Can Dogs Eat Hummus? (Detailed Explanation)

Hummus has a rich, creamy flavor so full of healthy ingredients that it has been dubbed a superfood!  If this food is so nutritious for us, one might wonder if it’s good for our dogs too.  Surely your dog loves to stare at you while you eat in hopes of gaining a tiny morsel.  So, should you give him one?

can dogs eat hummus
Can Dogs Eat Hummus?

The ingredients in hummus are packed with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fiber.  Great for you, but not great for your dog.  Can your dog eat hummus?  No, hummus is toxic for dogs.  While hummus is primarily made from ground-up chickpeas, which are safe for dogs, this isn’t the only ingredient.  Hummus also contains lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and garlic to enhance the flavor.  Garlic is poisonous to dogs and will damage their red blood cells.  Lemon juice can cause your dog to have severe stomach pain due to its high acidity level.  Dog’s sensitive digestive systems don’t respond well to acidic foods, so they should always be avoided.

So, what about hummus made without garlic and lemon juice?  Is it safe?  What if your dog accidentally eats hummus?  Let’s take a closer look at the safety of hummus.

What if my dog accidentally eats hummus?

You left a plate of hummus on the table, and your curious, naughty canine snuck a bite.  Now what?  First of all, don’t panic.  A small portion or lick of hummus will likely not cause too many side effects.  If he’s consumed a lot of hummus, it can cause stomach issues.  The quantity your dog consumes will determine whether it’s a concern.  Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t know just how much of something our dog has consumed, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on him.

If you notice that your dog is vomiting, excessively drooling, or experiencing abdominal pain after consuming hummus, it’s best to contact your vet as soon as possible.

Even if your dog appears to be fine, there’s a possibility of long-term damage to his digestive system.  Symptoms of toxicity can manifest themselves later on in the form of organ damage or digestive intolerances.  While it’s not an emergency if your dog isn’t showing symptoms, it is still worth contacting your vet to find out if they need intervention.

As a rule, it’s best to ensure all human snacks are kept out of reach of your dog, especially if they have the potential to be toxic.  Food shouldn’t be left unattended within reach of your canine.

Is hummus without garlic and lemon juice safe?

Typically, hummus is made with garlic and lemon juice.  This is what gives it its distinct flavor.  If you homemade hummus using only mashed chickpeas with no added ingredients, it’s not only safe for your dog; it’s very healthy.  The key is that it is pure mashed chickpeas with no harmful or toxic ingredients.

Harmful ingredients in hummus

The ingredients in hummus are the crux of its safety for dogs.

Traditionally, hummus is a dip or spread that’s popular in Middle Eastern cuisine.  It’s made for cooked and mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.  Some recipes add other custom ingredients to create different flavors, and commercially prepared hummus may also contain a variety of artificial colorings, flavors, and preservatives.

Hummus is a fantastic source of fiber, protein, vitamin B6, and manganese, but the basic ingredients can make your dog sick.  Garlic, for example, is one of the most toxic human foods for dogs, and it’s commonly contained in hummus.

If hummus is so healthy for us, why is it so dangerous for dogs?  To answer this, let’s look at the individual ingredients in more detail.

1. Chickpeas (not toxic)

Chickpeas are the primary ingredient in hummus and are not toxic for your dog.  This legume can be eaten in a variety of ways aside from hummus, including salads, soups, and stews.  They are healthy for you and can be healthy for your dog if fed properly.

Because chickpeas are a rich source of fiber, they keep you and your dog feeling full for longer.  This is a great feature to help with maintaining a healthy body weight.  Since they are also rich in protein and many vitamins, they provide benefits for maintaining good cellular health as well.

For your dog, specifically, chickpeas support eye health and strengthen the immune system.  They can also help to regulate blood sugar in pre-diabetic dogs.

Blended or mashed, chickpeas themselves are a healthy snack for your dog, combined with a balanced diet of animal protein and other vegetables.

2. Tahini (not toxic)

The condiment tahini is made from toasted, ground, hulled sesame seeds.  It can be used on its own as a dip or as an ingredient in many dishes.

Dogs can safely eat tahini, as it isn’t toxic for them.  In moderate amounts, it can even be a healthy treat.  It provides ample amounts of protein, fatty acids, calcium, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus, all of which promote your dog’s health.

Tahini also contains ingredients that lower blood pressure and cholesterol in both humans and canines.

The downside is that some dogs have trouble digesting tahini.  Because a dog’s digestive system is designed to primarily digest meat, some have problems digesting seeds.

3. Lemon juice (potentially harmful)

There are many benefits of lemon juice for human health, but it’s a definite no-no for your dog.  While it’s not inherently toxic, there is no nutritional benefit to feeding your dog lemon juice.  Note:  The juice isn’t toxic, but lemons are.

Even though it won’t poison your dog, lemon juice is extremely acidic and causes serious digestive upset in dogs.  This can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.

The negative impact of lemon juice on your dog far outweighs any possible benefits and should not be fed to them in any form.

4. Garlic (toxic)

Along with lemon juice, garlic is the number one ingredient that makes hummus dangerous for dogs.

Dogs metabolize food differently than humans.  Garlic contains thiosulfate, an ingredient also present in onions, shallots, and leeks, all of which can be fatal for dogs.

