I live in a household full of athletes. My husband and oldest son both play tennis; my youngest is a fencer. Both sports are physically grueling and they generate a lot of sweat, which can lead to electrolyte imbalance and muscle cramping. In addition to water and electrolyte drinks, they eat bananas before, during and after their workout.
With a dog who has perfected the art of begging whenever human food is in the offing, I wondered – is it okay to give a dog bananas?
The good news is that bananas are generally considered safe for most dogs. Not only are they delicious but they're nutritious as well. As long as they're part of an otherwise nutritionally sound diet, there's no reason why bananas can't be given as an occasional treat. Keep in mind that only the fruit of the banana should be eaten. The peels, though not toxic, are simply too hard for dogs to digest.
Can dogs eat the WHOLE banana?
Generally, when people talk about feeding their dog bananas, they're talking about the fruit, which is generally safe to feed your dog in moderation. But some people wonder whether the entire plant is safe for their dogs to eat.
Can I feed my dog banana peels?
Nope. Dogs should not eat banana peels. Although not toxic, they can be very hard to digest and may cause blockage which could require immediate medical intervention. The inside of the peel can however be rubbed on bug bites to provide natural, soothing relief if your dog has a nasty run-in with ticks or mosquitoes.
Can I feed my dog banana leaves?
I've never come across a banana leaf in real life but if you or your pet have access to them, don't worry - they're not toxic. I can't imagine why you'd want to feed banana leaves to your pooch but if they happen to ingest them there appears to be no cause for alarm.
Can I feed my dog green bananas?
What about green bananas? While not toxic, they may cause bloating and gas due to their high starch content. Your dog will also probably not find them as tasty as ripe yellow bananas.
Can I feed my dog plantains?
The cooking or vegetable banana, known as the plantain, is also safe for dogs, although it should not be served raw or in large quantities. Like bananas, plantains contain dietary fiber, as well as some anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
How much banana can I give my dog?
If your dog is like mine, he’ll eat as much as you give him. But when it comes to bananas, too much of a good thing can be, well, too much. Bananas are a high carb fruit and contain lots of sugar. No bueno for any pet. Too many bananas can also cause constipation, so if you notice your dog straining when pooping, an overload of bananas may be the culprit.
As a general rule of thumb you can feed a large dog up to 1/2 a banana per day. Smaller dogs should have no more than two or three slices daily. It's always best to introduce any new food or treat gradually to be sure your dog can handle it.
TIP: To avoid a sloppy mess when feeding bananas, you can freeze banana slices in advance before giving them to your pet.
What about other forms of banana?
Can I feed my dog frozen bananas?
Sure! Slices of frozen banana are a great cooling summertime treat for your pooch. You can brush them with lemon juice before freezing to prevent browning and to add an additional layer of flavor. Overripe bananas that you don’t want to throw away can be mashed and frozen in an ice cube tray for perfectly proportioned pup snacks that are ready to go.
Can I feed my dog banana chips?
Banana chips are a great alternative to fresh bananas when you're on the go because they're lightweight and portable, making them ideal for camping or hiking. However most commercially available banana chips are loaded with extra sugar. Dehydrated banana chips, no sugar added, would be a better choice and there are many simple recipes for dehydrated chips available online so you can make them yourself.
Can I feed my dog banana muffins and banana bread?
What about banana bread and muffins? In moderation you should be fine giving your pooch an occasional taste of banana bread. Keep in mind though that most recipes include added sugar which dogs don't need. Some dogs may also have gluten, grain or wheat sensitivities -- too much banana bread or muffins can lead to tummy trouble.
And watch out for raisins and nuts! Raisins are toxic to dogs and most experts agree that nuts have no place in your dog's diet.
Can I give my dog banana pudding?
Well, yes and no. Pudding made for human consumption generally contains too much sugar for your dog's digestive system. If you want to feed your dog banana pudding, your best bet is to prepare it yourself from scratch, omitting any sugar or sweetener. If it's the texture of pudding you're looking for, you can mash a ripe banana with a little water or milk (if your dog tolerates milk) to give him that pudding-like consistency.
Why would I want to give my dog bananas?
Bananas are loaded with essential nutrients that are hard for dogs to get in their diet, like vitamin B, vitamin C and potassium. They're also a great source of fiber which can help keep your dog regular, making bananas a great choice for dogs with colon or bowel problems.
If your dog is suffering from a mild case of diarrhea or other tummy distress, you may consider bananas as a home remedy. Bananas contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps bind water in the colon and soothes the intestinal tract. And because they're high in potassium, bananas help replenish electrolytes that can become depleted during bouts of diarrhea or vomiting. Experts recommend one teaspoon of mashed banana per 10 lb of dog weight.
For diarrhea or vomiting which last more than 24 hours you should immediately contact your vet.
What about dogs with health issues?
Always check with your vet before giving treats to any dog with health issues.
If your dog has diabetes or kidney disease, too many bananas may cause an overload of potassium in their bloodstream. Symptoms of potassium overload may include weakness, disorientation, even collapse. If you notice any of these symptoms and suspect that your dog may have overdone it on bananas, you should contact your vet immediately.
Can puppies eat bananas?
Puppies have specific nutritional needs to ensure proper growth and development. It's best to check with your vet before supplementing their diet with any treat. Bananas, like many other fruits, are high in sugar which may not sit well with your puppy’s developing digestive system. If they overindulge, it can also affect their appetite and prevent them from getting the nutrition they need from their vet approved puppy food.
Fun banana facts
Bananas originated in Southeast Asia sometime between 5000 and 8000 BC and are believed to have been the world's first cultivated fruit.
From Southeast Asia, bananas were carried West by Arab conquerors and then brought to the New World by explorers and missionaries.
The word banana is derived from the Arab word “banan” which means “finger.” The scientific name for banana is musa sapientum which means “fruit of the
wise men.” In fact, some believe that the apple in Adam and Eve's Garden of Eden wasn't an apple at all, but a banana!
So there you have -- the low-down on feeding your dog bananas. Like almost everything else, the key is moderation.