When presented with those pleading puppy dog eyes, it can be tempting to treat your pooch with ‘human food’, but as we all know not everything is safe for your pet. However, when it comes to fruit, then bananas can make a safe and healthy treat. We take a look at what this fun and tasty snack can offer your pet to answer the question, ‘can dogs eat bananas?’
Can Dogs Have Bananas?
While some fruits and vegetables are not suitable for dogs, bananas are one of the exceptions, with the American Kennel Club going as far as saying they have health benefits which actually make them good for your dog. Sweet, tasty, and perfectly safe, bananas are nutritious for both canines and humans and are a good source of energy as well as being pretty low in calories. And when it comes to the nutritional breakdown of bananas, there is a lot to offer your pooch.
Low in cholesterol, you get many essential vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. Let’s not forget that bananas are a decent source of extra fiber, with between 3-4 grams per medium-sized fruit, which makes them good for your dog’s digestion and overall good health.
However, as with any treat, moderation is key when it comes to feeding your dog bananas as too much can give your pup stomach upsets. And when feeding small amounts of banana to your pet, it should only ever be fresh and in its raw form, so no banana-flavored sweets or cakes, such as banana bread.
How Bananas Could Benefit Your Dog
As part of a dog-appropriate balanced diet, bananas have numerous health benefits for your pet. And, as long as you are only giving banana as a special treat, there should be no real risk that this low-calorie snack could lead to your dog piling on the pounds. Here are some of the other benefits of bananas for your pup:
Bananas are not too sweet but are tasty enough to satisfy your dog, making them an inexpensive way to treat or reward your pet.
An Excellent Source of Vitamins and Minerals
If used fresh and raw, bananas can help support your dog’s health, as they are a great source of nutrients. These include vitamin C for their immune system and to help reduce inflammation, potassium for healthy heart and kidneys, and magnesium to promote healthy bone growth. You also get vitamin B, which is essential for a host of body and brain functions, plus biotin for healthy skin and coat as well as bone health.
Good for Their Digestion
The high fiber content in fresh bananas means they can help to maintain your dog’s healthy digestive system and keep everything moving smoothly.
Low in Fat and Cholesterol
As well as being naturally low in cholesterol and ‘bad fats’, bananas are also low in sodium and so can make a good alternative to some of the saltier or fatty dog treats you can buy.
If fed fresh and whole (ie, not baked into a sugary treat or a shop-bought banana candy), then bananas are free of additives and artificial nasties.
When are Bananas Bad for Dogs?
Although relatively healthy, bananas can have high sugar content, so moderation is key if you are to avoid any adverse effects for your dog. Too many bananas – and so too much sugar, whether it’s natural sugar or processed – can lead to weight gain in your dog and can also contribute to health conditions such as diabetes. Too much sugar in one go can also irritate their stomach, leading to gastro issues you would rather avoid. And while the fiber in bananas is beneficial, too much all in one go can be a bad thing as excess fiber can actually lead to constipation in dogs.
When feeding your dog bananas, or any other pet-safe treat, it is best to keep it as an occasional tasty treat, to avoid any of these negative issues which could affect your pet and ensure your dog gets all the nutrients they need from a complete and balanced diet.
Is it Safe for Your Dog to Eat Banana Peels?
In answer to the question, can dogs eat banana peels, the best advice is no. While no part of a banana is actually toxic for dogs, you should always only feed them the soft fleshy inside, and not the banana peel. And this is because the rubbery outer skin can be very difficult for a dog to digest, leading to gastrointestinal problems including stomach upset and diarrhea, and may even cause an intestinal blockage if a large piece of peel is consumed. If your dog has eaten the banana peel and you are concerned, do consult your veterinarian for professional advice.
How to Incorporate Bananas in Your Dog’s Diet
If you are in any doubt about whether you should feed bananas to your particular pet, then always seek professional advice as to can dogs eat bananas, especially if you have diabetic dogs to ensure it won’t impact their health. Otherwise, incorporating small portions of banana into your dog’s diet as treats is pretty straightforward.
Here’s how to incorporate bananas for dogs:
- The first ‘rule’ when it comes to can dogs eat bananas is to always keep it as a treat, and not a regular/daily snack as your dog should be getting all their daily vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from their regular dog food diet.
- Always start small, as you should always do when introducing new foods to your pet. Monitor their reaction for 24 hours to ensure they don’t have a digestive upset or allergic reaction.
- Moderation is key – your dog’s treats should make up no more than 10% of their diet. For the best results, use it as an occasional treat or a special reward for good behavior and avoid giving them too much banana in one go.
- Also, watch your serving size – slice a peeled banana into small slices that are appropriate to the size of your dog (but not too small that they could be a choking hazard). You need to give less to a small dog than large dogs, so if you have several dogs, make sure you give each an appropriate amount.
- If your pooch doesn’t like the texture of soft, fresh banana or you want to feed bananas as a cool treat on a hot day, try freezing small pieces of banana first. Frozen bananas will also take longer for your pup to eat.
- Mashed peeled bananas added to your dog’s regular food can be one way to get your dog interested if they are off their food.
Simple Homemade Banana Dog Treat Recipe
As well as serving sliced banana (fresh or frozen) you can also make your own homemade banana-based dog treats. Here is just one of the easy-to-do recipes you could try.
Banana and Peanut Butter Iced Lick
Sweet, with just a little bit of savory, this is a super-easy no-bake recipe your dog will love to eat. And, as it can be frozen into a fillable dog toy such as a Kong, it can be used to keep him occupied and mentally stimulated too.
To make this frozen treat, you will need:
- One ripe banana
- A small scoop of dog-safe peanut butter that doesn’t contain the sugar substitute, xylitol
- A small slice of mild cheese (cut into small pieces)
- Food blender
Add the sliced banana, peanut butter, and cheese pieces to the blender and whizz together until you get a well-blended and lump-free consistency. Spoon the smooth paste into the fillable toy until full and smooth off the top. Place into the freezer until solid.
Now watch your dog become completely occupied as he licks all that banana/peanut butter tastiness!
Q: Can dogs be allergic to bananas?
A: Some dogs can even present with an intolerance or allergy to bananas or find it is too irritating or toxic for their digestive system. Diarrhea or vomiting shortly after eating banana indicates a gastro reaction to the fruit.
If you see any other symptoms such as sneezing, coughing or itching after giving your dog a piece of banana, stop feeding them and speak to your vet. And it goes without saying that more serious reactions, such as difficulty breathing warrants veterinarian attention, pronto.
Q: Do all dogs like bananas?
A: Just like humans, dogs have their food preferences and not all canines will take to bananas. If it is a first-time experience for your dog, then only give them a small piece and observe their reaction – you will soon know if the yellow bendy fruit is not for them!
Q: How often and how much can dogs eat bananas?
A: Although bananas may become one of your doggo’s favorite things, it is essential you only feed them in moderation as too much can potentially cause weight issues as well as digestive and other health problems.
An adult dog should have no more than half a medium-sized banana a day as a maximum, however, the best advice is to keep banana as a once in a while treat. And if you have never given your dog a banana before, start with a very small piece and monitor how they react, before giving them anymore.
Q: Are banana chips safe for my dog?
A: So, can dogs eat banana chips? Well, as long as they are free of artificial sweeteners or added salt, banana chips are safe to give to your dog. In fact, they can be an easy-to-feed treat that is a healthy snack as it’s a source of energy and fiber as well as being tasty. However, you should strictly control how much you give your dog, no more than five chips for a medium-sized pooch otherwise they could have an upset stomach. And avoid making it a daily habit but save them as a very special treat or good behavior reward.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.