Many dog owners I speak to tell me that they give their dogs fresh or cooked vegetables as part of a healthy diet. My vet suggested green beans as they are low in calories and may help my always hungry lab to be less voracious.
One dog owner told me she gives her dog canned string beans since it was quick and easy. I asked her if she rinses them with fresh water before serving to her dog - or if she bought low salt or no salt versions. "No" she replied and asked me why I was asking. I told her that canned string beans are high in sodium and that can be a problem for dogs.
Having a background in human nutrition, I know that canned foods, including vegetables are high in sodium (unless Low or No Salt version). Here are the stats from Del Monte for 1/2 cup of canned green beans:
- Regular Cut Green Beans - 380 mg
- Low Salt Cut Green Beans - 140 mg
- No Salt Cut Green Beans - 10 mg
If you rinse the regular green beans, you can reduce the sodium by 41% (Chef Kyle Shadix, MS, RD). This is the most economical method as low salt and no salt cans tend to be more expensive.
For a 33 lb. healthy dogs, no more than 200 mg of sodium a day should be consumed (Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources). If you are giving your dog 1/2 cup of canned green beans, this is almost double what is considered OK. Rinse them and you will get it down to around 224 mg. Still high as there is a bit of sodium in dog food too.
The best green beans I have found are the ready to cook, fresh in the bag or frozen beans. Make sure that the only ingredient is green beans. No added sodium whatsoever. No butter sauce or seasonings. As with all food we buy, read the labels.
With dog and human food, the less processed, the better. Please share any other tips or info to how you keep your pet healthy.