Most dogs LOVE their snacks and it’s just so easy to want to give them a piece of whatever human food you are snacking on too. One common food, the banana, is often in question. What could go wrong with feeding your dog a bite of banana, right? Read this article first, because can dogs eat bananas safely?
Dr. Jess explains the answer below:
Dog food experts have arguments regarding the safety of serving bananas to dogs.
Well, as delicious as bananas are, is it actually a health threat to the dogs or are we over-reacting about this?
Let me, the veterinarian, explain my thoughts…
It’s always the best idea to double-check which foods your dog can and can not eat because many foods that are safe and healthy for humans are actually very harmful for your dog to eat, or even poisonous or deadly to them. Taste is never worth the risk of harming your pet.
That’s why I am so glad that you are here making an informed decision before feeding your dog bananas!
What Do Dogs Eat?
Some dogs are not picky at all about what they eat. They’ll eat whatever you offer them- they’re like vacuum cleaners sucking up anything you put in front of them and then some!
Some dogs are on the pickier side of things. Pickier pups can be harder to properly feed because they just won’t eat any food we give them. Try feeding a picky dog something like okra!
A common canine diet for pet dogs consists of a complete dry or wet feed and possibly some form of supplements in some specific cases (however, not all pet dogs need supplements).
Foraging can also be included in the diet if the dog is allowed to roam, or the dog is feral, and of course there are treats that are a part of many dog’s diets!
The diet of every dog breed will very when you are looking into a healthy and complete diet for your pup. So it is important to know when offering food to your dog, what constitutes a healthy choice, and what does not.
An improper diet could put your dog at risk of having problems properly digesting their food and absorbing nutrients correctly. And we don’t want that now do we???
So let’s talk specifically about kiwis, since that’s why you clicked over here today, and talk about how it could affect your dog’s overall health and well-being.
Let’s Talk Bananas…
Bananas are a very popular fruit because of their mild tasty flavor, beautiful yellow exterior peel which makes it easy to pack as a snack, and its many uses in cooking, especially in desserts.
“A banana is an elongated, edible fruit – botanically a berry – produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called “plantains”, distinguishing them from dessert bananas. The fruit is variable in size, color, and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind, which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. ” [source]
Just like with any other fruit, bananas have their nutritional value…. as well as some things to be weary of!
Bananas have many nutritional benefits as well as tasty benefits.
Bananas contain antioxidants that may help to prevent cell damage that harmful free radicals can cause. These antioxidants can help with things like preventing certain cancers and diseases.
With how tasty they taste, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that bananas contain quite a bit of sugar, but not as much sugar as some other fruit choices contain.
Too much sugar can cause health concerns such as obesity or diabetes in your dog, so be careful.
Packed with Vitamins and Minerals!
Bananas contain vitamins A B1, B6, and C, which aid in maintaining the dog’s immune system, eye sight, reproductive system, and body growth while they are young.
Bananas also come packed with essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron, which strengthen bones and tissues throughout the canine friend’s body systems.
Potassium helps regulate fluid balance, nerve signaling, and aids in muscle function.
More on the Importance of Vitamin C:
Bananas contain vitamin C. Remember that dogs have the need vitamin C because it is one of the major factors helping their immune systems in preventing diseases and keeping their immune system strong.
Are Bananas Harmful to Dogs?
Yes, they can be.
Remember that too much banana fed to your furry buddy can give them side effects like an upset stomach, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
This can lead to a multitude of problems including things like dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that could impart a trip to the veterinary clinic for your vet to fix.
The higher sugar content in bananas can also lead to some pretty big health concerns as well.
Not only does excess sugar leave your dog prone to weight gain and obesity, but also diabetes and gastrointestinal (digestive) upset due to the sugar-overload in their systems.
How Can Bananas Be Harmful to Dogs?
Before we can decide whether bananas are truly safe to feed our dogs, we need to first understand some of the risks involved if we do feed our dogs the fruit.
I am not saying that you shouldn’t have any concerns with feeding your dog bananas, because there are a few key things to keep in mind.
These are three of the factors to keep in mind:
Harmful Reason #1: Loose Stool/Diarrhea
Too much fiber or new foods in the diet can mean hypermotile, or increased movement, of one’s digestive tract.
Some dogs are more sensitive to additional fiber or new foods in their diets, so they are more likely to have loose stool and in some cases, full-blown diarrhea.
Other dogs will not be impacted by any additional fiber in their diets.
Now, I have not seen this last scenario with my own eyes, I have had many people tell me that that was their experience.
Harmful Reason #2: Allergic Reaction to Bananas
A dog can develop an intolerance or an allergy to any food, so there is always the possibility that your dog is allergic to bananas.
If you suspect your dog is allergic to bananas do NOT feed it to your dog.
If your dog is allergic to bananas and accidentally ingests it, go to your nearest animal emergency room immediately.
