The Green Bean Diet for Overweight Dogs

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The green bean diet for overweight dogs seems to be the answer to quick weight loss for obese pets.  However, like many things, there are rules to follow and important things to know to keep your pet safe while on this diet.  If your pet is overweight, you will want to read below and see if this diet works for you.  As always, call your veterinarian to see what they think.

How the green bean diet works  

Step 1:

Buy a large can of green beans, preferably low sodium.

Step 2:

Add approximately 10% of the green beans while removing 10% of your dogs food.  For example, if your pet eats 1 cup, twice a day (for a total 2 cups), replace 1/4 cup of food with the green beans.

Step 3:

Over the next 5 days, continue to add/remove 10% of the green beans and food in increments until, on day 5, you are left with 50% green beans and 1/2 of the food.

Step 4:

Remain at 50/50 until your pet reaches its ideal weight.

Step 5:

Once at your goal weight, start to wean your dog from the green beans, going in reverse of how you started.  I suggest do this over 2-3 weeks time.

Step 6:

Make sure your pet is on a healthy diet with plenty of exercise so it can stay at his ideal weight!

Why does the green bean diet work?

The green bean diet adds fiber to your pets diet as well as a reduction of calories.  The extra fiber helps with digestion and provides a feeling of being full, therefore your pup won’t feel like they are starving.  According to PetMD:

“During the course of a normal meal, the stomach and intestines fill, causing distension or stretching of the walls of these organs. Distention causes a release of stomach and intestinal hormones into the blood, which travel to the satiation center of the brain, triggering the “stop eating signal.” Adding fiber increases meal volume without adding significant calories and hastens the satiation effect. The feeling of fullness decreases food consumption and reduces calorie intake. Weight loss experiments have confirmed the effectiveness of this strategy.”

My experience with the green bean diet and Maybelline

Maybelline was my very sweet and very fat Beagle.  When we rescued her, she was malnourished and very underweight.  Over the first few years, she got healthy and strong and really looked good.  A few years after that, she started to get a little chunky.  Then, the poor thing got fat.  Really fat!  She looked like a little pig!


I worked at a vets office and the doctors recommended the green bean diet to remove some of the weight fast.  They knew I was a responsible pet owner and would monitor her closely and watch for signs of nutritional deficiencies.  They also knew that I was looking for a temporary fix and would continue her weight loss management with a healthy diet and exercise.

The results: Maybelline lost weight fast!  She started to have more energy and wanted to go on longer walks.  She even became playful during the diet and would chase a toy (something she never did before).  We did the diet for approximately 7 weeks and after that, and she maintained a healthy weight.  When she started to gain a little (after my daughter was born and food would fly off the high chair and into my waiting Beagle’s mouth), we would put her back on it for a week at a time.

What I liked most about this diet was that it was cheap and super easy to do. I did not have to be a slave in the kitchen preparing meals for the week for Maybel and I didn’t have to run to the vet for special food.  When I would go to Walmart – I would pick up an extra large can of low-sodium green beans.  Easy!

Are their risks in the green bean diet?

I would most certainly say YES, however, I would say there is a risk in anything.  What may work for one pet may not work for another.  It is important to speak with your vet but also to monitor closely anything you do different.  I like to keep a journal to record any unusual behavior, bowel movements and eating patterns.

Going on a diet, even for yourself, has risks.  A friend of mine did the Atkins diet with tremendous success but another friend was constantly sick on it.  Same thing with your fur baby.  When you reduce your caloric intake by 50%, some pets may have an adverse reaction.  It could further complicate undiagnosed medical conditions such as liver, kidney and heart.

In addition, dog food is specifically designed to give all the nutrients needed in a day based on the calorie consumption.  In other words, if your pet needs 100% essential fats, cutting the food in half is only giving 50% of what they need in their regular diet.  If this diet is prolonged, it can result in nutritional deficiencies over time.

What the experts say

Most experts agree that the green bean diet is so simple to do, that many pet owners will do it.  Because obesity in pets is a growing concern, if this diet helps with the weight loss easily, then it should be considered an option.  An overweight dog is not natural and can shorten their life significantly.  And like humans, it can lead to other health problems such as diabetes, joint and back problems and heart conditions.

If your pet is overweight – call your vet and see what they think.  Even for a few weeks, the green bean diet can help drop a few pounds and give your pup more energy to continue his weight loss.

If you have used the green bean diet, I would love to hear your experience.  Comment below to continue the discussion.