Edamame is a popular snack food or side dish for consumers worldwide. The name of these green soybeans, which are picked while still young, means “beans on a branch” in Japanese.
This vegetable has all the essential amino acids the human body does not produce, is low in calories, fat, and sugar, and high in protein and fiber. But can dogs eat edamame? While plain edamame beans are not toxic to dogs, let’s take a closer look at how different parts of the plant might affect our pets.
Is Edamame Good for Dogs?
These beans are low in calories and gluten-free. They also contain beneficial vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and potentially neutralize free radicals (which damage body cells and contribute to illness and aging). Dogs can produce vitamin C in their liver, but supplementation can offer health benefits.
- Calcium is an essential building block of the skeleton. It assists the nervous system and aids with muscle contraction, blood clotting, enzyme activity, and hormone release.
- Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids help your dog maintain a lustrous coat and healthy skin. When combined with other nutrients, they can also reduce the risk of a dog developing diabetes.
- Fiber aids in a dog’s digestion and helps them maintain a healthy weight. Fiber can also decrease the risk of colon cancer and reduce symptoms like diarrhea or constipation.
- Vitamin K helps promote healthy blood clotting.
- Folate, a B vitamin, works to ensure healthy metabolic processes in your dog.
Potential Side Effects of Edamame for Dogs
There are some risks associated with feeding your dog edamame. These beans are soy, high in fiber, and are surrounded by tough pods. Humans often cook them in salt, spices, and sauces, which are likely to be unhealthy for dogs.
Soy, while high in nutritional value, is a common allergy in dogs, so it’s best to only offer your dog a very small amount of edamame. An allergic reaction (such as itching, coat loss, or ear infections) might not show up immediately. Soy can also cause flatulence in dogs; it may occasionally result in diarrhea.
Fiber, when fed in excess, can cause stomach problems, vomiting, and diarrhea. This happens when your dog already has enough fiber in their diet, and the amount is suddenly increased. Edamame pods are fibrous, tough, and chewy. They can be hard for your dog to digest and are a choking hazard, especially for small dogs.
Spices, salt, soy sauce, and oil used to cook edamame can be especially unhealthy for dogs. The only safe way to give your dog edamame pods is plain and fresh, with no added ingredients.
The Bottom Line on Edamame
According to Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the AKC, “When you feed your dog a balanced, quality dog food, he does not require edamame to meet his nutritional requirements. However, fed safely and in moderation, most dogs will not be harmed by a few of the fresh, crunchy beans used as treats.”
Dr. Klein advises that dog owners initially test for allergies by giving a dog only one or two beans removed from the chewy pods. Never share edamame you’ve cooked with spices or in oils. And remember that moderation, as with any snack or treat, is important.