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Can Dogs Eat Bananas? Pros & Cons for Canine Health

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Can dogs eat bananas? - Dr. Axe

When it comes to pet nutrition, choosing foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein and amino acids is vital. If you like to feed your dog from foods found in your kitchen, you may have asked yourself: “Can dogs eat bananas?”

If you rely strictly on pet foods offered in one aisle of your grocery store, you may be hard-pressed to find the nutrient-dense, whole foods that will boost your dog’s health and longevity — such as bananas. So can dogs eat bananas, or should they avoid them altogether?

Can Dogs Eat Bananas?

The simple answer can dogs eat bananas is yes. In fact, bananas can serve as a nutritious and motivating food for dogs, as long as they’re offered in moderation.

According to veterinarian Jean Hofve, DVM, “Bananas are safe for dogs to eat, and they do provide vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, but they are very high in sugar. Dogs, as carnivores, do best with a low carbohydrate diet, so limit bananas to a very special treat, and only a little piece for those smaller pups.”

Thus, think of bananas as an occasional treat for dogs. Eating too much can be problematic because of the sugar and fiber content, but when treated like a special treat, bananas can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet.

6 Benefits of Bananas For Dogs

Studies show that banana nutrition has positive effects on human health and well-being, but what about your dog? Pet nutrition is also extremely important, and your dog needs to consume macronutrients and micronutrients in order to stay healthy.

The benefits of bananas for dogs come from the nutrients found in the fruit. Bananas in moderation are healthy for dogs for the reasons listed below:

  1. Great source of potassium: For dogs (and humans), potassium is an important nutrient for brain and heart function, blood circulation, and muscle activity.
  2. Rich in magnesium: Eating magnesium foods is important for dogs because it promotes bone growth and supports their ability to absorb protein and micronutrients.
  3. Contains B vitamins: Bananas contain vitamin B6, folate, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. These B vitamins help increase energy levels, boost mood, support brain function and protect eye health.
  4. High in vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy aging.
  5. Good source of fiber: Bananas are part of the BRAT diet for diarrhea because they are high in fiber. This means that bananas for dogs can help with issues like diarrhea and vomiting. In theory, bananas are easy to digest, at least for humans, because of the fiber content. For dogs, however, it can be too much fiber, especially if they eat the peel, so sticking to small amounts at a time is best.
  6. Boosts energy: Because bananas provide carbohydrates that can be used to fuel your dog’s body, they can serve as a great snack for when your pooch needs a little pick-me-up. This is especially true after he runs around outside, as it helps restore glucose levels that are needed to support the dog’s energy and strength.

When Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Bananas (Risks and Side Effects)

While bananas serve as a nutrient-dense treat for your pooch, there are some possible risks and side effects. For one thing, bananas are high in carbohydrates and can effect blood sugar levels.

When it comes to how many carbs in a banana there are, a medium-sized banana contains about 27 carbohydrates. Dogs have actually evolved to use fats and proteins as their primary sources of energy, so they don’t have to consume high-carb foods.

However, they can also use carbohydrates for energy, and their digestive systems produce enzymes to break down starch and sugar specifically.

Bananas also contain a good amount of fiber, so if your dog eats too much, she may experience digestive issues like diarrhea or even constipation. This happens because the dog’s digestive system can’t handle the high amount of fiber, so it isn’t broken down and passed properly.

If your dog experiences adverse side effects after eating a banana, like itchiness, digestive problems, coughing or difficulty breathing, contact your vet.

One more potential drawback of feeding dogs bananas is the calorie content. A medium-sized banana contains about 105 calories, so if you are feeding your pooch banana as an add-on snack, in addition to his normal dog food, you’ll want to be careful he doesn’t consume too many calories in a day or week.

If you choose to feed your dog bananas, it’s best to make it a treat once in a while and stick to smaller amounts.

Can Dogs Eat Banana Peels?

What about banana peels? Can dogs eat bananas’ peels?

Banana peels aren’t toxic to dogs, but it’s not an ideal food for your furry friend.  It can be hard for your dog to digest the peel, so it’s really best to stick to small amounts of banana alone.

If your dog happens to get into the garbage and consumes the peel, don’t panic. Look out for adverse side effects, like constipation or vomiting, and if something seems off, contact your vet.

How to Feed Your Dog Banana (and Recipes)

To feed your dog banana, simply peel it and cut it into the appropriate serving size for her weight and typical calorie intake. Starting with a quarter or half of a banana at first is a good idea to ensure that she’ll be able to digest it properly.

Some other easy and fun ways to offer your furry friend banana include:

  • freezing it and offering it as a cooling treat in the warmer months
  • mashing it into his daily dog food
  • mixing it with small amounts of peanut butter
  • adding it to homemade dog treats

Need some homemade dog treat ideas that incorporate banana? Try this Banana and Honey Dog Treat recipe.

Conclusion

  • Can dogs eat bananas? The simple answer to this question is yes, but in moderation.
  • Are bananas good for dogs? Offering banana as an occasional treat is a great idea because the fruit boasts a range of nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin C. Plus, it’s high in fiber.
  • Think of bananas as a special treat for your furry pups, and be sure to peel beforehand.
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