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Can Dogs Eat Hummus? Read This First!

Hummus in a bowl

As pet owners, we like to share our love of food with our dogs, especially healthy snacks. What might be healthy and delicious for you, however, may not be suitable for your pet, including protein-rich hummus. Can you feed your canine buddy hummus?

Dogs can eat homemade hummus made with only chickpeas and tahini, but no lemon juice, garlic, onions, or paprika. Plain hummus is full of vitamins and minerals and can be a healthy snack. Store-bought hummus is unsafe for canine consumption, as it contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs.

Hummus is full of protein and vitamins, so it seems like an ideal snack for your protein-loving pet. The added ingredients, however, may not be safe for your pooch, but there are ways to feed hummus to your furry friend safely. Read on to learn more.

What Ingredients Are in Hummus?

A Middle Eastern food, people make hummus with chickpeas, tahini, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and garlic. Once whipped together, it’s usually topped with oil, herbs, and spices. 

Most hummus includes added salt.

Hummus entered the mainstream food markets around 2009. Around this time, manufacturers began incorporating other ingredients like roasted red peppers, cumin, tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, spinach, artichoke, and even buffalo sauce.

As a general rule, store-bought hummus isn’t safe for canine consumption. However, some of the ingredients in hummus are safe for dogs in moderation. 

Below, we’ll cover the most common hummus ingredients and how they affect dogs.

Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are among many beans that are generally considered safe for dogs. They make an excellent treat for dogs, but should be cooked, mashed, ground, or blended before serving and fed in moderation.

It’s important to note that the United States Food and Drug Administration is investigating a potential dietary link between dog foods containing legumes and canine dilated cardiomyopathy. The questionable ingredients include chickpeas. 

There’s no definitive link as of 2021, but the FDA is still investigating.

Tahini

Tahini is made from toasted sesame seeds turned into paste. 

Its consistency is similar to peanut butter and has a slightly nutty flavor. It’s a traditional ingredient in hummus and adds smoothness, texture, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Hummus isn’t authentic hummus without tahini.

Fortunately, tahini is generally considered safe for dogs in paste form. In seed form, it’s harder to digest, so paste is more nutritionally valuable. 

This non-toxic food is high in protein, essential fatty acids, and minerals.

Dogs should only eat tahini in moderation, as it’s a calorie-dense ingredient. There are nearly 200 calories in two tablespoons (28 grams), and if tahini is fed to a dog regularly, it could lead to weight gain. 

Therefore, it’s best not to feed tahini to dogs who already have weight problems.

Garlic and Onions

Both onions and garlic are from the allium family and contain disulfides and thiosulfates. 

These compounds are safe for human consumption but toxic to dogs. Thiosulfates damage red blood cells in canines, resulting in diseases like Heinz body anemia, methemoglobinemia, and hemolytic anemia. 

You should never feed your dog hummus containing onions or garlic, as well as dried onions, garlic powder, and onion powder.

Lemon Juice

Dogs don’t usually eat lemons willingly because of their sour, bitter taste. 

However, sometimes lemon juice is found in more appetizing foods like hummus. Unfortunately, lemons contain chemical compounds that are toxic to dogs when eaten in large amounts. In addition, lemon juice is highly acidic and could irritate your dog’s stomach lining. 

Stomach irritation could result in nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Oils

Olive oil is a typical garnish for hummus and is commonly found in store-bought recipes. While olive oil itself isn’t considered dangerous for dogs in small amounts, it can lead to weight gain, greasy stools, and pancreatitis when eaten often.

The fat in oils can irritate a dog’s stomach if a dog ingests too much and they don’t benefit from vegetable oils in large amounts. In addition, excessive amounts of oil could exacerbate any allergic or inflammatory conditions.

Herbs and Spices

Cumin and paprika are the most common spices used in hummus, which are considered non-toxic to dogs in small amounts.

Cumin, however, can trigger digestive upset or gas when overeaten. Additionally, dogs on blood thinners should avoid any herbal supplements, including cumin. In humans, studies have shown that cumin might slow blood clotting.

Paprika is also non-toxic in small amounts but can cause gastrointestinal issues if consumed too much or too often. Your dog might show signs of gastric upset like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain.

Consult a veterinarian if your dog consumes large amounts of cumin or paprika.

Salt

Foods containing excess salt can lead to excessive thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea in dogs, as well as more severe complications, including high fever, kidney damage, and seizures. A small amount of a salty snack probably won’t do much, but if you’re feeding excessive amounts of salty foods, including hummus with added salt, it could cause some adverse health effects.

Is Hummus Harmful to Dogs?

Chickpeas, in general, are safe for dogs, as they contain high amounts of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin B6, and manganese. When mixing chickpeas with other ingredients, it becomes a problem for canines.

Hummus recipes vary, and as a result, the nutritional content differs as well. 

The safety of hummus depends on the ingredients, as well as the proportions of those ingredients. It’s best to make hummus at home so that you’re in control of the recipe, and for dogs, hummus should only consist of chickpeas, tahini, and water. 

All other ingredients are unnecessary and potentially dangerous.

Estimated Nutritional Makeup of Hummus

Hummus is a calorie-dense food. Per 3.5 oz (100 g), traditional hummus contains around 170 calories. 

