Falafel is one of my favorite foods, but I don’t share it with my dogs, and neither should you. Even though falafel is mostly mashed up chickpeas, which are good for dogs, it contains other ingredients that could give your pup a serious tummy ache or worse.
Why Falafel Is Bad for Dogs
Falafel is a mixture of mashed chickpeas and other ingredients that are formed into a ball or patty, and fried. You might think falafel is good for dogs because you may have heard that chickpeas are good for them, but it’s more complicated than that.
Unfortunately, many of the additional ingredients in falafel are bad for dogs, which is why you should not feed it to your K-9.
Falafel contains a lot of garlic, which is toxic to dogs. A typical recipe will call for 3 to 5 cloves.
Not only can a large dose of garlic give your dog an upset stomach, which may result in vomiting or diarrhea, it can also damage their red blood cells, and cause anemia.
Falafel also contains a lot of onion, which is another food that is toxic to dogs. Expect a typical batch of falafel to contain about 1 whole onion.
Onions are in the same family as garlic – Allium – and even though they are 5 times less potent than garlic, you still shouldn’t feed them to your dog, especially in combination with garlic.
Vets advise against feeding dogs salty foods like chips, and falafel certainly falls into that category. A typical serving of falafel – just the falafel, no pita or anything else – contains about 300mg of sodium. That’s more sodium than an adult dog weighing 33 lb should eat in an entire day – the RDA is 200mg.
Black pepper is a common ingredient in falafel. Some recipes also use cayenne or red pepper for extra spiciness. Black pepper and chili peppers, like cayenne, contain capsaicin, which is bad for dogs.
They can’t handle spicy foods like we can. It irritates their stomach, and can cause vomiting. Although a very tiny amount won’t hurt them, it’s best to simply avoid giving it to them all together.
Falafel is a fried food, and fried foods are too fatty for dogs. A typical serving contains about 17.5g of fat, which is more than an adult dog weighing 33 lb should eat in a day – the RDA is 14g.
Plain Chickpeas for the Win!
If you’re cooking up a fresh batch of falafel, and you want to give your furry friend a treat, set aside some plain mashed chickpeas for them. Chickpeas – aka garbanzo beans – by them self are actually really good for dogs.
Chickpeas are a good source of protein. 1 cup of boiled chickpeas contains about 14.5g of protein. It’s no wonder vets recommend chickpeas as an alternative source of protein for dogs.
Chickpeas promote good digestion due to the high amount of insoluble fiber they contain. The fiber found in chickpeas also feeds the bacteria in the gut, which produce health short-chain fatty acids. Having a healthy gut can lower your pup’s chances of developing colon cancer and other intestinal diseases.
Vitamins and Minerals
Chickpeas are rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, lecithin, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, and B-complex vitamins.
Chickpeas hardly contain any fat at all, so there’s no chance you’ll accidentally feed your dog too much fat by filling their bowl up with them.
- Mash up or blend chickpeas for your dog so they are easy to digest.
- Add a little bit of tahini or nutritional yeast to the chickpeas to make them tastier.
- Don’t feed your dog raw or undercooked chickpeas.
Tori Avey (January 5, 2011). Falafel. Retrieved from https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/falafel/
Leslie Beck (January 17, 2012). I love falafel but are they actually healthy? Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/i-love-falafel-but-are-they-actually-healthy/article1358705/
National Research Council. Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs: A Science-Based Guide for Pet Owners. Retrieved from http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/banr/miscellaneous/dog_nutrition_final_fix.pdf
Joan Marie Williams (