Can Dogs Eat Bananas Safely?
Giving your dog a little bit of human food is one of the simplest pleasures of being a pet owner. Not only does it feel like you’re giving them a little bit of a naughty treat, but it can also make you feel like they’re more of a member of the family. Seeing the excitement on their face when they get a few morsels of leftovers or a piece of anything other than typical dog food is infectious, and while little pieces of meat off your plate are the standard special occasion food, dogs can also enjoy fruits.
But can you give dogs bananas? We’ve put together this article to guide you through the rules and some of the basic science when it comes to feeding your dog the world’s most popular fruit.
As always, if you have questions or concerns then please consult with your veterinarian who can provide you with the right guidance that is specific to you and your pet.
Are Bananas Good for Dogs?
First off, yes you can feed a dog some banana, with many dogs being quite partial to the yellow fruit. Bananas are fairly low calorie, with the average full banana containing only around 105 calories, and with the average 55lb dog requiring around 1400 calories a day, along with portion control, this shouldn’t make too much of a dent in your pooch’s daily meals.
Bananas are also full of nutrients, the benefits of which can be enjoyed by humans and canines in similar measures.
The most beneficial nutrient from bananas is potassium, which dogs need around 20mg of on a daily basis. Potassium can be very helpful in replenishing a dog’s wellness and vitality after a bout of sickness and vomiting, along with aiding:
- Muscle growth
- Blood vessel function
- Cognitive function
- Bone health
- Acidity regulation in bodily fluids
Some of the nutrients in bananas include:
- Vitamin C: This antioxidant supports natural immunity and can reduce inflammation in dogs.
- Fiber: This is essential for all mammals for digestion and weight regulation.
- Vitamin B6: Promotes heart health and helps to keep potassium-sodium levels in check.
However, it’s also worth noting that a dog’s stomach will likely not respond well to too much banana at one time, with the fruit containing more sugar than is needed in a dog’s diet. Remember, as well, to check with your veterinarian before feeding bananas to a puppy, as they’re more sensitive by nature and may need a more specific diet in the early years of their life.
Can Dogs Be Allergic to Bananas?
Like humans, dogs can of course be allergic to bananas, and if they display any signs of being so, just stop feeding them the fruit and take them to the vet for an allergy check-up.
Telltale signs of a banana allergy include:
- Trouble breathing
How Much Banana Can I Feed My Dog?
Like all good things, bananas are best fed to your dog in moderation, especially if they’re unfamiliar with bananas in their diet. When you first introduce your dog to bananas, keep portions small to see how they react, incrementally increasing the portions if they seem to respond well to it.
The size of your dog also makes a big difference to the amount of banana that they can handle, with smaller dogs requiring a little more limitation on portion size, while larger dogs can eat around half a banana at a time.
How Often Can I Feed My Dog Bananas?
Even with portion control, the frequency of feedings with bananas is another aspect that most certainly comes into play. For the health reasons described above, a dog shouldn’t have bananas too often, but there are also relevant psychological factors.
As a rule, dogs shouldn’t eat human food too often. If your dog gets accustomed to human food, they may not respond well behaviorally to the food that you buy for them specifically, which could mean a lack of proper nutrition, along with fostering unhealthy expectations when it comes to mealtimes.
It’s good practice to feed dogs bananas prior to physical exercise, as that’s when they’ll make the best use of the sugar. If your dog is a little overweight or doesn’t get much exercise, then perhaps there’s never really a great time to feed them bananas, but a small portion as an occasional treat is still okay.
Consult with your veterinarian with specific questions for your dog.
Are Banana Peels Bad For Dogs?
While the banana peel isn’t necessarily toxic to dogs, feeding them to your dogs isn’t advised. Banana peels are hard to digest, so feeding them to your dog could result in vomiting and diarrhea, so it’s best to avoid it.
How to Feed Your Dog Bananas?
When feeding your dog a banana, you have to consider the best way for them to consume and digest it. In the case of smaller dogs, go for smaller chunks or even a small bowl of mashed banana, while larger dogs can handle more substantial portions.
There are plenty of ways that you can get a banana into a dog’s diet beyond feeding it to them on their own. Some of these ways include:
- Homemade banana chips (baked into thin slices)
- Frozen banana chunks or slices
- Sliced and placed on top of their regular wet or dry food
- In these 3-ingredient dog treats
(Note: those peanut butter and banana dog treats are pretty tasty for humans as well!)
Hopefully, now you’ll feel much more confident when feeding your dog bananas, whether on their own or as part of a more balanced meal. In case of allergic reactions or illnesses, it’s always important to have a quality pet insurance policy in place, as you never know what might happen.
For more useful articles on pet ownership, visit our blog!