Falafel is both vegetarian and vegan-friendly, so it’s a great option for when you feel like you’ve had too much meat in your diet. It’s delicious and nutritious and thanks to the chickpeas, it also has quite a bit of protein. But can dogs eat falafel?
The answer to this question is that it actually depends on the ingredients. If you make your falafel at home, you may give some to your dog provided that you skip the onion, garlic, or other condiments or spices.
If you get it from the store, you should never feed it to your dog.
Is Falafel Good for Dogs?
Falafel is a staple of the amazing Middle Eastern cuisine, and it’s great for a lot of reasons — it fills you up and is also very delicious. It can be eaten by itself, or you can add it to wraps or salads.
While we would love to go into more detail about some of the ingredients contained in falafel balls that are good for dogs, unfortunately, there are none that we can note.
Dogs are not supposed to have falafel, especially any store-bought variety, because it can contain a wide range of dangerous ingredients.
The chickpeas themselves do not pose any significant health risk to your pet, but anything else that ends up being added as a part of the traditional falafel recipe makes this type of food unsafe for this species.
Is Falafel Bad for Dogs?
People have different sodium requirements compared to animals, and dogs are supposed to have as little salt as possible in their diets.
Otherwise, if you start feeding your pet table scraps or human foods such as falafel, you will inadvertently cause them to develop cardiovascular health issues as time goes by.
Garlic and onion
Every respectable dog owner knows that this species is extremely sensitive to plants from the Allium genus, meaning both garlic and onion.
Dogs can develop dangerous health complications after eating any of these ingredients, so it just doesn’t make sense to risk their lives just because you want to give them a bite of your falafel.
Falafel is traditionally deep-fried. There’s also the option of you baking it in the oven, but if you get the product from the supermarket, chances are that it’s been deep-fried, not air-fried.
This means that it’s very rich in calories and fat. In other words, it is more dangerous for animals that have a higher risk of becoming obese, or that might have pancreatic pathologies, including diabetes.
If you didn’t know, dogs that are generally fed a fat-rich diet are always at a risk of developing pancreatitis, a condition that is practically impossible to treat and often leads to the animal’s death.
Since making your own falafel at home might be a little complicated or might at least call for some time and effort, most people buy it pre-made from the refrigerated section at their local supermarkets.
The problem with this is that not only is the falafel obviously going to contain the same risky ingredients (garlic, onion, salt, and others), but it will also probably have additives that will make it capable of lasting for a longer time on the shelf.
Depending on what substances are used for this, they could be carcinogenic or not. While preservatives don’t necessarily cause immediate health issues, they tend to add up inside your dog’s body and could cause cancer in their senior years.
How Much Falafel Can My Dog Eat?
Store-bought falafel should never be given to dogs. So, the answer to the question for the varieties that you can purchase pre-made is none.
You can try to make your falafel at home and steer clear of any dangerous ingredients. But since we’re talking about garbanzo beans, and dogs aren’t supposed to have a diet very rich in legumes, in general, we’d say that skipping the falafel altogether is the best way of going about things.
Your dog does not need falafel. He or she can thrive on a diet that your veterinarian recommended without you having to change it time and again. Your dog can also thrive on a homemade diet, but for that, you’d also have to ask your vet to make sure you’re giving your pet all the nutrients necessary for a healthy development.
How to Prepare and Serve Falafel to Your Dog
If you really feel the need to give your dog falafel (although we advise against it), you can make it at home.
First of all, we’d like to suggest that you do not deep fry it. Simply spray it with a bit of oil and bake it in the oven. The result might be dryer than what you’d expect, but it will also be healthier — both for yourself and your dog.
Naturally, you should avoid adding salt or the other ingredients we’ve already mentioned and that can put your dog’s health at risk. It will be a bland falafel in the end, so that’s why the effort might not even make sense for some people.
Falafel is not a staple of the typical canine diet. Store-bought varieties can contain garlic and onion, as well as plenty of salt and additives, so they are the least healthy options of all.
You can feed your dog homemade falafel, but it would have to be very bland and not contain any of the previously noted ingredients. We also recommend against frying your falafel if you intend on feeding it to your dog. As your vet can advise, falafel is not the best type of food to give to your pet, so it is best to steer clear of it.
- Use of Legumes and Yeast as Novel Dietary Protein Sources in Extruded Canine Diets, Lauren M. Reilly, Fei He et al, 2021
- Increasing dietary sodium chloride promotes urine dilution and decreases struvite and calcium oxalate relative supersaturation in healthy dogs and cats, Yann Queau, Esther S. Bijsmans et al, 2020