Dogs have become a beautiful part of our lives as loyal companions. It stands true during the current COVID pandemic, especially where social distancing keeps humans mostly apart. Now, the responsibility for their health and well-being lies with us. It can get confusing in the food selection process as to what should be given or not to our pet dogs. For instance, can dogs eat falafel? Is hummus terrible for them? Or are chickpeas okay for dogs etc.? Let’s shed some light on the use of falafel by a dog of any breed.
What is Falafel?
For those not that aware of falafel, it’s a dish made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. It can have a ball-like shape or a patty-shaped fritter that is deep-fried. Falafel is usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket. It’s a combination of salads, pickled vegetables, and hot sauce in a ball, drizzled with tahini-based sauces. This dish traces its origins to Middle East culture. It may appear delicious to an individual and his pet pup tagging along.
Is it Good for Dogs or Bad?
The suspense remains as to whether we should add falafel to our pup’s bowl or not. Experience says a BIG NO TO FALAFEL. Time and again, falafel has a terrible effect on a dog’s gut system and other body functions.
Why is Falafel Harmful to Dogs?
Though dogs eat chickpeas, falafel has other ingredients in addition to the ground chickpea flour or raw soaked chickpeas. Even if falafel does not directly affect dogs, it can still trigger unpleasant side effects. These added flavors are harmful to our pet dogs by causing fatal anemia. Some physical signs of such anemia are weakness or rapid breathing.
Another food item that is toxic to dogs is onion, and falafel has a lot of it. Expect a typical batch of falafel to at least contain about 1 whole onion. Onions are thought to be 5 times less potent than garlic. Still, onions shouldn’t be fed to dogs, especially with garlic.
Commonly falafel uses 3 to 5 cloves of garlic in its making. Here, this amount of garlic is toxic to dogs. A heavy dose of garlic can give our dogs or pups an upset stomach, resulting in vomiting or diarrhea. There can also be damage to their red blood cells, causing anemia. Chickpeas safe for dogs or not, in the shape of falafel, get answered here.
Vets advise against feeding dogs salty foods, and falafel indeed falls into that category. The RDA (Regular daily intake) of sodium suggested for an adult dog is 200 mg. A typical serving of falafel – just the falafel, without pita or anything else – may contain about 300 mg of sodium.
That’s more sodium than an adult dog weighing 33 lbs. should eat in a whole day.
Falafel is mostly a deep-fried dish, and fried foods can be too fatty or oily for dogs. A typical adult dog weighing 33 lbs. is prescribed an RDA of 14g of fats. But a single serving of falafel contains about 17.5g of fat, which is more than a grown-up dog should eat in a day.
So, we need to avoid giving our dogs oily stuff that is even harmful to our health when used in excess quantity.
Dogs usually can’t handle spicy foods as we can. It may irritate their stomach or cause vomiting or diarrhea. Many seasonings and spices are added to falafel to make it yummier. The selection of spice depends on the maker. Black pepper is commonly used in falafel.
Some recipes also use cayenne or red pepper for extra flavor. Like cayenne, black pepper and chili peppers contain capsaicin, which is bad for dogs.
Although a very tiny amount won’t hurt them on its own, it’s best to totally avoid giving any type of pepper or seasoning to them.
What to do if a Dog Eats Falafel?
Firstly, when we eat junk food of any kind, the safest choice is to eat it alone and not offer it to our pet dogs. So, even if the fast-food looks dog-friendly, there is always a risk factor attached to offering such food to dogs.
Secondly, if a dog eats falafel, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take him to the vet. Keeping the dog under observation for the next several days will do the trick if it is a small amount.
The dog may only suffer a mild stomach upset.
A serious situation is when a dog consumes a large amount of falafel. In such cases, gastrointestinal problems may arise, among other issues. We recommend calling a vet for advice and whether a checkup is required. The key is not to panic but to take quick, decisive action for a dog’s well-being.
Chickpeas for Dogs, Good or Bad?
Are chickpeas for dogs good or bad?
Earlier, we found that the ground chickpea flour mixed with seasonings or spices in falafel is harmful to our pet dog.
Chickpeas Safe for Dogs
Chickpeas are best for dogs when given in the plain mashed form. They are also known as garbanzo beans and by themselves are actually really good for dogs.
No spices or other ingredients should be added to such chickpeas. Such garbanzo beans are choke-full of benefits.
A nice protein source
Chickpeas are full of protein, with 1 cup of boiled chickpeas giving 14.5g of protein to a dog. No wonder vets recommend chickpeas as a substitute source of protein for dogs.
Dogs and chickpeas make up a great combination when the chickpeas are boiled simply. Such chickpeas have a high amount of insoluble fiber that improves the digestive system of our dogs.
The fiber found in chickpeas feeds the good bacteria in the dog’s gut. Having a healthy gut can reduce the chances of a dog developing intestinal diseases or colon cancer.
Vitamins and minerals
Chickpeas are rich in vitamins and minerals, ranging from potassium, magnesium, lecithin, and folate to vitamins like vitamin A, C, and B-complex.
Lower fat content
Chickpeas in plain boiled form have no excess fats, so there’s no danger of dogs having too much fat by eating more chickpeas.
Though chickpeas are nutritious, we can’t be sure how much would be considered a healthy balanced portion for our pet dogs. Consult a vet if confused or about to change the diet pattern.
Chickpeas Bad for Dogs
In the following forms, chickpeas harm a dog’s health when eaten.
We have discussed falafel in the above article. Here, soaked raw chickpeas or chickpea flour combined with onion and garlic make falafel toxic for most dogs.
Dried chickpeas should be soaked before cooking to make them soft as they are very hard. They can also pose a choking hazard because of their small size.
By eating dried chickpeas in large quantities, a dog may experience irritation to the throat and gut problems because of digestion difficulties due to its hard nature.
Chickpeas stored in cans are hazardous to a dog’s health. Avoid using them as these cans usually have salt and other preservatives added to them.
Extra salt in a dog’s diet can cause excessive thirst and other serious problems like diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle tremors.
In hummus, chickpeas are mixed with other ingredients, like garlic and lemon juice, almost like falafel. These items could cause harm to dogs as garlic may result in severe anemia, and lemon juice can irritate their gut with its acidic nature.
So, avoid feeding hummus to dogs.
General tips for Dogs and Chickpeas
Some last-minute tips are:
- Make chickpeas easily digestible for a dog by mashing up or blending the chickpeas.
- Add flavor to the chickpeas by sprinkling a little bit of tahini on them.
- Don’t feed raw or undercooked chickpeas to dogs as they cause more harm than benefit.
Let us make a promise that whenever we go dining out or just have dinner at home, we will not offer falafel to our precious dog or dogs as it causes harm in the long run for both the dogs and the dog owners or caretakers.
The dogs suffer health-wise, and the owners suffer from stress.
Keep in touch with a reliable vet to design a balanced diet for dogs and increase dog-related knowledge by skimming through or reading such informative content.