Pet owners everywhere are turning to the green bean diet for dogs to help their precious pooches shed a few pounds — but is the green bean diet a legitimate weight-loss treatment, or should it be left out in the doghouse? Just like us, dogs can benefit from a diet of fruits and veggies, especially as pet obesity continues to be an issue. And if your pet is looking a bit too chubby, perhaps you can considered whether the green bean diet is right for your pup. To make your life easier, we studied up on this new dog diet trend, and we've got the answer to all your concerns, including "What is the green bean diet for dogs?" and how to prepare the green bean diet for dogs.
Health Benefits of Green Beans
Before we get into the diet plan itself, it's important to take a deeper look at the mystery bean you plan on introducing into your pet's diet. The health benefits of green beans are numerous and well-documented. In a 2017 meta-analysis published in the journal BioMed Research International, researchers found that higher intake levels of legumes such as green beans corresponded to a lower risk of all-cause mortality. An October 2015 paper published in the journal Clinical Diabetes noted that legumes are "linked to significantly lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and type 2 diabetes." It's no surprise, then, that legumes make the list of approved foods in both the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH diet.
Green beans are also packed with nutrients like dietary fiber; vitamins A, C, and K; folate; and manganese. Because these little green strings are full of filling fiber, they're a great snack or side to munch on when you're trying to lose weight. And according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), low folate levels may increase a person's risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease. Some studies have also found a correlation between low folate concentration and poor cognitive function, as well as increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer's.
What is the green bean diet for dogs?
The green bean diet is essentially just swapping out your dog's regular food for green beans. "The number one goal of this is for obese dogs to lose weight, because they're getting full, the calories are minimal, there's a lot of fiber in green beans, [and] they're feeling satiated," Marty Goldstein, DVM, told WomansWorld.com. Sounds easy enough, right? Except implementing the green bean diet isn't something you should do willy-nilly — there are a few items you need to check off before you even buy your first can of beans.
First thing on your agenda should be a trip to the vet's office. Let your veterinarian examine your dog and take blood samples to determine if Fido is healthy enough to try the green bean diet. "Sometimes doing anything good for the body can have a stress factor," Dr. Goldstein said. Once you've gotten the OK from an expert, you can pick up some green beans to bring home.
But wait, is it better to use fresh or frozen green beans? Because green beans aren't being used for their nutruitive benefits (yes, they can be healthy snacks, but they can't comprise your dog's entire dinner), it doesn't really matter whether you use fresh or frozen beans, said Goldstein, who is also the founder of Nature’s Blend premium freeze dried dog food. Just make sure you're not buying salted or flavored green beans, as these contain some ingredients and spices that won't sit well with your pooch. If you decide to buy fresh, raw green beans, cook them before adding them to your dog's food dish. "Animals don't have the ability like we do to handle raw [veggies]," Goldstein said.
To start the diet, slowly introduce green beans into your dog's dish in place of their current food, increasing the amount of green beans by 10 percent every few days until you reach a ratio of half kibbles and half green beans. Because your beans are being used purely as low-calorie meal fillers, you can't keep a dog on the green bean diet forever. Doing so would put them at risk of not getting enough vitamins and nutrients.
Instead, what you want to do is put them on the diet for a few weeks, say, 20 days or so. Remember that you need time to slowly increase the amount of green beans in the food bowl. Then once they've lost a few pounds, transition them to a healtheir diet — even if they haven't hit their goal weight yet — so they can replenish their body's nutrients. Goldstein recommends a raw diet, which you can consult your vet about. Around a month later you can put them back on the green bean diet if they still need to lose weight.
The Dangers of the Green Bean Diet for Dogs
The biggest concern with the green bean diet for dogs is that your pooch isn't going to get all the nutrients he or she needs. Recently, stories of dogs on grain-free diets dying as a result of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a condition that affects a dog's heart and its ability to pump blood, have made the news. According to a July 2018 statement made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these dogs were reportedly on diets that contained "peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients." (There haven't been enough cases for experts to come down with a ruling on whether grain-free diets are wholly good or bad.)
Jeff Werber, DVM, suggests that a deficiency of the amino acid taurine could be the issue, which the FDA backed. "Taurine deficiency is well-documented as potentially leading to DCM," the FDA wrote. Dogs are able to synthesize their own taurine, but if this natural process is somehow affected by a grain-free diet, the solution would be to give your dog the taurine he or she needs in the form of a supplement ($16.32, Amazon).
Pet owners can also add ingredients to ensure their dogs get the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. When it comes to the green bean diet for dogs, recipes that include chicken and pumpkin are popular. "Now we're talking some balance," Dr. Werber told WomansWorld.com. "Chicken is A) a good source of protein, and B) it can provide some of the taurine precursors or the taurine itself. And pumpkin's a great source of fiber. It's not a sugar-type carb like some of the grains [in dog foods]."
Your best bet if you're considering putting your dog on the green bean diet is to consult with your veterinarian. Then, he or she can help you come up with a healthy weight-loss plan for your pup.
Before and After the Green Bean Diet
One of our favorite parts of any weight-loss journey is seeing inspiring "before and after" photos. We especially love seeing slimmed-down pooches who became happy and healthy after going on the green bean diet.
The green bean diet for dogs can be an excellent way for pooches to lose weight — but only if you do it correctly. Always make sure you talk to your veterinarian before starting, and don't hesitate to ask questions. Your fur babies, unlike your human children, won't fight you when it comes to eating veggies, but they also can't always tell you when something's wrong. So keep an eye on their behavior and get ready to watch the weight fall off!
Watch the video below to meet 10 adorable pooches who are practicing their doggy paddles.