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Can dogs eat bananas? A vet answer!

Author: Dr. Rosa Leedham MRCVS

Bananas are a delicious snack for us humans – they’re easy to eat on the go, they taste great eaten alone, but also on top of desserts, or even in a smoothie.

What’s more, they are an excellent natural source of nutrients and fiber. Because we know how beneficial bananas are for our health and we love to spoil our dogs, many pet parents will be thinking, “can my dog eat bananas too?”. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about safely feeding bananas to dogs.

Is it safe to feed dogs bananas?

The short answer is, yes! Bananas are a tasty treat that most of our canine companions will enjoy. The good news is that they contain plenty of nutrients that are beneficial to your dogs’ health, and they are a healthy alternative to most commercial treats.

However, there are a few things you should know before your pup starts snacking! Is it possible to feed too many bananas? Can banana help with an upset stomach? Is it safe for our pets to eat the peel?

Health benefits of bananas for dogs

Unlike many of the treats available for our furry friends, bananas are a natural alternative with a lot less fat and salt. They also contain a lot of nutrients and vitamins which are beneficial for your pooch.

  • Fiber – Fiber plays a vital role in keeping the digestive system healthy. Fiber affects the speed of food traveling along the gastrointestinal tract and can help with some digestion problems.
  • Potassium – This is an important mineral that helps to maintain normal levels of fluid within the body and helps the heart, nerves, and muscles to function.
  • Vitamin B6 – This vitamin is needed for several bodily functions, including the production of red blood cells and glucose. Vitamin B6 is also needed for your dog’s hormones, immune system, and nervous system to work properly.
  • Vitamin C – This is an antioxidant that boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, slows aging, and speeds up tissue healing. 
  • Magnesium – This is a mineral that promotes healthy bone growth and helps turn the food we eat into energy. Magnesium also helps the body use other vitamins and minerals.
  • Biotin – This nutrient helps the body to maintain healthy connective tissue, skin, and hair. It is also necessary for growth, digestion, and muscle production.

How much banana can I safely give to my dog?

The amount of bananas you can safely give to your dog depends on a number of factors, such as his age, breed, size, activity levels, and health conditions. Before you give any bananas to your pet, it is always safest to ask your veterinarian who can help you work out how much is a safe portion to feed him.

Giving our dogs treats is often a good idea during play or training, and a banana is a healthy choice for most. However, too much banana can cause stomach upset, such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

Considering how tasty bananas are, it is not surprising that they contain a lot of sugar. Not only can too much sugar lead to sickness, but it can also lead to weight gain, gastrointestinal problems, and other health problems such as diabetes.

Another thing to remember is that all dogs should be fed a complete diet as their main food source. A complete diet has been specially formulated to cater to your dog’s nutritional requirements and will provide all the essential nutrients he needs.

Therefore, although banana does contain plenty of beneficial vitamins and minerals, you don’t need to give them in large quantities to supply these for your dog.

As a general rule, 90% of your dog’s diet should be provided in their normal food, and 10% can be provided in the form of treats. 

When are bananas bad for dogs, and which dogs should avoid them?

Because of the high sugar content, feeding bananas may not be a good idea for overweight pooches. Also, bananas should be given with care to small breeds or those which tend to gulp their food, in case they choke or suffer from an obstruction.

Puppies need specially formulated diets that have been made to provide all of the nutrients needed for healthy growth and development. There is a risk that giving bananas may interfere with this healthy balance, so consult your veterinarian before giving a banana to your puppy.

Some dogs are prone to stomach upsets and even a mouthful of banana may upset their stomach. If your dog suffers from a sensitive stomach, then avoiding giving bananas or other treats altogether might be safest for him.

Other dogs actually suffer from food allergies. Signs of a food allergy include drooling, swelling, hives, vomiting, and breathing difficulties which can start shortly after they eat a particular food. If you suspect your dog is allergic to bananas (or any other food!) then it is vital to call your veterinarian immediately in case he needs emergency treatment.

Do bananas give dogs diarrhea?

In most cases, bananas won’t cause diarrhea. They can actually help to relieve some digestive problems including diarrhea because they contain high levels of fiber.

However, too many bananas can cause constipation and in some dogs, bananas won’t help to relieve diarrhea at all. If this is the case, then you should call your veterinarian, especially if diarrhea has been going in for more than 24 hours, or if your dog is also unwell with other symptoms such as vomiting or a reduced appetite.

Can dogs eat banana peels?

Although technically banana peels are not toxic to dogs, they aren’t particularly tasty and they are very difficult to digest. Banana peels can cause problems with the digestive system, such as a stomach upset or even an obstruction. Blockages in the gastrointestinal system can make dogs very unwell, and sometimes surgery is needed.

If you think your dog might have scoffed a peel without you realizing it, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Keep an eye out for signs of a problem, such as vomiting, diarrhea, straining to go to the toilet or not passing any stools, a reduced appetite, or signs of abdominal pain.

In summary, it is definitely safest to keep banana peels away from your pet, and just stick to the tasty bit!

How can I feed my dog bananas?

You can feed a banana to your dog in many different ways. You can simply peel the banana and feed him small pieces, or mash it up and mix it with food. Some dogs don’t like the texture or taste of bananas, so you can try freezing them, peeling the banana, and then feeding slices!

If you are feeling adventurous in the kitchen, you can mix bananas with dog-safe peanut butter or bake thin slices of banana to make your own dog-safe banana chips! You can stuff certain toys (such as a Kong) with banana and pop it in the freezer; this is great for a warm day!

Conclusion

Bananas are a safe, fresh fruit treat for dogs! They’re tasty and often healthier than other treats you will find in pet shops or online.

Although bananas are packed full of important nutrients, they should always be fed in moderation and following advice from a veterinarian. Too many bananas can cause digestive problems, weight gain, and even diabetes.

Finally, although there are lots of ways you can feed your dog bananas, you should never feed your pet the peel.

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