Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are delightful little legumes that are incredibly versatile in anyone's diet. They're also an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, iron, folate, and phosphorus. Spooned right out of the can or slathered in spices and olive oil and roasted to crunchy perfection, chickpeas are a staple of many diets, thanks to their protein content, rich and satisfying density, and uncanny ability to shape-shift. From a simple spinach and chickpea salad, to mouth-watering chickpea fritters, to rich and satisfying hummus on pita points, and so much more, hearty recipes starring chickpeas are almost endless.
If you love chickpeas, of course, you're inclined to want to share them with your canine family member. But can dogs eat chickpeas? Will chickpeas cause any health problems for your dog? Should they be avoided altogether or doled out here and there, chickpea by chickpea, as a treat?
When we take a closer look at chickpeas, you'll be happy to discover that, yes, dogs can eat chickpeas!
Where do chickpeas come from?
Members of the legume, pea, and pulse family, chickpeas have been cultivated for roughly 7,500 years. Originating in the Mediterranean and Middle East, chickpeas are now found globally with more than 12 million tons produced annually. Also known as ceci beans, garbanzo beans, Indian peas, bengal grams, chana, kadale kaalu, sanaga pappu, and shimbra, the uses for chickpeas are as varied as their names.
Primarily grown for human consumption in hummus, salads, stews, and even pizza, as well as animal feed, chickpeas also make a healthy treat for dogs in moderation.
Can dogs eat chickpeas?
Yes, chickpeas are considered a healthy food for dogs to eat when they are served cooked and plain, without any added spices that could be harmful to your dog such as garlic and onion, nutmeg, excessive salt, or oil; as in hummus, for example, which is not OK to feed your dog.
Health benefits of chickpeas for dogs
Beans such as chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, and others combat inflammation because they're loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. In addition to being a good source of iron, fiber, and phosphorous, chickpeas are rich in Vitamin A (supports eye health), and B and C (supports immune system), Vitamin K (supports blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulates blood calcium levels), zinc, copper, choline, Vitamin B6, and magnesium; all super-beneficial nutrients for dogs. Chickpeas and other beans are also known to help regulate blood sugar.
The best ways to feed chickpeas to dogs
You can get as creative with chickpeas for your dog as you would for your human family. Consider feeding your dog cooked chickpeas by the bean as tiny, low-fat training treats. Handing them out this way also teaches your dog to take treats gently.
Mash them up with a dash of olive oil and serve as a side dish to his regular dinner or blend the mash into kibble. Blend some crunchy and chewy veggies into the chickpea mash such as cauliflower, green beans, celery, or beets to exercise your dog's gums and help develop stronger teeth along with supplementing the diet with a rich blend of vitamins and minerals.
Whip up polenta (cornmeal) and blend in some chickpeas along with other healthy veggies like broccoli, peas, or carrots, spread on a baking sheet and let cool, then top it off with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a tasty, cheesy flavor, cut into squares and serve — a savory treat for your dog, and you, too.
You can bake your dog some whole wheat (or gluten-free flour) sweet potato biscuits and toss some chickpeas into the dough for a little crunch and extra taste.
No matter which way you serve chickpeas to your dog, he's sure to enjoy them. Just keep in mind which ingredients not to add, such as onion powder, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, and only use a small amount of olive oil; avoid peanut oil or canola oil in case your dog is allergic.
Are there any concerns with feeding chickpeas to dogs?
Hummus is a delightful Middle Eastern dip and spread made from chickpeas but it's strictly off limits for dogs. Don't even let her lick the plate. Hummus is packed with oil and spices like onion powder and garlic powder, which are toxic to dogs. If your dog does eat some hummus, take her to the vet immediately for evaluation.
High fiber levels
Moderation and balance is key in your dog's diet. Like anything, even healthy foods, when eaten in excess, chickpeas can cause problems for your dog. Feeding too many chickpeas to your dog could backfire, wiping out any beneficial effects they may otherwise have had. Their high fiber content could upset your dog's gastrointestinal tract causing flatulence, constipation, or, conversely, diarrhea. In this case, for a severe bout, take him to the vets immediately, and for a mild upset tummy, consult with your vet who may recommend a strict diet of boiled chicken and plain rice until he recovers.
Dogs can eat chickpeas. And many dogs love them as much as their pet parents do, especially vegetarians and vegans for whom chickpeas are often their go-to as a convenient and delicious source of protein.
Along with chickpeas, there are more legumes like lima, pinto, and kidney beans — as long as they're cooked (raw kidney beans are toxic to dogs) — and cooked lentils, plus an assortment of other healthy foods that dogs can eat. As you develop recipes for your dog's meals and healthy snacks, check out our handy list of everything dogs can and cannot eat for some inspiration, and also learn what you should avoid feeding your dog.