Eat your peas! Most humans have this common parental refrain stuck in their heads from childhood. So we assume that they must be the most nutritious of veggies—and they are, for the most part. The same goes for feeding them to our pups (and most actually like the taste!) However, there are a few caveats when including them in your dog’s diet. We talked to Jeff Werber, DVM, President and Chief Veterinarian of the Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles, to get the scoop so your pup can eat them in pea-ce.
The good news
Peas are often included in home-cooked and fresh diets for dogs because they’re a fantastic source of fiber—and because they’re a good source of Vitamin K, C, B, zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium and choline, according to Werber. Peas also contain lutein, which is an antioxidant that helps keep their heart, eyes and skin healthy, while the peas’ polyphenol can even help prevent cancer. Dogs usually love their flavor, too. “My old Frenchie is very picky, but I feed him food that has carrots, potatoes and peas in it, and he loves it,” says Werber, who adds that you can also give shelled garden peas and sugar peas to your pup as a snack or include them in treat recipes.
The not-so-good news
Some dogs might not be able to digest the coating well, so you may see the pea skin in their stool, Werber says. And a compound in peas called purine can make some dogs have an upset stomach. The purines, which are a naturally occurring chemical compound, produce uric acid, which is filtered through dogs’ kidneys. So if your dog already has kidney problems, he shouldn’t eat peas, as the uric acid can cause kidney stones.
The final verdict
As with almost everything, peas are good for your pup in moderation (and as long as they don’t have an existing kidney issue.) If you notice that your dog is more gassy or has digestive problems, then try eliminating peas from his diet, Werber advises. Also, steer clear of canned or frozen peas, as they typically have added salt, which isn’t great for your pup either. Otherwise, let them eat in peas!