Plantains look like bananas because they are part of the same family with some significant differences. Generally, there’s nothing you need to fear about your pet eating them. There’s isn’t anything toxic. Even though it’s a fruit, it’s not like giving your dog grapes or raisins. That said, there are other things you should know about giving your pup plantains or, indeed, any new food.
Benefits of Giving Your Dog Plantains
Plantains contain a lot of vital nutrients, even if they aren’t the most well-known of fruits. They are composed primarily of carbohydrates, with protein taking a distant second at 2 percent. That’s typical of these food groups. They have a decent lineup of amino acids, although they are not a complete protein like meat.
The nutrient profile is good, too. Many of the vitamins and minerals that canines need are well-represented. As you’d expect, fats are negligible. The other thing that you must consider is its sugar content and how it affects your pup’s blood sugar levels. Fruits vary on how quickly they’ll impact it, which is a vital consideration based on your pet’s needs.
Effects on Blood Sugar
This factor is one of the tipping points for the safety of giving your dog plantains. Toxicity aside, you must think about how it will affect his blood sugar. For dogs without a metabolic disorder, it’s not a critical factor. However, if your pup is diabetic, it becomes a different matter altogether. The concern rests whether eating plantains will cause an abrupt spike in his blood sugar or glucose levels.
The answer to that question involves the glycemic index of plantains.
You don’t typically eat plantains raw. You should prepare them, whether boiling or baking them. That’s a good thing since it’ll reduce its glycemic index and, thus, its entry into your dog’s bloodstream. If it’s lower, it’ll keep the blood sugar levels at a more even keel and prevent the spikes that can cause problems.
For example, raw plantains tip the scale at 68. If you boil it, the level drops to 39. That puts it into a safer range to feed even dogs with pre-existing health conditions. The fact is that heat, as in frying, can create the necessary requirements to produce sugar. With plantains, frying equals more, which boosts the glycemic index.
How to Prepare Plantain
We don’t usually eat plantain raw. It has a lot of starch, which makes it difficult to digest. The same applies to your pup. Think of cooking it as a way to make it easier for him to enjoy. That said, it’s essential to make it bland. You’re not making it for you to eat. It’s trying to fit it into your pet’s diet in a way that won’t upset his GI tract.
Plantains are bland without a lot of doctoring. Rest assured that your dog doesn’t care. The best way to introduce new foods is to go slow. Make sure that your pup likes it, for one. Don’t buy 5 pounds of plantains if he turns up his nose at it. That same advice goes to you, too. Perhaps the smell of cooking it is unagreeable. Or maybe, you want to prepare double batches for you, too!
Boiling is the best way to make peace with the canine constitution. Frying involves too much fat, which will likely trigger an unpleasant GI response. Remember that a recommended fat intake for canines is only 5 percent for an adult pooch.
You can mash it into his commercial food or other people foods like rice to supplement his diet. We’d recommend going slow and adding just a wee bit the first time. That makes good sense from a biology point of view but also speaks to your pet’s diet. Let him choose if he likes it.
Plantains are bland, especially if they aren’t ripe. The texture might be the only thing that your dog notices is different from what he normally eats. The other thing we must discuss is preparation.
Plantains on their own are fine, in most cases. However, their value exists in the fact that they are bland. Don’t try to please your dog’s palate. The simpler, the better.
Plantains probably aren’t the first food you think of as one to give your dog. They are exotic and require some prep. Out of the box, they are okay for your pet, notwithstanding existing health conditions. The key is to keep it bland to avoid any unexpected surprises.
Featured image credit: foto-augenblick, Pixabay
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.