There are many questions asked about feeding vegetables to dogs, and one of the most common is can dogs eat peas?
Peas are one of the most common additions to the plates of humans that want their five a day, but is it safe to assume that these simple vegetables can be added to dog food too? It is certainly far too easy to flick a few off the table and into the dog bowl.
Are there any hidden dangers to peas in a dog’s diet or are they perhaps more beneficial and healthy for our canine friends than we first expect?
In this guide on peas for dogs, we will look at different aspects of the issue to determine whether or not it is a good idea to feed these little vegetables to your pet.
We will start by looking into the potential health benefits and risks to weigh up the pros and cons of different components and nutrients. From there, the guide will look at the types of peas that can be fed to dogs and the different ways of preparing them to see if some methods are better than others.
Before a final verdict is made, the issues of contamination from other vegetables and shells and pods will be discussed as well. So, can dogs have peas, or are they best left alone?
The potential health benefits of green peas for dogs:
The first question that many dog owners will want answered here is whether there really are any health benefits to be gained from adding peas to dog food.
Are peas good for dogs, or is this an incorrect assumption based on our own diets?
The good news here is that there appears to be a number of potential benefits that can be gained from feeding peas to dogs. Some are familiar to us vegetable eaters and some may be more of a surprise.
While many dog owners will focus on the vitamin and mineral content of peas and this potential for dieting, there are additional health benefits to peas that dogs can also benefit from.
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One of the most interesting is the fibre content. The fibre content of peas means that they are no longer seen as empty filler food but have additional purposes beyond providing vitamins and minerals.
Fibre is essential in a dog’s diet for healthy digestion and regularity, but it can also help to make the dogs feel fuller for longer, essentially making a small, ingredient rich portion of food seem like a great, filling meal. Your dog could be more satisfied and healthier with a few peas in the diet.
The knock on effect here is the fact that these foods can provide a great source of nutrient rich food while dogs are dieting.
If you have a dog that snacks too much because it is chasing food throughout the day, or that has had their portion sizes reduced in order to slim down, food with fibre-rich vegetables such as peas can be a great idea.
This means that they are less likely to go off looking for snacks because they are still hungry and you can be sure that their new portions provide a great blend of nutrients.
Peas are known to contain the following:
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- Vitamins B, E and K
The latter two are said to be helpful in maintaining eye health, which could be useful for older dogs where you are trying to protect their sight and prevent any deterioration.
Vitamins B and K are great for bone health, which is again especially good in later life, flavonoids are great for helping with the ageing process in humans – with similar effects seen in dogs – and there is little need to highlight the need for great antioxidants like polyphenol, which is linked to cancer prevention.
Are there any potential dangers?
The problem with the question of are peas good for dogs is that there will always be those that are quick to point out the potential problems associated with feeding dogs these little vegetables.
For every dog owner that champions a piece of human food, there is sure to be one finding fault.
There are a few issues to watch out for when choosing to add peas to the diet of dogs, but not so much that you should avoid them altogether.
One of the biggest concerns for dog owners is the issue of lectins. Lectins are a substance found in legume that can be dangerous in high quantities. As peas are classed in this category, some owners are now wondering if they need to stop feeding peas to dogs.
In controlled amounts, peas can be safe. The problem is that high levels in a diet can lead to digestive problems. At their best, they simply lead to excess gas, such as is seen when eating beans. At their worst, these lectins can lead to a condition called leaky gut.
The good news is that lectin levels can be reduced dramatically by cooking legumes to change their composition. This means that cautious owners can simply refrain from feeding fresh, raw peas to dogs and stick to these cooked and pureed options.
What about the high sugar content? One of the reasons that dogs are so fond of peas as a treat or an additional flavour in their food is that they are so sweet. This can put some dog owners off from giving too many and you do need to be careful with your portions. The good news is that it is all about natural sugars, which is fine in small doses.
The important thing to remember here is that the use of peas in a dog’s diet can be so small and so controlled that it is easy to fix any small issue that might occur.
If you start to feed peas as a treat and notice rashes or discomfort then stop. If you have chosen a dog food with a high concentration of peas and are worried about your pet’s digestion, move on to a different flavour or brand. There will be pets that show signs of discomfort or allergies, but not many.
Types of peas: can dogs eat sugar snap peas and are there any specific types that should be avoided?
There are three types of peas that most dog owners consider feeding to their pets and each one has a different taste and composition. This means that different peas need to be treated in different ways.
The most common option for many home cooks is the basic green peas, or garden pea.
These simple pods of little peas are accessible, healthy and easy to use and the health benefits mentioned above show their worth for dogs. A spoonful of cooked peas in a meal can really help.
Sugar snap peas are also a favourite with owners that get their hands on them because they are easy to consume, with the pods being easier to eat and a real favourite with dogs that acquire the taste.
The same answer can be given for those that ask can dogs eat snow peas. They are simple and tasty, but the high sugar content and value means that dogs only need a few as a treat.
So how should you feed peas to dogs?
Cooked peas are the way to go here. The easy option for many is to add some cooked peas to your dog’s meal by using some of the leftover elements from your own families dinner.
