Can Dogs Have Edamame?
Gone are the days when healthy snacks were limited to popcorn, trail mix, and carrot or celery sticks—in the 21st century, our healthy snack game has improved dramatically, and we have as many options as there are color swatches at your nearest home improvement store. One of the most popular portable snack ideas is edamame. Though many people like to eat them on the go, these little green soybeans also make their way into salads, stir fries, and a wide variety of other lunch and dinner dishes. Because edamame has become so popular, many people find themselves wondering if it’s okay to drop it in their furry friend’s doggy dish.
But, though we’re willing to snack on edamame ourselves, many of us have heard some pretty scary things about dogs and soy. So what’s the verdict on soy? Can you give your dog edamame?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat edamame in moderation—because it is a whole food, it is probably the best soy product you or your canine could eat. These crunchy treats are not in any way toxic to dogs, so there is no reason to panic if you find that your dog has devoured the bag of roasted edamame you left sitting on the coffee table. While you shouldn’t give this or any bean to your dog in excess, edamame is safe for canine consumption.
It is true that there was some soy hysteria over the last ten years, but the scientific consensus is that this food is safe—and healthy!—for humans, and much of the animal research suggests that it would be safe for our pets, too. Edamame, which is a whole, minimally processed food, offers several health benefits for your pet.
One of the big ones is its effect on heart health. Several studies have found that replacing higher-fat proteins with soy products correlates with a significant reduction in bad cholesterol and triglycerides, which means that edamame may be a good treat option for dogs who struggle with high cholesterol. Edamame can do more for the heart than lower cholesterol, though: the fiber, healthy fats, and isoflavones in these green beans lower your dog’s risk of heart disease by battling plaque buildup in the veins and arteries. The isoflavones in soy are also thought to help blood vessels relax and open up, which lowers your dog’s chances of developing blood clots that can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Edamame also contains moderate amounts of healthy fats, specifically an omega-3 known as alpha-linolenic acid. These healthy fats have been linked to a decrease in obesity and type two diabetes, which are growing problems in a time when over half of all domesticated American dogs are considered overweight.
But, just as edamame’s heart health benefits have several causes, so, too, do its weight management benefits. Edamame, like many beans, is high in dietary fiber. One of fiber’s crucial benefits is the effect that it has on weight loss and weight management. Neither humans nor canines are able to digest dietary fiber, which means that it passes through our systems without contributing any energy.
Dietary fiber is the zero-calorie nutrient! When you feed your dog high fiber foods, you fill up their stomachs with indigestible plant material, which means that they get the feeling of physical fullness without taking in as many calories as they would if they ate a lower fiber alternative. This makes edamame an excellent treat option for dogs who appreciate crunchy, savory snacks—these little beans are healthier, higher in fiber, and lower in calories than many mass produced dog treats.
There are a few drawbacks to soy. Though dairy, wheat, and beef are far more common canine allergens, some dogs are allergic to soy products. If your dog does not respond well to soy, do not give them edamame.
High fiber edamame may also cause some digestive problems in dogs who are not used to eating fibrous foods. If your dog eats too much, they may suffer from diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, bloating, or gas. If this happens, give your dog some water and monitor them for the next 24 hours. If their digestion does not calm down quickly, consult a veterinarian—they may be having a serious reaction.
Things to Consider
If you decide to give your dog edamame, pay attention to what other flavorings are present. Opt for low salt, low sugar options, and avoid any products that have been flavored using garlic, onions, or chocolate. The best option is raw, unflavored edamame.
In conclusion, edamame is a safe, even healthful, treat to give to your dog in moderation. It is high in fiber, healthy fats, and isoflavones which may help fight obesity and heart disease. If you decide to share this tasty treat with your canine companion, make sure to take it easy on the added flavors—and be on the lookout for symptoms of a soy allergy.