Unlike other fruits which might contain toxic components, bananas are safe for your furry friend to eat. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any risks involved. Bananas are high in sugar and carbs, so they must be fed in moderation.
Read on to find out how to treat your canine companion to bananas without causing digestive issues.
Pro tip: Too much banana can cause your furry friend a variety of issues including vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness. Dog insurance helps pay for vet treatment when your pup gets sick or injured. It reimburses you for treatment of basically any unexpected health issues that your dog might encounter. (Image source: American Kennel Club)
Why Bananas Are Good for Your Dog
Bananas are delicious and packed with essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Bananas are also rich in dietary fiber and low in cholesterol and fat, which is why vets often recommend them as a healthier alternative to salty, fatty treats.
Here are some of the health benefits these yellow fruits offer for your four-legged companion:
Improved digestive health. One medium-sized banana contains about 2.6g of fiber, which can help regulate the digestive tract health. The prebiotic fiber in bananas has also been shown to increase healthy gut bacteria and reduce bloating.
Regulated blood pressure levels. Bananas are packed with vitamin B6 and potassium, two nutrients that can help regulate your pup’s blood flow.
Improved bone strength. Potassium in bananas can also prevent calcium loss from bones, whereas magnesium promotes healthy bone growth and muscle maintenance.
Improved cognitive function. Vitamin B6 also helps improve brain function, making sure your pup’s mind is sharp.
Immunity boost. Bananas contain vitamin C, which boosts immunity and helps prevent your furry pal from getting sick.
When Are Bananas Not Good for Your Dog?
As healthy as bananas are, they also contain high levels of sugar and starch. For reference, one medium-sized banana contains 14 g of sugar and 6 g of starch. Too many bananas can lead to diabetes and obesity, or cause stomach upset.
Some pups might be allergic to bananas. If your four-legged friend has never had bananas, start with small amounts and keep an eye on allergy symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, hives, or itching. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop giving bananas and consult with your veterinarian. In case of a more severe reaction, make sure to see your vet right away.
If your canine companion has diabetes or an underlying condition with his kidneys, too many bananas can result in hyperkalemia (high concentration of potassium in the blood), causing symptoms like disorientation, weakness, and even collapse. If your four-legged friend is diabetic or has high blood sugar, it's probably best to keep them away from bananas altogether.
Always consult your vet before making any additions to your pup's diet. Your veterinarian knows your pup’s health and will be able to advise you about how to safely include bananas in their diet.
So, how much is too much?
Bananas should be given occasionally as a treat and should never replace a regular, balanced meal. In general, 2-3 small pieces should be enough for smaller pups, whereas bigger dogs can eat half a banana a day.
Small puppies should have specific diets that support their development and growth, so make sure to consult your veterinarian before offering a banana to your puppy.
Remember, 90% of your dogs’ diet should consist of regular dog food and only 10% of treats as an enjoyable way to reward and motivate your furry pal.
Are Banana Peels Toxic to Dogs?
When it comes to banana peels, be careful. Even though they’re not toxic to dogs, peels are difficult to chew and digest and might result in intestinal blockage. If you suspect your pooch might have eaten a banana peel, watch for signs of gagging or choking and keep an eye on their bowel movements for a few days. In case they don’t vomit or pass the banana peel, you should take them to the vet. If your pup has eaten multiple banana peels, seek veterinarian help immediately.
Are Dried Bananas Safe?
Dried bananas (banana chips) are a convenient energy boost when your pooch needs a quick energy snack. However, even though they are safe for your furry pal, most commercially available banana chips contain high sugar levels and added preservatives.
So, if you’ve been wondering if dogs can eat dried bananas, the answer is yes, but we recommend dehydrating bananas yourself using a dehydrator or your oven.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees, and lightly coat two cookie sheets with a very small amount of oil. Cut the bananas into thin slices and arrange them in a single layer on the cookie sheets. Cook for about 3 hours, until they are dehydrated but not rock solid.
What About Banana Bread?
It depends. While bananas are perfectly safe for your pooch, you need to pay attention to other ingredients that might be inside the banana bread. For instance, if the banana bread contains chocolate chips or raisins, you should not offer it to your pooch because both these ingredients are toxic for dogs.
In addition, most banana breads contain sugar, so you should make sure that your four-legged friend consumes it in moderation. To conclude, if the banana bread is specifically made for your pup and doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients, it can be safe as an occasional treat but should not be offered very often.
How to Feed Your Dog Bananas
Before you feed your furry friend any bananas, talk to your vet. They will be able to tell you the right amount for your pooch based on their age, size, weight, and dietary needs. If your vet okays adding bananas to your dog’s diet, here are several ways you can serve them:
- Slices are the simplest ways to feed your furry pal bananas. Simply remove the peel and slice the fruit. You can also freeze the banana slices and offer them as a refreshing treat on hot summer days.
- Mix bananas with other dog-safe ingredients such as yogurt and peanut butter. If you freeze this mixture, you will get a tasty doggy ice cream. Note: Check if the peanut butter contains xylitol, an ingredient that is toxic to dogs.
- Mix bananas with oats and peanut butter, cut into squares and bake.
- Mash the bananas, stuff them into a dog toy, and freeze them for a cool snack.
Alternatives to Bananas for Dogs
Now we know that bananas are safe for dogs, but what if your canine companion doesn’t like the taste? If that’s the case, don’t fret - there are many other fruits and vegetables that are safe for dogs if given in moderate amounts, such as watermelon, apples, strawberries, cucumbers, potatoes, etc.
Bananas are perfectly safe for your pup, but only when given in moderate amounts. This sweet, yellow fruit is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are beneficial in protecting your dog’s body and maintaining good health. However, if fed improperly, bananas might cause digestive issues, as well as allergic reactions. Always remove the peel and start with small amounts.