Humans and monkeys aren’t the only species that have a fondness for bananas—dogs love eating them too. Whether drizzled with peanut butter or served straight out of the peel, bananas are generally safe and healthy for our canine friends to eat in moderation. They’re packed with potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, biotin, fiber, and copper. Bananas are also low in cholesterol and sodium.
Still, as bananas are fairly high in natural sugar, it’s best to reserve banana slices for special occasions rather than use them as a daily meal addition or replacement. While your pup can safely eat a small amount of banana, here are some other factors to consider:
Can Dogs Eat Bananas Every Day?
In the past, this yellow fruit received an unfair reputation for being unhealthy due to its high carb counts. Yet, bananas’ vitamin content is high and their fiber makes them filling. Furthermore, a dog low on potassium or other nutrients may benefit from bananas added into their daily diet plans.
Unless otherwise directed by your vet, though, bananas shouldn’t be an everyday treat. The average banana has a little over 100 calories and about 14 grams of (natural) sugar. While this might not affect the weight of, say, a Saint Bernard, a smaller dog could feel the effects of a banana-a-day on the scale.
If you dole (get it?) out bananas to your pup in one slice increments, consider using that slice as a traditional dog treat replacement. That way, your dog won’t be at risk of over-consuming calories and sugar, which can lead to obesity and other health problems.
Can Dogs Eat Bananas When They’re Sick/Have An Upset Stomach?
Not only can you feed your dog bananas when they’re sick to their stomach, but the fruit might also help soothe their upset tummy. Serving mashed-up plain banana has been a longstanding remedy for vomiting and decreased appetite in dogs. Why? Bland diets are important during times of stomach upset to help relieve symptoms and keep your dog fed and strong. Banana is one of the blandest foods of all, which is why it’s a common baby food ingredient.
While foods like plain chicken, rice, pumpkin, and bone broth are often times recommended for a sick dog, the mild flavor and starchiness of bananas could have the same effect. Furthermore, due to the high sugar content in bananas, the fruit could give a dehydrated and weak dog a needed boost. Of course, it’s important to monitor the reactions of your individual dog. If a bite or three of banana seems to worsen the stomach upset, stick with something else.
Can Eating Bananas Help Cure Diarrhea In Dogs?
Bananas have been shown to be a good dietary addition for dogs with upset stomach. But bananas can also help slow or stop a bout of diarrhea as well. While you should consult your vet if your dog’s GI issues remain ongoing, the high fiber content of bananas assists in reducing the incidence of loose stools. Of course, if you overfeed your dog bananas, consumption of this fibrous fruit could also lead to another problem: constipation. Therefore, it’s recommended just to feed your dog a few bites of banana when treating diarrhea.
Can Dogs Eat Banana Peels?
No. While banana peels aren’t considered to be a toxic food for dogs in the way that apple seeds or grapes are, the peels themselves are very difficult to digest. The dense and fibrous texture of the peel could lead to choking, blockages within the GI system, or vomiting and diarrhea due to upset stomach. Although it might be fun to watch your clever Collie find a way into the fruit, it’s always recommended to peel the banana before offering it to any dog.
How To Add Bananas To Your Dog’s Diet
Some dogs love banana enough to eat slices of it from your hand, as if it’s a dog biscuit or soft-baked treat. Others may only enjoy banana when it’s mixed in with other foods. And some dogs may despise banana, no matter what form it comes in. For the non-banana haters, here are a few healthy ideas of how to prepare banana for your dog in a way that they’ll love:
- Mash the banana into your dog’s regular dry food
- Drizzle all-natural (and preferably sugar free) peanut butter over slices of banana as a special treat
- Freeze an entire banana, slice it, and offer it as a cooling treat on a hot day
- Stuff a banana into a Kong or other treat-holding toy and freeze
- Blend a banana together with a bit of peanut butter and cheese and serve as a whipped snack
- Create a banana-based dog treat from your kitchen, such as these popular Peanut Butter Oatmeal Banana Dog Treats. They’re made with four ingredients: mashed banana, peanut butter, whole wheat flour, and old fashioned oats.
- Or, try this equally-simple Pumpkin Banana Dog treat recipe, which uses pumpkin puree, mashed banana, eggs, and whole wheat flour.
- Use half-slices of banana as a training treat in lieu of store bought treats (Note: Only banana-loving dogs will find this substitute motivating!)
- If you have a freeze drying or food dehydrator machine, freeze or dry banana slices for your dog. They make great extra crunchy treats, as long as they’re given in moderation.
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons