As far as energy packed sweet treats go in the world of fruit and vegetables, you really can’t go wrong with bananas.
These tropical treats have become a staple part of our diets – once an exotic rarity, but now a common kitchen staple.
But can dogs eat bananas, you might wonder – and if so, are they just as good for them as they are for us? Let’s find out.
Are bananas good for dogs?
Just as bananas help us release energy consistently over our day, settle an upset tummy or boost our immune system with vitamins and potassium, bananas are good for dogs too.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that the way dogs can eat bananas differs somewhat from how we as humans might do so.
After all, your pet’s digestive system is massively different to your own in a number of ways.
Dogs can happily chow down on some kinds of food that’d give humans pause – and similarly, many of the things we can enjoy rather a lot of should be enjoyed in moderation for our canine companions.
So while your doctor or nutritionist would be quite correct as recommending you chow down on several bananas when trying to reach your quota of five a day, it’s a different story for dogs.
In short, dogs who eat bananas best enjoy them as an occasional treat, rather than gulping down dozens a day.
With that moderation in mind though, there are some wonderful health benefits to feeding a banana to your dog.
They are very low in cholesterol and sodium, for example, and come packed with a number of advantages, such as vitamin B6 and potassium.
Fibre is another health benefit of bananas for dogs that’s well worth keeping in mind.
If your dog has had a bit of an unhappy tummy lately, the kind of fibre found in a banana can help him or her feel a little more regular and free of tummy aches.
In terms of preparation, peeling and cutting up a banana is your best bet here – especially for puppies and smaller dog breeds.
Imagine it the same way as offering a banana to a baby or a toddler – the entire thing all at once can be a bit of a tricky customer. That’s especially true for dogs, who can’t even use their paws to hold it like we can!
Dangers of bananas for dogs
As we just touched on, the way you portion and serve your dogs their bananas is important.
If you give your dog a whole banana, or he or she manages to steal one, it could prove a choking hazard.
For extra peckish little pooches with a serious case of their appetite being bigger than their capabilities, rapidly gulping down a whole banana can be some risky business indeed.
When introducing a young or tiny dog to a banana for the first time, it’s best you stick by their side to see how they handle it and whether they’re interested in it.
Just like people, some dogs will love bananas, and others just can’t stand them.
However, as we’ve also touched on, dogs ought not eat as many bananas per day as people can get away with.
Not only can they cause some discomfort and constipation in a dog’s digestive system if eaten to excess, but they’re also high in sugar compared to a regular canine diet.
Furthermore, although dogs are very handy friends to have to avoid food waste, there are some fruity leftovers you ought not give them here.
In short, can a dog eat a banana peel? The answer is no, same as for us.
Although they’ve got a far more capable set of teeth than we have, making short work indeed of the banana peel, the fibres and overall makeup of a banana peel is a poor friend indeed to your dog’s stomach. They can even cause blockages within that can prove serious if left untreated.
Once again, keep portion size in mind too. Those same blockages can crop up if you’re dishing up big chunks of banana, or even whole bananas that have been peeled, to your pet.
A hungry dog will sometimes bite off more than he or she can chew, as you’re likely already aware. Bananas can be pretty sticky and stodgy, and a dog gulping one down whole is likely to end up choking or feeling unwell.
Also, every dog is an individual, and there could be a chance that your pooch is allergic to bananas.
After he or she eats some banana for the first time, keep an eye on your dog to ensure there are no signs of an allergic response – sneezing, puffy eyes, itching, redness or the like.
How many bananas can a dog eat daily?
While we as humans could well enjoy a couple of bananas over a bowl of cereal, even that amount could be a little bit much for your canine companion.
By and large, dogs have a somewhat different relationship with fruit and vegetables than people do, and the portions that come recommended by the professionals tend to vary a great deal.
In fact, bananas should be considered more of a treat to the doggy diet, rather than the staple of health and wellbeing they are to we humans.
Even a banana a day is likely the upper end of the number of bananas a dog can eat daily – perhaps even half of one for a puppy or a smaller dog.
The amount of natural sugar in bananas is quite high, especially for dogs, and too many of them in a day can increase the risk of obesity or diabetes for a dog.
It’s pretty astonishing, considering how bananas are so good for us, to imagine that they’re as almost the same as candy to a dog’s stomach!
The health benefits they bring to your pet are luckily much greater than plain old sweets though, and many dog owners swear by bananas for helping dogs with a bad tummy feel better.
If you’re thinking about bananas as treats rather than essential food for health and wellbeing, you’re on the right track.
Naturally, therefore bananas ought to be treated as a snack or a treat to your dog, rather than a core component of their daily meal.
If you’re truly on the fence as to whether you should feed bananas to your dog, consult your vet for advice – especially if you know your pet has a sensitive stomach.
What to do if your dog eats a banana
As loyal as dogs are, they’re nothing if not cheeky. Where it’s rummaging where he or she shouldn’t be, accepting a handout from a well-meaning stranger, or rummaging in your kitchen when you’re not looking, they never cease to surprise in how naughty they can be stealing treats!
As such, you might find your dog has eaten a banana you had no intention of offering him or her. Luckily, this isn’t a serious reason for concern at all.
In fact, even though your dog shouldn’t eat a banana peel, even if they eat a whole unpeeled such fruit, they ought to be fine.
At worst, an unplanned chance meeting between pooch and plantain ought to do nothing worse than spike up the blood sugar for an excited hour or two, or cause a bit of tummy upset.
You might find your trusty pup lolloping and slouching after a while as their tummy gurgles at all its unfamiliar filling.
Of course, if your dog has eaten a bunch of bananas, you might feel concerned that they’ve completely overdone it. You’d be right – but again, luckily not to a dangerous degree.
If your dog has eaten banana peels alongside that whole bunch of bananas though, definitely keep an eye on them for signs of choking or uneasiness of the stomach.
A dog who’s helped himself or herself to a big old bunch of bananas could end up constipated though – there’s a lot of fibre to go around there!
You might find you may need to resort to specialised dog tablets mixed into their meals to help your pooch get things moving around the back again – but this isn’t a serious issue, and your dog will hopefully have learned a valuable lesson in watching what they eat!
While letting a dog eat banana peels is a bad idea, bananas for dogs tend to work out okay if you serve them in slices and keep portions low.
This fruit is packed with fibre, vitamins and feel good chemicals galore, but eating as many of them as a person is recommended to is not the way forward with your dog.
In helping loose bowels or tummy upsets, bananas are great for dogs – but they can just as easily cause tummy upsets of their own if dished out in big doses. So don’t go bananas!