Over the last decade or so, lentils and other legumes have become increasingly popular in pet foods as alternatives to grains.
Lentils have been cultivated by humans for over 11,000 years giving rise to dozens of different forms all over the world. It's therefore reasonable to assume that they have been at least some part of the diet of domesticated dogs for around the same length of time.
In moderation, lentils are a great source of nutrients for dogs. As well as abundant fibre and protein, they provide a rich source of numerous nutrients including B vitamins, phosphorus, iron, zinc and carotenoids amongst others.
Their low starch content and high fibre make lentils a useful option for diabetic dogs and since they tend to leave a dog feeling fuller for longer, they can also help take the edge off for very hungry dogs.
Lentils are, however, not without their controversies. First off, too much lentil 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 lentils 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 lentils 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 lentils to their dogs, at this stage and with the knowledge currently available I think the benefits of lentils still outweigh any potential risks.
Find foods containing Lentils See the full Ingredient Glossary