Today’s question: can dogs eat bananas? Are bananas good or bad for dogs? Scroll down for detailed answers.
Bananas are a delicious fruit; sweet, healthy and attractively packaged in their own designer sleeve. An added bonus of the banana coming in its own sleeve is that the inside of the banana remains relatively toxin free. The skin of the banana protects the fruit from chemicals and free radicals that other fruits, such as an apple, do not have. Grown on trees in many climates, they are universally eaten the world over, either as a snack, a quick energy source (sprinters and tennis players are often seen consuming a banana before exercise to aid with explosive energy), on top of your corn flakes or as part of the trendy smoothie generation.
While the banana is usually eaten a whole, or as a whole cut up on top of other foods, the banana may also be pureed. The pureed banana is a great food source for babies and people without the ability to chew well. The banana may also be blended into a smoothie, combined with other fruits, or made into banana bread. However you choose to enjoy the banana, you are benefitting from such a nutritious source of vitamins and minerals risk free.
With the relative safety of the banana, the easy access, and low cost, many owners of dogs may wonder if the banana is safe to share with their favorite pet. Can dogs enjoy banana cut into pieces on top of their kibble as you enjoy banana on top of your cereal? Would dogs enjoy a banana Popsicle or the last nibble of your snack? Is the banana a safe treat for your dog?
Can dogs eat bananas?
There is an urban myth that eating more than 10 bananas in one go can cause a severe potassium overload to humans and cause damage. In fact, a human would need to eat many hundreds in one sitting to get close to feeling any side effects, but can dogs eat bananas, and if so, does it need to be in moderation? Does potassium overload effect dogs?
Luckily for all the banana lovers out there, it is perfectly safe for ‘man’s best friend’ to enjoy bananas as a treat, either as a way of making the traditional doggy food a little more exciting or as a between meals snack. In fact, not only can they eat bananas, some would argue they should eat bananas occasionally since there are many health benefits to be gained from the curved soft fleshy fruit.
Dogs in the wild do not have easy access to bananas or think to themselves how much a banana would be wonderful to eat on this beautiful day. Dogs are primarily meat eaters and differ from humans in this regard. However, adding banana to the food of your dog will provide added nutrients to their bodies to ensure a healthy and well balanced diet. Your dog will probably enjoy the treat in a similar matter as you do given that the banana is sweet and outside of the taste dog food provides. There is also the texture of the banana that may offer your dog the feeling of variety since she/he will not have to chew and crunch as much as with the kibble.
Benefits of bananas
Bananas have many great nutrients and vitamins that help keep your canine companion strong, happy, and healthy. They are a great source of potassium, (a mineral and an electrolyte) which keeps the bones strong, blood vessel function in order, regulating the acidity levels on fluids in the body and helps to maintain blood pressure levels, (perfect for those dogs with stressful 9-5 jobs…). Those who lack potassium may suffer from other health problems since potassium is such a key ingredient to well-being. Many who suffer leg cramps, or who have restless legs, find that eating a banana is a quick fix for muscle pain and alleviating the cramping.
Manganese is also a vitamin within the banana that offers great benefits. Manganese also assists with blood pressure levels and can also be helpful with over excited dogs, working as a calming effect (think a gentle cooking program on a lazy Sunday morning). The calming effect of a banana may be deemed useful ahead of Fourth of July fireworks, an upcoming party, or before a visit to the vet. Rather than medicate your dog with chemicals, a safer method is to simply offer a banana or two leading up the potentially stressful event.
Pyridoxine is also there, (also known as Vitamin B-6), which helps to fight anemia and poor growth. Not many dog owners may think to offer vitamin B-6 to their dog’s diet given that anemia and poor growth is often associated with humans. Many afflictions that occur within humans may also occur within dogs. Dogs who do not eat enough meat, or who may refuse their dog food, may begin to develop anemia and the added vitamin B-6 could help in reversing the symptoms.
Bananas contain vitamin C which is used for maintaining a strong immune system, protecting cells from damage and promotes the growth of cartilage. Immune system boosters are always beneficial, whether you are a dog or a master. As leader of the pack, your dog needs to remain in top health and have the ability to ward of impending sickness. A strong immune system is shown to prevent not only colds and allergies, but sickness and disease. Boosting the immune system of your pet can help ensure a healthy and long life for the both of you to enjoy.
Fiber pectin, which helps with keeping the bowel movements regular like clockwork, is also within the banana. Fiber is just as important in digestive health as within the help of the immune system. Toxins and waste must be released from the body of your dog, and the safest way to ensure this is through awareness of their digestive schedule. Bananas may be used to prevent problems, but also to heal them through the added benefit of fiber. Most dogs would probably eat a fiber rich banana before drinking a glass of Metamucil.
