NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be okay for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.
Giving fruits and vegetables to your dog as a snack can be a healthy treat, filled with vitamins and minerals. But keep in mind that certain fruits or veggies can be toxic for dogs to eat, like grapes and raisins.
Bananas are a common and healthy fruit for people, and lots of dogs will happily beg for a bite of banana as well.
Read on to learn more about how to safely serve your dog bananas, their health benefits for dogs, and how much banana your dog can eat.
Are Bananas Good for Dogs?
Bananas are safe for dogs to eat, and they also come with some health benefits. But like a lot of fruits, moderation is key. Smaller dogs and puppies should generally get smaller amounts to prevent any stomach upset.
The main drawback to bananas for dogs is their high sugar content. Too much sugar in your dog’s diet can cause various health problems, including weight gain and diabetes. And if your dog is already overweight or has diabetes or other health issues, they should not be getting the extra sugar from bananas or other fruits.
Health Benefits of Bananas for Dogs
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t expect a significant nutritional benefit from giving your dog the small amount of banana that’s okay for them.
That being said, bananas do contain a variety of vitamins and minerals:
Fiber is known for helping solve gastrointestinal issues. It promotes stool health and regularity.
Vitamin C promotes bone, cartilage, and teeth health. And it boosts the immune system, helps the body absorb iron, and helps wounds heal quicker.
Vitamin B6 helps with mood and cognitive function, balances the amino acid levels in the blood, boosts the immune system, and helps protect against infection.
Potassium is a type of electrolyte that helps muscles contract, supports normal blood pressure, and helps regulate the levels of fluid in the cells.
Magnesium helps support nerve and muscle function, supports energy production, may promote heart health, and has anti-inflammatory benefits.
Biotin not only helps with hair, skin, and nail health, but it also promotes brain function, suppresses inflammation, and boosts immunity.
Can Bananas Help With Dog Diarrhea or Constipation?
Bananas have high fiber content, which can help with gastrointestinal issues in dogs. However, this is somewhat offset by their sugar content. Too much sugar (or fiber) can cause your dog to have diarrhea.
Typically, the fiber in the banana should help your dog have healthier bowel movements. However, too much fiber could cause constipation in dogs. Only give your dog bananas occasionally in small portions as a treat.
Carrots and pumpkin are also high in fiber and can help with your dog’s stomach upset. They both have more fiber and less sugar than bananas.
Between all three, pumpkin has the least sugar and the most fiber. This is why veterinarians often recommend canned pumpkin for dogs who have mild constipation.
Can Dogs Be Allergic to Bananas?
Just like with humans, dogs can have food allergies. So if your dog has never had bananas before, try testing them out by only giving your dog a small amount.
Then watch for signs of food intolerance in the short-term (not an allergy). This will show up as gastrointestinal distress in the form of vomiting, diarrhea, pain in the belly, or lethargy (low energy).
Skin and ear conditions, including chronic itchiness, skin lesions, or ear infections, occur more chronically and take a while to develop.
Can Dogs Eat Banana Peels?
When feeding your dog bananas as a treat, it’s important to make sure they don’t eat the banana peel. Although they are not naturally toxic to dogs, banana peels often contain a large amount of pesticides.
They’re also not easily digestible and can cause an intestinal blockage. That means that the banana peel could block part or all of your dog’s intestines—preventing any liquids or solids from passing through.
Signs of intestinal blockage are:
If you suspect that your dog may have an intestinal blockage, take them into your veterinary clinic immediately. If your vet’s office is closed, reach out to an emergency veterinary hospital.
Your vet may recommend anything from fluid therapy to surgery, depending on the severity of the blockage.
Can Dogs Eat Banana Chips or Dried Bananas?
Dried banana chips are not recommended for several reasons. If not chewed, they can absorb water, swell, and cause an obstruction that could even need to be removed surgically.
In addition, banana chips purchased from the store often contain unwanted preservatives and high levels of sugar.
Can Dogs Eat Banana Bread?
If you happen to drop a piece of banana bread on the floor, and your pup scoops it up before you do, double-check the ingredients list. Banana bread could contain things like raisins, xylitol, or nutmeg—which are all toxic to dogs.
If your dog accidentally eats banana bread that contains any harmful ingredients—or you’re unsure of the ingredients—contact your veterinarian immediately.
If you’ve made the banana bread at home and you’re sure there are no toxic ingredients, your dog should be fine. But remember that sweet treats like this usually have a high sugar content, which can upset your dog’s stomach. So it’s not the best choice as a dog treat.
Can Dogs Eat Banana Pudding?
Banana pudding should be avoided. Pudding has a high sugar content, preservatives, and possibly other ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Again, if your dog ate some banana pudding, it’s always safest to contact your veterinarian for advice.
Can Dogs Eat Frozen Bananas?
Giving your dog an entire frozen banana would be dangerous, both because the serving is too large—which may upset their stomach—and because it could be swallowed and cause an intestinal blockage.
However, mashing up a little bit of the banana, putting it in your dog’s KONG toy, and then freezing it can be a delicious and entertaining treat for your pup.
How Much Banana Can Dogs Eat?
With any dog treat—even the healthy ones—treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s diet. The other 90% should come from a well-balanced dog food diet. In general, this means a whole banana would be too much, especially for smaller or younger dogs.
Here are some generally safe amounts of banana based on a dog’s weight. Each “slice” should only be ¼-inch thick:
Extra-small dog (2-20 lbs.) = 1-2 slices of banana
Small dog (21-30 lbs.) = 2-3 slices of banana
Medium dog (31-50 lbs.) = 5-6 slices of banana
Large dog (51-90 lbs.) = handful of slices
Extra-large dog (91+ lbs.) = half of a banana
If you think your dog ate too much banana, look out for symptoms of an upset stomach, including:
Decreased appetite or loss of appetite
Drinking less water
Gulping or licking their lips, the air, or objects
If you see these symptoms, call your vet. If you see worsening symptoms like vomiting, excessive diarrhea, blood in their vomit or stool, weakness, or collapse, take your dog to the vet immediately.
How to Feed Your Dog Bananas
When feeding bananas to your dog, it’s best to follow a few simple guidelines to help keep them safe:
Remove the banana peel
Cut into small pieces
Give in moderation
Some of the ways you can safely feed bananas to your dog include:
Mashed bananas can be added on top of your dog’s food.
Frozen and mashed bananas can be put into your dog’s KONG. You can even make a peanut butter and banana dog popsicle by mixing a little bit of a mashed banana with some peanut butter and a little water. Stuff this mixture into your KONG before freezing it.
Cut the banana into small, ¼-inch thick pieces and give them to your dog like small treats.
Featured Image: Adobe/Ivan
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