Getting some goodness into your dog is easier than ever – in fact, there are countless ways a conscientious dog owner can make it happen.
Nonetheless, there are also lots of hazardous foods out there that dog owners need to be aware of – some occurring in the natural world, and some man-made.
As you’re looking to get extra nutrition into your dog’s diet, and avoid the perils and toxic substances, you might well wonder – can dogs eat plantains? Let’s find out.
Are plantains good for dogs?
Plantains are often called vegetable bananas or cooking bananas, and it’s pretty clear why to look at them.
They’re big, rugged and hardy sources of vitamins and minerals that have come to find a much-respected place on the plate of many a health-conscious eater.
Yet how about our faithful canine companions? Is there any nutritional value in trying to get them to eat some plantain?
If a plantain is decently boiled or cooked up, and served up free from sugars, syrups or other flavour enhancing sources of nutritional naughtiness, there’s actually lots to be said about why it’s a good idea to feed your dog plantains from time to time.
There’s nothing toxic about plantains whatsoever, but you should also make sure not to over indulge your pet when handing over this goodness.
The rule of eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day is a far more human convention than one applicable to canines, after all.
Part of this is due to the fact that the plantain is quite hardy, and even were that not the case, most fruit and vegetables are pretty tricky for dogs to digest in large portions.
Our beloved four-legged friends evolved to gain their nutrition from how and what they eat much differently to us, but the downside there is that those things that we human beings find nourishing are often a step too far for dogs to commit to.
However, the good news on the flip side is that dogs can do far more with far less as a result of this, and so you can imagine the good a plantain can do for them if it’s properly portioned and served up.
However, please keep in mind that this discussion is about the plantain fruit, not the plantain plant – a totally different thing altogether.
That plantain lily, looking a little like a lavender plant, is toxic to dogs and lots of animals, so definitely don’t let them eat it!
Health benefits of plantains for dogs
Perhaps one of the key elements of the great debate between bananas and plantains is that bananas are actually higher in sugar than we often remember – not a problem for us, but definitely quite the conundrum for canines.
As with so much else, sugar affects dogs pretty harshly, and can rapidly manifest as weight gain even if a dog owner is trying to do the right thing and feed him or her some tropical fruit.
Yet with sugar levels in plantains that much lower, the worries instantly disappear. But of course, that’s really only the start of why plantains are so healthy for dogs.
After all, their ruggedness compared to bananas and many other fruits is also an interesting point – indicative of lots of fibre within them.
Fibre is as good for your dog as it would be for a human being.
While, once again, a dog needs much less of it than we would for it to do them the power of good, which means plantains can really go the extra mile in keeping your dog regular.
Of course, it’s far better to avoid feeding your dog the plantain peel, as that’s a touch too fibrous and may well prove almost impossible for your pet to digest.
Dogs simply aren’t built with the kind of digestive processes humans have in breaking down plant material – and consider on top of that the fact that human beings would likely suffer lots of discomfort eating such peels ourselves.
People looking to help dogs overcome digestive issues often reach for plantains, but make sure you do so in moderation if you do.
After all, feed your dog too many plantains and the digestive complications can only get worse.
Plantains also contain tons of vitamins, and those are going to do your pooch plenty of good in terms of overall health and vitality.
This, together with the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities of plantains, will help your pet fight back against unwellness, or even boost their immune system so that he or she succumbs to illness that much less to begin with.
A dog who has had a good portion of vitamins enter his or her diet is always a wonderful sight to behold.
Their coat is shiny and full, and their eyes are shining with delight at all the things they want to run around and play with.
You’ll also find that dogs with a good balance of vitamins in their system is always shown by more even energy levels across the day, which comes as a relief for those dog owners who notice their pets have diets that see their energy levels spike and trail off drastically across the course of 24 hours.
How many plantains can a dog eat daily?
Giving your dog fruit and vegetables doesn’t need to overcome the good and healthy balanced diet they already have, neither should it really overshadow any formulated or specially put together dog food or meals that contain all their nutritional needs.
By and large, additions like plantains to your dog’s diet are better seen as supplements or added extras, rather than the main course, or even an appetiser.
As always, remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to feeding plantains to your dog.
You won’t necessarily even need to give them to your dog daily to see the results, but certainly ensure they are streamed or boiled when you do – raw plantains or fried plantains are not good for dogs at all.
Larger dogs can have the equivalent of half a plantain, diced up to avoid choking hazards – and half that again for smaller dogs.
Older dogs or puppies should have plantains introduced to their diets very gradually, as is often the best practice when adding anything new to your pooch’s diet.
Of course, every dog is an individual, so you might want to experiment from a very small amount of plantain – a couple of cooked slices thereof, every other day – and work up from there to see what works.
Some owners also hold out the plantain pieces for their dog to sniff at and examine.
If your pet smells them and seems uninterested, it might be wise to just avoid the entirely and seek their vitamin intake elsewhere.
What to do if your dog eats plantains
Pets of all kinds love to sneak off with a sneaky snack they weren’t supposed to have, and no matter or how loving they are, even the loyal canine is no exception to this rule.
As such, you might well find one day that your dog is gnawing at a bunch of plantains, or is trying to eat one raw.
The reason raw plantains are best avoided is due to the digestive issues and choking hazard they can represent, but even cooked plantains can do the same if dished up in large portions or eaten irresponsibly by a dog prone to wolf everything down without properly chewing it.
Brace yourself for your dog to show signs of digestive discomfort either way, once you’ve ascertained that he or she is not choking.
Because the plantain is not one of the fruits that are poisonous to dogs, you have little to fear in terms of it attacking their systems in a toxic way – but blocked airways can be nasty, and might cause a dog to panic.
Seek the help of a vet if this becomes the case, but otherwise keep water and perhaps a couple of mint leaves or other remedies handy for your dog as they embark on a journey to quite the troublesome tummy ache.
Especially sensitive dogs might just cough up plantains that were eaten to enthusiastically, but it’s more likely that your poor pooch is in this for the long haul.
For a day or two, you can expect gurgling, a rumbling tummy despite there being no hunger, low energy and appetite, and some pretty foul gas every so often too.
Come the time for your dog to head to the toilet, it’s also going to be pretty messy for a while.
Plantains are a rugged fruit indeed, but definitely good for dogs if cooked up nicely and dished up smartly in bite-sized portions.
Infused with fibre, vitamins and lots of anti-inflammatory goodness, they promote good health and energetic living.
But your dog could well suffer a tummy ache or worse if he or she eats too many, so remember – all good things in moderation.