Peas have been a common dog food ingredient for years but the recent rise of grain free foods has seen their popularity skyrocket.
In moderation, whole peas (as opposed to refined pea protein or pea flour) are a great source of health-promoting antioxidants as well as a wide spectrum of nutrients including vitamins C, K and B1, manganese, fibre and folate, all of which are highly beneficial to dogs. They also contain a relatively high level of protein which, while not nearly as desirable as animal protein, may help to shore up any amino acids that may otherwise be lacking in the diet.
Peas are, however, not without their controversies. First off, too much pea in any food and it starts looking less like a healthy addition chosen for its nutritional value and more like a filler chosen for its relatively low cost.
Then there's the question of lectins - a group of potentially problematic proteins found in peas and other legumes. Take a look at our article here for more information on lectins and how to mitigate any risks they may pose to your dog.
And lastly is the recent highly questionable association of legumes including peas with the DCM heart condition in pets. Although this has caused a certain amount of hysteria in some parts of the pet community, at this stage (Feb 2020) there really is no evidence to support these claims. You can find lots more information on the matter here.
While these factors may put many off of feeding diets containing peas to their dogs, at this stage and with the knowledge currently available I think the benefits of peas still outweigh any potential risks.
Find foods containing Peas See the full Ingredient Glossary