If monkeys love bananas, shouldn’t your pooch enjoy this potassium-rich fruit, too? Well, you can argue that your pet is no monkey, but it sure can benefit from the exceptionally wonderful nutritional profile of bananas. So, if you’re wondering if your mutt can consume this type of food, rejoice as it sure can. We will explore some of the reasons why including bananas as canine treats can be particularly helpful in ensuring more optimum canine health. We’ll also be exploring some of the don’ts that you need to observe when giving your mutt a banana.
Nutrient Profile of Bananas
This yummy yellow fruit is well-regarded for its energy-giving content. A hundred grams of raw, fresh banana can provide 89 calories, 93% of which comes from carbohydrates, 4% from protein, and 3% from fats. Unfortunately, more than 53% of the total carbohydrate content of banana is in the form of sugar so giving it to an already obese pooch may not really be a good idea. Additionally, it should also not be given as part of a doggie meal. However, it can always be used as a doggie treat, fully capable of giving your pooch the energy it requires to continue playing or even working. Aside from these macronutrients, bananas are also rich in the following substances.
- Potassium – Among humans, potassium is very important in the maintenance of cellular and tissue integrity, being part of the all-important sodium-potassium pump mechanism. Among canids, potassium may also have similar benefits including the enhancement of metabolism and nervous system functioning and the maintenance of normal fluid and electrolyte balance.
Potassium is particularly useful among elderly canids as it can help improve cognitive function. By allowing for the blood vessels in the brain to dilate at a more efficient level, blood flow is improved and the delivery of oxygen and other vital nutrients is enhanced. This can spell significant improvements in the cognitive functioning especially of elderly dogs.
Potassium is also important in muscle contractions and is helpful in preventing muscle cramps. At any rate this can help improve the overall mobility of your pooch. Moreover, sufficient potassium levels in the blood can help improve the amount of calcium that is used to increase bone density. This helps strengthen the bones, making it a lot more resilient against fractures.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – While the kind of essential fatty acid found in plants is in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, it nevertheless provides amazing benefits that are somewhat similar to its fish-derived cousins, the EPA and DHA. Alpha-linolenic acid may provide sufficient cardioprotection by affecting a variety of inflammatory processes. Although dogs are not really known to be highly susceptible to cardiovascular problems, it pays to have a healthier heart, nevertheless.
- Vitamin C – One of the most popular vitamins is ascorbic acid. Even members of the canine family can benefit from such a vitamin especially in terms of its antioxidant effects as well as known effects on the production of collagen. This helps promote healthier skin which is important as the primary defense barrier against any external threats.
- Choline – This nutrient is important for maintaining optimum liver health. This is important especially in dogs because the liver is what naturally detoxifies everything. By improving its overall functioning, a dog’s liver can process almost anything that is fed into its system. Aside from healthier liver functioning, choline can also support enhanced functioning of the brain and nerves while also enhancing muscle movement.
- Magnesium and phosphorus – Both of these minerals are important for the establishment and maintenance of healthier and stronger bones, which can then aid in improved mobility for dogs.
- Phytosterols – These sterols are important components of the cell membrane, making sure that the different structures inside the cell are adequately protected against insults and threats. It is primarily regarded in its cancer-protective and cholesterol-lowering benefits in humans. Among dogs, phytosterols are important for maintaining the integrity of the skin as well as the general health of the coat.
Watch Out for the Peel and Eating Too Much
Like everything else consumed in excess, giving your pooch too many bananas can lead to constipation. This is most likely related to the high fiber content of bananas. But isn’t fiber supposed to aid in bowel elimination? The issue is in the amount of resistant starch contained in the banana. Resistant starch doesn’t get digested and are easily passed into the stool. This aids in bowel movement. However, resistant starch is found in greater proportions in green or unripe bananas. As the fruit ripens and turns yellow, the amount of resistant starch actually decreases. So, the amount of soluble fiber in ripe yellow bananas also decreases which can lead to constipation. As such, if you need to give your pet bananas, make sure to give the green one. Otherwise, give only ripe bananas in moderation.
Additionally, make sure not to give the peel. While it is not toxic to your pooch, it can block the digestive tract. So, to be on the safe side, better not give the peel.
Serving Bananas to Your Pooch
Can you remember slathering peanut butter on your banana as a kid? Well, it turns out that dogs love peanut butter, too. As such you can try making a banana-peanut butter treat for your pooch. You will need to blend a ripe banana, a slice of cheese, and a scoop of your favorite peanut butter. Blend the mixture very well and insert it into a Kong toy or any other similar chew toy. You can also add oat flour and egg to the mixture and then bake it as a treat. This is a great alternative if you don’t have a Kong chew toy. You can also add pumpkin, honey, and yogurt to make the treat a lot more appetizing. Of course, you can still give fresh ripe bananas to your pooch, just keep in mind to give in moderation and to not give the peel.
Bananas can be given as treats to dogs. It contains a lot of nutrients that can help enhance the overall health of your mutt. Just don’t give the peel and to do it in moderation.