Thiosulfate damages a dog’s red blood cells and causes hemolytic anemia, a condition that can be fatal.  Symptoms of hemolytic anemia include:

  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your dog’s skin)
  • Lethargy and body weakness
  • Pale-colored mucous membranes
  • Rapid breathing

The toxic effects of garlic occur when consuming 15 to 30 grams per kilogram of body weight.  To put this in perspective, an average clove of garlic weighs between 3 and 7 grams.  The problem is that once it’s ground up, as it is in hummus, there’s no way to know how much or how little garlic your dog is consuming.

Since it’s toxic, your dog should not be fed any garlic-containing food.

hummus for dogs
Hummus for dogs

How do you make hummus for your dog?

While pure chickpea hummus isn’t very palatable to us, it’s safe for your dog.  If you want to make hummus that is tasty for both of you, there is an alternative to using garlic and lemon juice.  Roasted beets are a great way to add flavor to hummus without it becoming toxic for your dog.

Excess amounts may still cause your dog to become gassy or bloating, sometimes resulting in abdominal distention.  Because of this, it’s best to only let your dog have it as a small treat.

Recipe for dog-friendly hummus

  1. Combine the following ingredients in a blender or food processor:
    • One can of chickpeas
    • 1 tablespoon of basil
    • some spinach
    • 3 tablespoons of tahini
    • One tablespoon of powdered cumin
    • ½ tablespoon of olive oil
    • Two tablespoons of cold water
  2. Mix or blend the ingredients until you reach the desired consistency.  This hummus can be stored in your refrigerator for up to one week.

Canine health benefits of chickpeas

As stated above, chickpeas are extremely healthy for your dog.  There are several advantages to using them.  They are inexpensive, convenient, and provide large amounts of protein and fiber.  These factors make them beneficial for your dog’s digestive system (when they are fed without added ingredients).

Chickpeas contain potassium, lecithin, and vitamins A, B, and C, which help to stimulate your dog’s learning and memory capabilities.  These vitamins are also essential for proper metabolism, and potassium plays a role in heart and kidney health.

Making a homemade version of hummus that doesn’t contain salt, garlic, or lemon juice makes it a safer alternative for supplementing your dog’s nutrition with chickpeas.  As an alternative, you can cook chickpeas to soften them, then mash them up for your dog.  Dipping carrot sticks in homemade hummus can provide a protein boost to your dog’s regular food.

The bottom line

While hummus might be your favorite snack, it’s not safe to share with your dog.  If you genuinely want to share the nutritional benefits of hummus with your dog, make a dog-friendly version that doesn’t contain toxic ingredients.

When it comes to hummus, you’re better safe than sorry.  As an extra precaution, feed your dog small amounts of dog-friendly hummus to ensure there are no side effects.  Every dog is unique in its digestive system.  Exercising caution will help keep your canine companion healthy and happy.

Related Questions

Can dogs eat hummus chips?

Most commercially available hummus chips don’t have garlic listed as an ingredient, but they do have onion, which is also toxic to dogs.  While a few hummus chips aren’t likely to poison your dog, it is still best to avoid feeding them.  They also contain significant amounts of salt, which isn’t a good choice for your dog’s diet.

Can dogs eat red pepper hummus?

Onion and garlic are both poisonous for a dog.  Fancier hummus recipes that contain red pepper or Middle Eastern spices like such can cause extreme upset to your dog’s digestive system, which will cause more issues.  For this reason, you should avoid feeding any commercially prepared hummus to your dog.  Sticking to dog-friendly homemade versions will ensure that the hummus is safe.

What seasonings or spices are safe for dogs?

There are only five seasonings that are confirmed to be safe for dogs to consume.  They are basil, cinnamon, ginger, parsley, and turmeric (in small quantities).   These seasonings are not just safe but provide health benefits as well.

Basil has antiviral and antimicrobial properties.  It can elevate mood, lower stress levels, and provide relief from arthritis pain.

Cinnamon is well known for its anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to counter the health impact of diabetes.  It holds the added benefit of fighting off bad breath.

Ginger also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.  It soothes nausea, boosts the digestive system, and improves circulation.  While it is quite strong, it’s best to use dried or ground ginger for your dog.

Parsely has a variety of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.  It can help flush toxins out of the body and improve bad breath.  Parsley is a popular ingredient in dog dental chews to help fight off bad doggie breath.

Turmeric is a root spice, similar to ginger.  It provides a metabolism boost that can aid in weight loss while also promoting cardiovascular, joint, and brain health.  For protection against cancer, arthritis, and anemia, turmeric supplements made specifically for dogs can be purchased at many pet stores.

What other foods are toxic for dogs?

Hummus isn’t the only human food that can be deadly for dogs.  There are a few other popular ones as well.  They include:

  • Chocolate – This one is well-known to be poisonous to pets, but it’s worth mentioning because it may be the most toxic food of all for dogs.
  • Avocado – While super popular as a health food, avocado has zero benefits for your dog and can cause serious damage to his digestive tract.
  • Raisins and grapes – Since grapes and raisins are the same food, they are both toxic for dogs, as ingesting them causes a complete shutdown of a dog’s kidney function.
  • Onions – The toxicity of onions for dogs is nearly identical to that of garlic.  Since it has zero health benefits for them, it’s best to steer clear.
stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.