Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite yellow fruit – the banana! Bananas are great for many things; they can be eaten on their own, turned into healthy ice pops, added to cereal and yogurt and used for cooking, but can they be eaten by our furry friends too? Are bananas safe for dogs?
There are so many things to consider before introducing your dog to new treats, and the most important thing is to establish that something is safe before starting to experiment. Bananas – luckily – are just as healthy for dogs as they are for humans, and do not propose any type of risk for your four-legged bestie.
Is It Okay to Feed My Dog Bananas?
Bananas are one of the human foods that are perfectly safe for a dog to consume, which you might have guessed since many animals (such as monkeys and apes) eat bananas in the wild. When reading through the ingredients of natural dog treats, you are likely to discover that many of them include banana! It is sweet, mushy and just what many dogs would love to munch on, and the best thing is that your dog can be fed bananas without the accompanying guilt! Fewer calories than in traditional store-bought dog treat, no artificial ingredients and a lot are cheaper and more accessible than dog biscuits.
You find bananas in every corner store, and it is the ultimate go-to treat for when you want to give your dog something to smile about (many would agree that dogs do have their own way of smiling). Feeding with moderation is always important, but other than that – go bananas! There are so many different ways you can incorporate banana in your dog’s daily diet, and you will be surprised by how much they might come to appreciate it.
Banana Background Information
The banana is a fruit consumed all over the world, and they grow on herbaceous flowering plants. There are differences in the appearance of the banana; where some are smaller in size, other larger and where even the flavor differentiates. The banana that is used in certain types in cooking is referred to as “plantain” in certain countries and while the differences are many, a couple of things are true for all bananas – they are all yellowish in color, slightly bent and healthy and safe for dogs to consume.
The Health Benefits of a Banana
Bananas have vitamin B6, which are beneficial when fighting and preventing anemia in dogs and will aid your pup in staying strong and healthy. It is also packed with vitamin C for a strengthened immune system (and remember, the immune system is key to everything related to a dog’s health), potassium for strong bones and an improved blood vessel function, and manganese known to regulate blood pressure and have a calming effect on dogs that tend to be hyperactive. In bananas, there are also high levels of healthy protein, something that will keep your pup’s metabolism working as it should, and aid with digestion.
The way to allow your dog to benefit from the health boost a banana holds is not by feeding several bananas at a time, but rather to make a small portion of bananas a part of their everyday diet.
The Right Quantity to Feed
While bananas are a real health boost for dogs of all sizes and breeds and something you can take pride in feeding, you need to make sure you don’t overdo it. This is true for all dog foods and food items, as no dog benefits from being fed too much. One example is the potassium, which in small amounts can be a great addition to a natural and healthy diet, but that might not be as well tolerated by the canine body in bigger amounts. How much banana you can give your dog also depends on the size and weight of your dog, so use common sense as overeating can lead to constipation in both animals and humans.
Bananas are also rich in healthy fats, which in small amounts can be a true gift to your dog, but that when overfed can cause weight gain. Excess weight is a serious health risk for dogs; due to it putting extra stress on bones and joints, which can lead to pain, discomfort and an increased risk of injury. Apply the principle of 90/10, where you always make sure that 90% of the dog’s daily calorie intake comes from their regular dog food and the other 10% (maximum) from treats.
Bananas & How to Feed Them
The fun thing about using bananas as a treat is that they allow you to be a little creative, and there are dozens of things you can do other than feeding it directly. A mushy banana, you see, might not be appealing to all dogs, and a picky eater is likely to reject it on the spot. The first thing to do is to make sure you always remove the peal before offering banana to your dog, as it could cause an obstruction and life-threatening condition. The next step is to find more fun and interesting ways for your pup to consume a banana!
Remove the peel and place the whole banana in the freezer for 24 hours and take it out and let your dog have a go at it! It will serve as a delicious, healthy and cooling chew treat for hot summer days, and your dog will love the challenge of the harder consistency. You can also chop it up and use it as training treats, but they could end up leaving a mess in your pocket. Make sure there is no risk of your dog choking on his frozen banana, by always supervising any banana play the way you would supervise a baby with a new toy.
If you want to make the frozen banana treat even more appealing, there are plenty of fun options! Mix banana with peanut butter and strawberries, add the mix to a small plastic container and leave it in the freezer overnight. By the time morning comes – you have a healthy and irresistible dog-friendly ice-cream to offer your best fur friend! Dogs should not eat ice-cream made for humans, as it contains too much sugar and possibly other additives, but they still deserve their summer treat and a simple banana can be a surprisingly good solution.
You can also combine the two previous ideas; freeze a whole banana and smear some peanut butter directly onto it, to encourage your pup to take the first bite. They will probably love the flavor once they give the banana a chance, so just be a little patient when attempting to get them to try it. Some dogs are fine with trying new food items, while others need a little bit of convincing.
Another way to feed bananas is by mashing it up and adding it as a food topping to a daily meal, or you can mix it in with kibble or wet food if you think your pooch is unlikely to eat it otherwise. Bananas are so full of nutrients that it would be a shame for your dog to miss out, so this method is recommended if nothing else works. For dogs that love bananas, it could also work the other way around – and motivate them to want to finish their food.
Puppies & Bananas
The simple answer is that yes, bananas are also safe for puppies, but it is a good idea to take a trip to the vet and ask for a professional opinion, as puppies have very specific nutritional needs. You should not offer banana or any other food item to puppies that are still being fed by their mother, as they are too young to start consuming anything other than their mother’s milk. Always consult a veterinarian when unsure and let them guide you towards fully understanding your young dog’s nutritional needs and requirements.
Many traditional dog treats are made with pointless fillers, like corn (which the canine body can’t gain nutrients from), soy and wheat, with artificial ingredients, colors, and preservatives, and with animal by-products; so why not change all this for a more natural treat? The benefit of switching a store-bought puppy chew for a frozen banana is that you know exactly what a banana is, you know you will only be giving your dog natural rewards and you won’t have to worry about potentially harmful ingredients.
Related: Vegan Dog Treats
There are no significant health risks associated with feeding bananas to a dog, and the worst side effect would be an upset stomach or similar.
Taking this into consideration, it is not only okay and safe to feed bananas to our doggy friends, but it is also something many canine nutritionists will highly recommend as a healthier substitute for conventional dog treats. So, you can pick up some extra bananas the next time you go to the store and share nature’s delight with your pup without having to feel guilty. Humans of all ages love bananas, and so do dogs and many other pets.