Woman and Girl giving a pea to a yellow lab dog

Can Dogs Eat Peas

Can Dogs Eat Peas?

Peas are a great side dish for humans and can also be mixed into many other dishes for some added flavour and benefits. We may want to share these dishes with our pets, or we may wonder if it’s all right for our dog to eat a pea or two that has fallen on the ground while we’re plating up our food. So, can our dogs eat peas? Is it safe? Read on to find out more.

Health Effects of Peas

Peas are considered a vegetable and have many health benefits for humans. These health benefits are also good for our dogs when we feed them peas. They can have an impact on skin health and more; they also contain many of the minerals and vitamins that make up a healthy, balanced diet.

Vitamins and Minerals

Peas are a source of minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium; they are also chock full of vitamins such as A, K, and B vitamins. They are also rich in protein and fibre, so are often included in commercial dog food. Lutein is also found in peas– lutein is an antioxidant that is good for heart, eye, and skin health.

While dogs don’t need fruits and vegetables (like Jackfruit or Edamame) in their daily diet as humans do, peas can be used as the occasional snack or low-calorie treat option for your pet. 

Harmful Effects of Peas

Overfeeding your dog peas can be dangerous. They cannot handle the same amount of peas that a human may eat. Additionally, there are some conditions that may arise from eating too many peas, especially if the overfeeding of peas is consistent.

Kidney Conditions

Feeding your dog a few peas is not going to hurt. However, too many peas can be harmful to your pet. This is because peas contain purines, which is a naturally occurring chemical compound. Purines create uric acid, which is filtered through the kidneys. Too much uric acid can cause issues with the kidneys such as kidney stones or other conditions. For this reason, you should avoid feeding your dog any peas if it has any pre-existing problems with its kidneys or kidney disease.

Heart Conditions

The FDA is currently investigating a potential dietary link between heart failure in dogs and dog food containing peas. The heart condition being looked into is called canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM for short). If left untreated and undiagnosed, canine dilated cardiomyopathy can lead to either an enlarged heart or heart failure. This is typically a genetic disease and is found often in large breeds and cocker spaniels, but it is now believed that diet can also contribute to disease development.

Most reported cases occurred in pets who consumed pet food that contained legumes– peas, lentils, and chickpeas– or potatoes. Typically, these ingredients are found in grain-free dog foods.

Feeding Your Dog Peas

When choosing whether or not to feed your dog peas, the side effects of overfeeding should be weighed with the pros– that it is a tasty snack that your dog will enjoy, and that peas do have some health benefits. You should also be careful to feed your dog peas in moderation and to always monitor your dog when feeding them these new treats.

Diet

As a rule, vegetables should not exceed more than 10-20% of your dog’s diet. Dogs are carnivorous in the wild and should be fed accordingly. Peas should never be used as a substitute for your dog’s normal food but can be used as a stand-in as a small treat or snack. Dogs can also eat pea pods– the pod is a crunchy texture your pet will enjoy and full of extra fibre. However, monitor your dog while it crunches down on this snack to avoid choking, as pea pods could become lodged in the throat if not chewed correctly. 

Digestion

Evolving alongside humans has allowed dogs to also digest many of the foods we humans eat on a daily basis. This generally extends to many species of fruits and vegetables. However, some of them can still be highly toxic to dogs. Peas are okay for dogs in moderation and will not cause digestion issues. However, due to the other effects peas can have on dogs, they should still be consumed in moderation.

Moderation

When feeding your dog peas, the general consensus is to do so in moderation. For larger breeds, a tablespoon is acceptable, while smaller breeds should not receive more than a teaspoon. Raw or cooked peas are both options that you can feed your dog. 

However, it is important to avoid canned peas due to the extra sodium. Too much salt can dehydrate your pet, give them an upset stomach, or spike their blood pressure. Any peas that have been seasoned, salted, or cooked with other ingredients such as onion or garlic should also be avoided. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are peas bad for dogs?

Peas can cause bloating and flatulence in dogs, so it is best to avoid feeding them to your dog, or limiting pea intake so that your dog does not suffer from stomach distress or discomfort.

How many peas can I give my dog?

Even a handful of peas can be too many for a large dog. If feeding your dog peas, feed them in moderation– a teaspoon for small breeds and a tablespoon for larger breeds.

Can I give my dog cooked peas?

Cooked peas can also be fed to your dog in moderation. Stay away from canned peas with added sodium, or peas in butter sauce, for example, as these additives may cause your dog to be sick or to have digestive issues.

Why are peas bad in dog food?

Peas may be a leading dog food ingredient that is contributing to a rise in canine heart disease that is connected to diet. This is common in grain-free dog foods and is likely due to the fact that the regular overfeeding of peas can cause issues. These links are being investigated by the FDA.

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