When this happens, the attack sets off a hypersensitivity reaction and can result in any of the following symptoms:
Common symptoms of adverse/allergic reaction to food:
- Itching/Increased grooming
Can Puppies and Juvenile Dogs Eat Bananas?
Compared to their adult counterparts, baby dogs have much more sensitive gastrointestinal systems.
Avoid feeding baby dogs any kinds of fruits and vegetables until they reach 12 weeks of age to allow their stomachs to mature with them.
Then, when ready to introduce them to fruits, take it very slowly, waiting at least 24 hours to observe any potential adverse side effects, before moving on and trying more of the same fruity snack or a different tasty treat.
Remember – baby and young, and juvenile dogs have more sensitive digestive systems!
Wait 24 hours to see their reaction.
If everything is fine, you can move to the next treat.
Can Dogs Eat Banana Peels?
Another issue is the peel…….
No, your dog can not eat the peel with their banana pieces.
Don’t be surprised if your canine doesn’t eat the peel either, because it’s not tasty to a dog and releases a strong repulsive odor that dogs can smell.
The peel is much less tasty (and has less sugar content to boot!) to your pup than the soft fruit of the banana inside of it.
The peel is also very hard for your dog to digest because their carnivorous digestive tract is not set up to digest something so fibrous as a banana peel.
Medical & Health Concerns of Feeding Banana to Dogs:
Are there any circumstances when banana might be bad for your pet?
Yes, some of the common issues seen with feeding bananas to dogs include:
- Pesticides: Bananas should always be washed to make sure they are free of any pesticides or chemicals that could be harmful to dogs.
- Parasites: Bananas should be checked over for parasites that can lead to potential parasite problems with your dog.
- High Sugar Levels: Bananas contain natural sugars in them. Therefore, too much banana means your dog is getting a lot of unnecessary additional sugar – not a good idea for your dog’s health, especially if they are overweight or have metabolic issues, things like diabetes!
- Overly Ripened: Avoid rotten fruits and vegetables that can cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset.
- Baby Puppies: Puppies have a more sensitive digestive system than their adult counterparts do, and therefore you shouldn’t give your rabbit friend any fruits or vegetables.
How To Feed Banana To Your Dog:
First off, you should always purchase high-quality bananas for your dog from a reputable food source.
All fruits and vegetables will need to have a visual inspection done to make sure that you are giving your pet a ripe, healthy food to eat.
Next, you will need to remove the peel and any defects from the banana. Then cut, slice, chop, or dice up the banana so that your dog can safely eat it.
They will need food in a small bite-sized piece at first. When first introducing your dog to banana, you want to see how they do after giving them one small piece!
Food should be presented in a shallow clean dish that is not easily tipped over.
Fresh water should always be available in a shallow dish that can’t be easily tipped over. This water dish should be washed and cleaned daily.
Any food left in your dog’s dish that is not eaten up will start to get old and become unsafe for your dog to eat, if they will even touch it at all.
This could lead to some major health issues, as well as a smelly dish and a bug problem – things you definitely do not want to deal with.
So, it is very important to clean out any foods that your dog leaves behind in a timely manner.
- 1 ripe, fresh banana
- cutting board
- kitchen produce knife
- Check your banana for signs of parasites or irregularities. If there are concerns with your fruit, do not feed it to your pet.
- Peel the banana peel away and discard the peel. Cut the banana into small 1/2" thick slices, pieces, or bites.
- Remove any remaining banana that has been in the food bowl or dish for longer than 12-24 hours.
- Monitor for signs of GI upset or adverse reaction.
Contact your veterinarian before changing parts of your pet's diet. Stop the feeding of banana immediately and contact your veterinarian if any signs of ill health appear.
Keep the following in mind when serving food to your dog:
And remember that dogs need more than a bowl or plate of banana – they need a complete and balanced diet.
Whichever complete food you choose for your dog, it needs to have the AAFCO label indicating the diet is complete and balanced for your dog’s life stage.
AAFCO approved foods have gone through testing and compliance to make sure that the diet is safe and healthy for your pet.
Dogs already get everything that they need from their kibble or canned food.
What to do If Your Dog Eats Banana Accidentally:
If it is just a lick or two of banana, just watch them for the rest of the day just in case, for any signs of adverse reaction.
If you are concerned with this small amount, of course, contact your veterinarian right away. Most dogs can tolerate a small amount of banana on occasion and do just fine.
If it is a large amount of bananas, contact your veterinarian right away to discuss details and what to do next.
It is extremely likely that your vet will request that you bring your dog in immediately to get evaluated if they have consumed a large amount of banana, an unripened banana, or a rotten banana. We vets want to help and we will best help if we are notified right away.
Trust me, us vets are happy to help!
Find Out If Your Dog Can Eat These Other Foods!
Dogs can have small pieces of ripe, clean bananas in moderation.
Too much banana can cause a number of health problems for your dog.
Do not feed young, growing dogs or dogs with underlying health conditions bananas even as a treat.
If you have concerns regarding feeding your dog bananas, contact your local veterinarian beforehand.