Dog parents can often be tempted to give their canine friends the same food that they eat. Not all human-grade food is safe for dogs, including some fruits and veggies.
Can dogs eat bananas? We’ll answer this question in depth in today’s article and provide you with all of the information you want to know.
But here’s a quick answer: bananas are indeed safe to feed to dogs, but only in limited amounts. This fruit has a high sugar content, and if you give it to your dog in large quantities and on a regular basis, it might affect their health.
Benefits for dogs
On top of being safe, bananas are rich in several nutrients that make them a relatively healthy treat.
Vitamin C is an excellent ingredient in bananas and it has been linked with supporting the immune system. It’s also a good antioxidant and it prevents inflammation.
Some veterinarians recommend giving bananas to dogs whenever they are experiencing gastrointestinal problems. This is due to the fruit’s ability to regulate both human and animal digestion since it is rich in fiber.
Mineral-rich fruit, including bananas, can help in preventing bone health problems such as ricketts and osteoarticular problems such as arthritis.
If your dog has been experiencing problems with their skin and coat, adding some banana into their diet can improve their condition. Biotin (also known as vitamin B7) can support not only your dog’s coat health, but also their nail health.
How much to feed
It’s generally acknowledged that on a regular day, dogs should have 90% of their diet composed of the nutrients they need (proteins, fats, and healthy carbohydrates), and only 10% of their diet should be made up of snacks or treats.
Since a banana can’t be considered a meal for any dog and given that it contains a lot of sugar, it should only be fed to dogs in limited amounts.
While banana peels aren’t themselves toxic, they are clearly harder to digest than the inside of the fruit.
In general, fruit peels are a no-go for dogs and other pets as they can contain traces of chemicals either from when they were farmed or when they were shipped.
It’s not uncommon for farmers to spray their fruit with certain substances so that they can last for weeks until they reach their destination.
Although very few dogs are allergic to bananas, you can’t know whether your own is or not. That is why it’s a good idea to start feeding your pooch small amounts in the beginning in order to assess whether the treat can cause an allergic reaction.
Some of the symptoms you should be on the lookout for are the following:
- Difficult breathing
If any of these show up, take your canine friend to the vet as soon as possible.
Obesity and diabetes
Obesity can be caused by a variety of other factors besides using fruit as treats, such as lack of exercise and a slower metabolism (in geriatric dogs and those that have been neutered or spayed).
As for diabetes, you’d have to feed your dog massive amounts of bananas for this health problem to be caused solely by the fruit. However, it shouldn’t be given to dogs that are already suffering from this medical condition.
Giving raw bananas to dogs is convenient, and there’s no doubt about it. But the downside is that you’d have to peel a banana each time you’d want to give your pooch a treat.
Here are some feeding ideas:
- Banana chips
- Banana bread
- Frozen and sliced bananas
- Mashed up bananas mixed with peanut butter (no other sweeteners)
- Stuffing the fruit into a Kong toy so that your dog has fun all day long
If you want to make your own banana bread, you have to make sure that you don’t add any artificial sweeteners to the recipe. Xylitol is one of the most dangerous of all, and if you’re on a diet, you might use it in your cooking instead of sugar.
Xylitol ‘tricks’ dogs’ bodies into believing that they have very high blood sugar, which is why the pancreas releases huge amounts of insulin. Most dogs that eat xylitol by accident don’t survive.
This fruit is beneficial not just in the form of treats. If your canine friend has a hard time swallowing medication prescribed by the veterinarian and you can’t handle the task of trying to shove the pill down his throat time and again, you can hide the tablet into a piece of banana.
We advise against mashing the banana and pill altogether as medications often have weird smells and tastes. Therefore, your dog will be able to tell what you are trying to do.
Since bananas are rather soft, simply push the capsule or tablet into a piece (like a 5th of a banana) and then cover it up with the sides of the fruit.
Dogs that are banana enthusiasts aren’t going to say no to the treat. Moreover, they have a good chance of gobbling it up without realizing that they’ve also swallowed the medication.
While bananas are generally healthy and safe for dogs, you should try to avoid going overboard. Small amounts are perfectly fine, but if you tend to give your dog a banana every day, at one point, they will develop a health condition.