Antioxidants are also present in the banana, offering help to prevent certain cancers and maintain a healthy skin and coat. Healthy skin and coat is not only for the beauty of your dog, but for their comfort and wellness. Dogs do not like dry and itchy skin prone to rashes any more than their masters do. By offering your dog help in smooth skin and soft fur, you prevent the itching, scratching, and biting of the inflamed skin.
All these benefits of the banana, and they are also low in the harmful stuff, like sodium and cholesterol. What’s not to love about bananas then?!
What should you watch out for?
Every coin has a flip side and likewise with dietary specifications, there are always things to be aware of and keep in mind. The main note of caution in this happy tale is if they are too prevalent in a dog’s diet, Fido may just be eating too much sugar (and you thought the sugar epidemic was just for humans!) For particularly active dogs this may just mean that throwing sticks for them to retrieve lasts that extra half hour with their added energy when you are ready to put your feet up and enjoy a cup of tea, but for the shall we say slightly more ‘pedestrian’ dogs this can lead to weight gain.
Added sugar to your dog’s diet is not necessarily a good thing. The sugar can cause weight gain, diabetes, trouble sleeping, bad teeth, and an aversion to plain old dog food. Keep sugar levels in mind when offering your dog any type of fruit, and be sure to only feed fruit in moderation.
In the event of feeding dogs the peel, do not offer this part of the banana. Generally the peel is not fit for consumption for smaller dogs, or those dogs who like to swallow more than chew, but there is nothing toxic in the skin for you to worry about. With and without the peel, bananas can also be difficult to digest for some dogs, so prevent blockages by peeling the banana and offering the fruit in small bites. It is always best to break it up into much smaller pieces or mash it up into a puree or paste. In the event your dog ate your bowl of bananas, peel and all, when your back was turned, do not worry about your dog being poisoned. The peel will not be harmful in and of itself to your dog, but the peel could offer tummy troubles during digestion. In this event, consulting your local vet will aid you in the process of what to do next.
Like any new food, it should be introduced slowly and cautiously, keeping a keen eye for any allergies, unusual weight changes or gastrointestinal problems.
How much is too much?
How long is a piece of string is the obvious answer. Every dog is different and so every dog’s limits are different. It is generally thought that a medium sized dog eating an inch of banana a day is fine. Over that and sugar and potassium overload is possible.
How to prepare bananas to dogs
It’s simple to prepare bananas for your pooch, you don’t really need any special skills. Just remove the peel to prevent chocking and indigestion. Cut the bananas into bite-sized pieces and offer them to your dog. Start out slowly with a few pieces and then monitor your dog for any adverse effects. Generally, dogs are not allergic to bananas and can digest them pretty well.
If you like to bake, you can add bananas into your homemade dog treats. Use ripe bananas without any brown spots. You can also dip a banana piece into peanut butter for extra delicious treat. I’m sure your dog would love it!
Another great idea is to add bananas to plain yogurt and serve it to your dog occasionally. You can also use sliced bananas as behavioral treats.
Green bananas are also fine for dogs but ripe bananas are a better option. Some dogs may have a harder time to digest green bananas. If your dog seems to be doing well eating green bananas the you can continue giving him these. Slice them thinly and offer them to your pooch.
Remember, moderation is key. Too many bananas can cause constipation and other problems.
Check out these 5 other fruits that dogs can eat and learn why they are good for dogs:
Can puppies eat bananas?
Yes, puppies can eat bananas in limited servings and frequency. Just make sure that your puppy is old enough to eat solids already.
Cut a few thin slices of bananas and offer them to your pup. You can give these banana treats to your pooch twice a week.
Start out slowly and in small quantities and observe your pup after feeding him bananas. If you don’t see any unusual behavior or symptoms, you can continue feeding bananas to your pup.
What to do if your dog had too many bananas
It’s always best to consult with your vet before introducing any new foods into your pet’s diet.
If your dog loves bananas and has gotten into your fruit bowl and ate too many of them, monitor your dog closely. Your dog may experience constipation, diarrhea, allergic reactions, or vomiting. It’s also recommended to contact your local veterinarian for advice on your dog’s situation.
Generally, your dog should be fine after 24 hours. However, if your pet’s symptoms won’t improve after 24 hours, you should probably pay a visit to the vet.
Also, remember not to give large amounts of bananas to your pooch. Excessive consumption of bananas overtime may lead to heart problems since bananas contain high levels of potassium.
In conclusion, you should feed your dog bananas! Many dogs love them as a sweet treat, and for those that do not like them it is purely a matter of taste, not toxicity (some dogs really don’t like the smell of bananas). They are a great source of many natural vitamins and nutrients which keep a dog’s tail wagging with health and happiness, especially as a rich source of potassium.
Like all things though, occasional treats need to be just that, occasional! A banana is not a satisfactory meal, just a supplement or treat, and overindulgence means too much sugar and the resulting problems. But in general – the advice is ‘go bananas’ and let them enjoy!