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Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Eat Pinto Beans? Vet-Reviewed Considerations & FAQ

Can Dogs Eat Pinto Beans? Vet-Reviewed Considerations & FAQ

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Dr. Ashley Darby

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Unlike cats, dogs are not obligate carnivores. Although they enjoy a protein-rich diet, they must derive their sustenance—primarily proteins and fats—from various sources, including plants. Beans can be an additional source of nutrition for dogs.

But what about pinto beans? Are they safe for dogs to eat? If so, are they an especially good source of nutrition? The short answer is that pinto beans are fine for your dog to eat in addition to a healthy balanced diet! They are a protein-rich plant food that also packs a nutritional punch.

In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more so that you can see how to include pinto beans in your dog’s diet if appropriate.


More About Pinto Beans

Pintos are a very popular variety used in many dishes or eaten alone. They are often used in Mexican dishes such as burritos and tacos. Although there are several varieties of pinto beans that differ in appearance, the most common kind is an attractive pinkish bean with red or dark brown speckles. Once cooked, they become light brown and lose their specks.

Pintos are loaded with nutrients and are a rich source of plant protein. As well as being high in protein, they contain significant levels of potassium, magnesium, iron, folate. They contain antioxidants which are helpful in humans and may benefit your pet. They are also a great source of dietary fiber.

Pinto bean legume beans
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How to Prepare Pinto Beans For Your Dog

Having established the potential health benefits that pinto beans have to offer your dog, it’s important to know that they require specific preparation. Pinto beans—all beans, in fact—should never be eaten raw. They contain toxic lectins that require cooking to denature them. Even undercooked beans may still contain trace amounts that could make your dog ill.

Pinto beans should be soaked before they are thoroughly cooked in boiling water. It is suggested that the beans be soaked overnight or for at least 8 hours. The soaking water should be discarded, the beans rinsed, and then cooked on a stovetop. After they are brought to a boil, they should be simmered for 1 ½ to 2 ½  hours. It is possible to cook pinto beans without first soaking, but you should add at least another 2 hours to the simmer time.

The beans are cooked when they are soft. It should be easy to squash them against the side of the pot or on a plate.

What To Watch Out For When Feeding Your Dog Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are available in shops in many forms, the most common being dried and canned. Dried pinto beans need to be prepared in the manner described above for them to be digestible and optimally nutritious. Canned pinto beans usually contain sugar and salt.

Rinsing canned beans can wash away some of these additives but may also remove some of the nutrients. Avoid feeding your dog bean dishes that include additives such as salt, sugar, spices, butter, oils, and sauces. Fried foods are also unhealthy for dogs. It’s best not to share your bean dish with your dog but to prepare their plain beans separately.

Even though beans are a healthy food for your dog, too much of a good thing can be bad. Moderation is key when it comes to beans. Overfeeding them could lead to digestive issues, gas, and bloating. If your dog has never had beans before, slowly introduce them to their diet. That way, you can monitor for any digestive sensitivities or allergies.

Sick mastiff dog sitting on table in a vet clinic
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The Ideal Diet For Your Dog

Dogs have a digestive system and tooth structure, which are well-adapted to an omnivorous diet. They require a diet rich in protein and healthy fats, which should be derived from a combination of animal and plant sources. A diet of only meat is not balanced and, therefore, is unhealthy. It’s best to feed your dog an omnivorous diet.

Dogs use proteins and fats as their primary energy source, but they can also digest carbohydrates in moderate quantities.

You may choose to prepare fresh food for your dog; however, it can be time-consuming, and you can’t be sure you are satisfying all their nutritional needs. Many commercially available dog foods are healthy and well-balanced. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s diet, especially if you are mostly giving a home cooked diet. You may be wanting to feed your dog pinto beans as part of a grain-free diet. Be aware there has been an association between diets containing high proportions of pulses and development of a heart muscle disease called dilated cardiomyopathy. While we don’t yet fully understand the link, you should speak to your veterinarian about this before choosing a diet high in pulses.

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Frequently Asked Questions

If you are considering adding pinto beans to your dog’s dish, you may still have a few concerns. Below are frequently asked questions that pop up when dog owners are thinking about making dietary amendments.

What Quantity Of Pinto Beans Should I Feed My Dog?

It’s acceptable for your dog to be fed into beans daily in small portions. Remember that their diet should be protein-rich and derived from various sources.

Are All Beans OK For Dogs to Eat?

Almost all beans are suitable for dogs, provided they are prepared correctly. They need to be soaked and boiled until thoroughly cooked. All beans can be dangerous to your dog if ingested raw or undercooked.

Baked beans, chili beans, and refried beans are not suitable for dogs and could cause digestive distress or long-term harm if fed repeatedly.

golden retriever eating dog food from metal bowl
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

What If My Dog Eats Raw Pinto Beans?

If your beloved dog ingests raw or dried pinto beans, seek veterinary assistance immediately.



When offering pinto beans to your dog, it’s important to remember to prepare them properly and not to overfeed them. If you adhere to these basic guidelines, they will be a fantastic addition to your pup’s diet. As a healthy source of dietary fiber, they will assist in keeping your dog regular. Most dogs will readily gobble up pinto beans as part of their meal or alone.

Featured Image Credit: Luis Echeverri Urrea, Shutterstock

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