Here is the nutritional breakdown of hummus:

  • Carbohydrates – 17%
  • Fat – 14%
  • Protein – 10%
  • Water – 59%

Because of its high calories and fat, pet owners should only feed hummus to dogs in moderation.

Is Homemade Hummus Safe for Dogs?

Homemade hummus is safe for dogs when avoiding toxic ingredients and making hummus at home is the only way to know exactly what’s going into the product that you’re feeding your dog.

Chickpeas are the base ingredient for hummus. For a homemade hummus recipe, you can cook raw chickpeas or use canned chickpeas, as long as there’s no added sodium or seasonings.

Tahini is also safe for dogs, and it enhances the flavor of hummus, adding a nutty taste and a smooth texture. Homemade tahini is the best tahini to use in a hummus recipe for dogs, as there are no added ingredients.

You can make hummus without tahini to reduce the fat content, but it won’t be as tangy, zesty, and nutty without it—but your dog probably won’t mind! To make tahini-free hummus, don’t add the tahini and add more water to thin out the mixture.

Alternatively, use peanut butter in place of tahini, but make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol, as this sugar alcohol is toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.

Avoid the lemon juice, garlic and onion (powder included), cumin, salt, and oils.

Below, we’ll cover two recipes: one for homemade tahini and one for hummus.

Hummus Recipe for Dogs

The tahini and hummus recipes listed below are free of any ingredients dangerous to your pup.

Homemade Tahini

Gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup sesame seeds (142 g)
  • 2 tablespoons water (30 mL)

Here are the steps to make your homemade tahini:

  1. Toast the sesame seeds in a skillet or the oven. 
    1. Pour the seeds into a skillet over medium heat and stir frequently until lightly colored, which should take around five minutes, depending on your stove’s heat settings. 
    2. In the oven, bake the seeds on a baking sheet at 350°F (177°C) for five minutes, stirring once.
  2. Transfer to a large tray to cool completely.
  3. Dump cooled seeds into a food processor and grind until they’re a very fine, crumbly powder.
  4. Add water. 
    1. In a traditional hummus recipe, you would add oil in this step. 
    2. For dogs, however, avoid oil and use water instead. Add 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of water until the consistency is a thick, smooth paste. If the paste is too thick, add additional water.
  5. Store the tahini. Place the tahini in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Refrigerate for up to a week.

Dog-Friendly Hummus Recipe

Gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 (15 oz/425 g) can chickpeas, unseasoned, unsalted
  • ¼ cup (59 mL) tahini (homemade)
  • 2-3 tablespoons water (30-45 mL)

Here are the steps to make your dog-friendly hummus recipe:

  1. Place tahini in a food processor. 
  2. Process the tahini to “whip” it, making it smooth and creamy, while scraping down the sides of the processor.
  3. Add half of the unseasoned, unsalted chickpeas to the processor. Run the processor until everything is nice and smooth.
  4. Pour in a tablespoon of water and process again. Start with 1 tablespoon (14.79 mL) and continue adding water until the hummus is smooth and creamy like peanut butter.
  5. Store your homemade, dog-friendly hummus in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

How Often Can I Feed My Dog Hummus?

As mentioned throughout this article, hummus is high in calories and fat. A small amount of homemade hummus on occasion is generally safe for dogs to eat. Too much hummus could cause digestive upset, greasy stools, or pancreatitis due to its high-fat content. 

Don’t feed your dog hummus more than once a week. The amount you should provide depends on the size and activity level of your dog. Contact your veterinarian with any questions.

There are many ways to serve hummus to a dog, including:

  • Mix a tablespoon into their food. Now and then, offer a small amount of hummus in your dog’s food. This is an excellent way to add extra protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Give it to them on a spoon as a treat. Offering your dog homemade hummus on a spoon is an easy way to share your love of this healthy treat with your pet.
  • Offer homemade hummus on one of his toys. KONG balls are excellent for this purpose, as they have holes in which to hide treats. These balls come in many shapes and sizes. I recommend the KONG Classic Dog Toy (available on Amazon.com), as it can hide several snacks, such as hummus.
  • Freeze hummus as a solid treat. Place tablespoons of homemade hummus onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight and serve the solid treat to your furry friend.

Can My Dog Eat Dessert Hummus?

Dessert hummus is a sweet, sugary hummus made with ingredients including sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, milk, soy, vanilla, and salt. These types of hummus are not safe for a dog, as they contain sugar and chocolate. 

Dogs don’t benefit from refined sugars in their diets, and chocolate, especially baking chocolate like cocoa powder and dark chocolate, is toxic.

Final Thoughts

Plain, cooked chickpeas are a safe, non-toxic food for dogs. On the other hand, hummus incorporates other ingredients, many of which aren’t safe for dogs. Store-bought hummus is a potentially toxic concoction for your canine companion.

The best way for your pup to enjoy hummus is by making it at home. Homemade hummus puts you in control of the ingredients, ensuring that it’s healthy food for your pet.

The next time you want to share hummus with your furry friend, go ahead and whip up a batch of healthy, plain hummus in your kitchen.

Sources

Andrew

My name is Andrew, and I've been around dogs my entire life. Look at my profile picture and, you see me as a little kid with my family's two German Shepherds. That's how my life with dogs started, and ever since, I've been both living and working with dogs.

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