desired weight, reduce the volume of beans by 10% every one or two days until your dog is completely weaned.

What type of green beans are safe for dogs?

👉 Most green beans are safe for dogs as long as they are plain — frozen, chopped, steamed, raw. Stay away from canned green beans because they usually have high levels of salt. 

Never pick green beans out of a frozen or homecooked meal unless you know exactly what ingredients were used. Certain ingredients and seasonings can make your beans less healthy — and even dangerous. Here are scenarios to avoid:

  • Canned beans with added salt
  • Green beans cooked with any type of oils or spices
  • Green beans cooked with garlic and onions, which are harmful to dogs
  • Feeding large, whole green beans to dogs, which can be a choking hazard

Pros of the green bean diet

  • Green beans are packed with fiber. Like in humans, added fiber helps dogs feel fuller faster to help curb their appetite.
  • Dogs typically like green beans. This means you likely won’t have to fight with your pup about eating them rather than their normal food.
  • Green beans are filled with important vitamins and minerals. This includes protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K.
  • Green beans are low in calories. Even though they pack a ton of nutrients, green beans are not a high-calorie food.

Cons of the green bean diet

Potential for nutritional deficiencies. According to PetMD, green beans are not an adequate replacement for the specially-formulated dog food mixes. “Although weight loss patients are fed the calories appropriate for their ideal target weight, they still need amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals for their present weight.” When you replace so much of your dog’s food with green beans, your pub could start missing out on important nutrients not found in green beans.

A diet may not be the solution for your dog’s weight gain. Weight changes in dogs can indicate more serious health problems, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and more. It’s not advised to put a pup on a weight loss program such as the green bean diet without consulting a vet first to ensure the only issues are overeating or inadequate exercise.

Remember: It’s easy to find people who claim the green bean diet was successful in helping their overweight dog. But there are potential risks that you should consider as well. If you do decide to try the green bean diet, consider adding in vet-approved supplements to help make up some of the lost nutrients.

green beans on a counter

Using green beans as a treat

While the green bean diet may not be the best weight loss solution for your pup, they do make a great supplement to an already sufficient diet. They also make a great low-calorie and highly nutritious dog treats since they’re so tasty.

Consider replacing high-calorie sweet treats with natural green beans, which could help your dog lose weight or maintain a healthy weight without causing a nutritional imbalance.

Other fruits and veggies to supplement your dog’s nutritional needs

Green beans aren’t the only natural food you can try. Here are some of the best organic produce that can be used as low-calorie, highly nutritious snacks, treats, and supplements. For a comprehensive list, read our guide on human foods that are good and bad for dogs.

Great low-calorie produce for dogs

  • Apples. These are high in protein, low in fat and a good source of vitamins and fiber.
  • Bananas. They are high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are great as a treat but high in sugar, so bananas are better only in moderation.
  • Blueberries. They are rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage. Like green beans, this fruit is also full of fiber to help curb appetites.
  • Brussels sprouts. This veggie is filled with nutrients and antioxidants. Keep in mind that they can cause gas, though.
  • Carrots. These are an excellent low-calorie, high-fiber snack. They are also great for your dog’s teeth.
  • Celery. Celery is filled with lots of vitamins, plus nutrients needed for a healthy heart. It’s also known to freshen your pup’s breath