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Sprouts are a stir-fry staple and a crunchy and healthy salad topping. Humans love to eat them, and dogs want to eat whatever humans eat, but are sprouts safe for dogs? Are they poisonous?
Let’s take a closer look at whether sprouts are good for dogs, or if they’re making Rover sick.
Are sprouts safe for dogs?
Yes, dogs are safe to eat sprouts if they are unflavored and eaten in moderation. Sprouts are nutritious and easy to grow at home, making them an affordable food too.
It’s important to note that sprouts are notorious for food poisoning, so it’s best to eat them cooked rather than raw.
What are bean sprouts?
They are soft beans!
When any bean germinates and begins to transform itself into the mother plant, one of the first things it does is shoot out roots to absorb water and nutrients. It is this brand new tender root, still attached to the bean, which we call bean sprouts.
All beans develop small roots, and many are edible, but mung bean sprouts are the most common in stores. Mung bean sprouts are large, crunchy and tasty, but alfalfa, fava bean, chickpea, black bean, and lentil sprouts are also available.
While bean sprouts became popular in vegetarian recipes in the 1970s and are therefore often considered a novel vegetable, bean sprouts have been cultivated for thousands of years and were routinely used in traditional Chinese medicine more than 5,000 years ago. They were first grown in the United States in 1830 as Chickasaw peas.
Health Benefits of Sprouts
Sprouts are full of vitamins and nutrients that help promote canine health. Here are some benefits:
- Vitamin C – Necessary for a strong immune system and rapid recovery
- Vitamin K – promotes healthy blood clotting, helps build protein and bones
- All B vitamins – help convert food into energy
- Calcium – strong teeth, bones and nails
- Iron – Makes red blood cells and fights fatigue
- Protein – Builds and Repairs Muscle
- Peptides – the building blocks of proteins, they also improve the condition of the skin and coat
- Fiber – Necessary for a Healthy Gut
Sprouts are also low in fat, so they make a great addition to dog food, or a tasty little treat to aid in obedience training. They’re also fun to put in a jigsaw puzzle to keep an anxious dog entertained when you leave the house. This trick can help reduce destructive behavior.
Low-fat treats are important because overweight and obese dogs are becoming more common, according to the Pet Obesity Prevention Association. Their latest research shows that 56 percent of pet dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Being overweight can reduce your dog’s quality of life and increase the risk of cancer or high blood pressure.
Risks of Sprouts to Dogs
While sprouts are good for dogs, there are some risks to be aware of. The first is food poisoning.
Bean sprouts can cause food poisoning if they are raw or slightly cooked. This is because they grow in moist environments that harbor mold and bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, staph and listeria. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cooking sprouts thoroughly before consuming them.
Because sprouts contain a lot of fiber, they may upset your dog’s stomach if they are eaten in large quantities or if your dog is sensitive to fiber. Stomach upset can range from excessive gas to diarrhea and vomiting.
If your dog is showing these symptoms, give them lots of fresh water and small amounts of digestible food like rice and chicken to soothe their stomachs and stop that dreaded hunger pang.
At first, it’s best to just give your dog some sprouts and see how they cope before adding them to meals or as a treat.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Bean Sprouts?
Yes, dogs can eat raw sprouts, but be careful and heed the CDC’s recommendations on sprouts and food poisoning. It is best to cook them first.
The freshest ones make a crisp click when you break them. Discard any slimy sprouts or grayish individuals. They go bad quickly, so it’s best to store them in the refrigerator. Remove the sprouts from any plastic they’re sold in, as the rotting liquid in the packaging can cause food poisoning.
Do not add any seasoning to sprouts or cook sprouts in oil as not all seasonings are safe for dogs and oily, fatty foods can cause painful pancreatitis.
Signs of Dog Food Poisoning
If your dog eats sprouts and develops the following symptoms of food poisoning, consult a veterinarian and mention that they have eaten sprouts.
- gagging and retching
Treatments vary, but it’s easier (and cheaper) to treat food poisoning early on than to wait until they become dehydrated. Plus, it’ll help your four-legged friend feel better faster, and who wouldn’t?
How Much Sprouts Can Dogs Eat?
The ASPCA recommends that treats make up no more than 10 percent of a dog’s daily intake. The rest should be a complete commercial dog food or a homemade meal with the proper nutritional balance. Sprouts can be added to their meals or offered as a snack throughout the day as part of a healthy diet.
How to Cook Bean Sprouts for Dogs
To avoid the risk of food poisoning, bean sprouts should be cooked. They don’t take long since they’re small and mostly water, but to get rid of all the bacteria they need to be hot throughout the sprouting process.
You can steam them, but sautéing and deep frying are best avoided because these methods require oil, and oil is fat.
If you want to grow your own sprouts, it’s super easy! Just follow the instructions below:
- Buy fresh dried mung beans, fava beans, or black-eyed peas—all types are fine
- soak them in water
- place them in a dark, warm place to initiate germination
- moisten them if they dry out
- After a few days small white roots will grow – these are bean sprouts.
- Long bean sprouts have a woody and bitter taste, so eat them early
- Be sure to wash before eating.
what foods are dangerous for dogs
Sprouts are a healthy source of nutrition for dogs, but here are some foods that dogs must avoid because they are poisonous.
Grapes – Sweet grapes, raisins, juice and wine are not digestible and can cause organ failure.
Chocolate – its compounds are stimulants, which can put enormous stress on the organs, leading to collapse and death
Xylitol – an artificial sweetener that causes a large drop in blood sugar and may lead to hypoglycemia.
Macadamia Nuts – Can cause shakiness, prostration, and organ failure because their compounds are toxic to dogs. Watch out for cakes and cookies that contain macadamia nuts.
Garlic – Garlic causes anemia in dogs by binding to red blood cells.
Onions – along with shallots, leeks and chives, have the same effect as garlic, binding to cells and causing anemia.
Black Walnut – Contains compounds that are toxic to dogs and can develop a deadly mold that dogs cannot digest.
Avocados – The pectin in avocado leaves, skins and pits is bad news for dogs who cannot digest these compounds. The pulp is less, but it is best avoided.
Alcohol – The ethanol in alcohol is highly toxic to dogs, whether it is beer, wine, spirits, cocktails, or foods that contain alcohol.
Can I give my dog sprouts?
The bottom line is yes, dogs can eat sprouts because they are non-toxic, packed with a lot of nutrients, and also very low in fat.
However, bean sprouts should be eaten directly without seasoning or oil, preferably cooked to avoid food poisoning.
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