We may think that cooking peas may reduce some of the nutrients, especially if they have been left to boil for too long, but it softens them up to provide a nice texture to add to other soft, wet foods and meats. It also allows a breakdown of cellulose to release the best nutrients, something that dogs struggle with.
Fresh peas from the garden are full of nutrients and goodness when picked at the right time and can have that sharp, sweet refreshing taste that it lost in packaged, processed goods.
Dogs can appreciate the difference between the too as well and are sure to see fresh peas as a great treat. Be aware of any potential pesticides and wash them.
Frozen peas can be thawed out and added to a meal or cooked up for the same benefits as above.
There are some concerns that shop-bought, processed foods with a long life in the freezer is not as good for us, or therefore for our pets, but they can still provide many of the same nutrients and benefits as mentioned above.
Can dogs eat canned peas as well?
This is where it may be time to draw the line.
The problem with canned peas is that this now becomes a processed food with the potential for other additives, preservatives and dangerous components that you really don’t want to be giving to your dog.
[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””]Canned peas can have a lot of salt and sodium elements mixed into the water and this can then contaminate the meal, potentially making your pet quite ill.
To much salt can lead to similar issues as in humans – dehydration, stomach complaints and changes in blood pressure – but this can be more damaging for dogs. [/thrive_text_block]
What about the shells and pods?
One of the big concerns for dog owners that want to add peas to their dog’s diet is whether or not they should include the shells or pods of the peas.
Shells can be more difficult to chew, but not all dogs seem to mind. Feeding pets the whole thing may seem like a great way of getting some additional greens and nutrients into their diets, but not all pods are suitable because of the fibres and other components.
Many can be eaten with little to no concern at all, but many owners choose to play it safe and take the pods off the menu altogether so there is no risk of any upset stomachs, poor digestion or other problems.
Be aware of other ingredients when choosing green peas for dogs
Another common question from concerned owners is can dogs eat peas and carrots.
Peas and carrots often go hand in hand with mixed veg, especially a bag of frozen veg from the freezer that you are adding to the family meal.
This then poses the question of whether of not you need to pick out the carrots and only feed dogs the peas, which seems a little too labour intensive to be of any worth.
Thankfully, there seems to be no real reason not to give dogs these pieces of carrot too, although some believes there is no brilliant nutritional reason for it either. Carrot is seen as being mostly filler and while some say that it can be good for keeping a dog’s teeth clean, there is perhaps no better reason than that to add it to their diet on a regular occasion.
Carrot may be fine in small doses, but it is still important to be careful when feeding dogs peas that may have been mixed with other vegetables because not all produce is good for dogs.
If you have made a nice mixture of vegetables, perhaps stir-frying them all together for a healthy family dinner, there could be hidden dangers for dogs.
A great example of this is onion and garlic which can be toxic. The safest course of action is to never feed dogs peas off the plate if other ingredients have been involved, only add peas to the dog bowl directly from fresh or if they have been cooked on their own.
Choosing a pet food if you want to add peas to your dog’s diet
The best pet foods should have all the vitamins and minerals needed to avoid the need to add cooked peas to a diet.
In fact, some formulas will do this by using peas in some way. Fruits and vegetables can make up a decent percentage of a healthy dog’s diet and there are many pet food brands that will turn to peas as a means of filling this quota.
Peas have a strong taste, are accessible and are easy to add to formulas. Many will see them as little more than filler, when other options could be more nutritious, but they are a great substitute for carbs, grains and more unhealthy filler ingredients that makers may use as a cheaper alternative.
Check the labels when you buy your next bag of dog food and take a closer look at the vegetable content.
Some cheaper brands will use extracts and small percentages while others will add only the best fresh produce into their wet and dry food. Peas may not be highlighted in bold on a label, not like some more exotic ingredients, but they could easily be in there somewhere.
Using green peas as dog treats
One of the interesting ideas about feeding dogs peas is to use them as a substitute for a treat when training.
If your dog responds best to positive reinforcement and a little nibble on something tasty after every trick that they have performed correctly, you don’t want to be feeding them too much in the way of unhealthy, sugary, pointless treats each time.
Peas are great for this because they provide a quick morsel of something sweet while remaining natural and healthy. You can also be pretty careful with the amount you give them. One little pea every time they sit, roll over or do anything else in need of praise can add up, but it shouldn’t do them any real harm.
There is, of course, no guarantee that your dog will even like peas.
You may start by asking can dogs eat green peas, and then find they spit them out. Snow peas and sugar snap peas may be different again. Some dogs may wolf down handfuls given the chance, while others won’t touch them at all.
It is all a matter of taste with peas, much like other vegetables that are safe to eat. You may find that they do indeed make great treats as fresh peas, or simply end up adding a puree to food for the added health benefits.
Can you feed peas to dogs and what is the best approach?
In short, the answer to can dogs it peas is yes. There are some clear health benefits to adding peas to dog food, as well as a couple of potential risk, but the nutrients and antioxidants mean that a little of this sweet vegetable a day could be a positive addition to the diet.
The best way of approaching the use of peas in dog food is trial and error and small steps. This way you can see what your pet likes and if they show any signs of irritation.
Try a little, gauge a response and find the best way of adding a little of this great vegetable to their diet.
Just For Fun Here is a Cool Video For Dog Eating Peas