We humans often grab a banana for a healthy snack or on-the-go treat, knowing this fruit is packed with beneficial nutrients. But can dogs eat bananas? The answer is yes. Plus, those same benefits of this superfood snack apply to our dogs as well.
Whether you incorporate bananas into your dog's diet as an occasional treat or more regularly, rest assured knowing that this healthy human food will give your pooch health benefits. But it's not quite as simple as peeling the banana and letting your dog gulp it down.
In this article, we’ll talk all about how your dog can safely enjoy bananas and what health benefits the fruit brings.
Are Bananas a Safe Snack for Dogs?
Bananas are a sweet treat that contains a decently high sugar content and carbohydrate levels, so it’s best to only feed your dog small quantities in order to avoid gastrointestinal problems or weight gain. (Follow this rule of thumb for other dog friendly fruits as well.) This ensures that your dog gets the nutrient benefits a banana can offer while not feeding your dog too much sugar. Give your dog two or three bite-sized chunks of fresh banana to start. Any more isn't worth the risk of an upset stomach.
You also want to make sure that you avoid feeding your dog banana peels. This can cause major stomach upset, as dogs cannot digest the peel and it can cause an intestinal blockage. While the peel is non-toxic, it is still unsafe to feed your dog. Stick to feeding the inside of the banana to your pooch.
If you have a diabetic dog, it might be wise to skip feeding them bananas as a snack. These dogs can't tolerate extra sugar in their diet, so it's safest to skip a high-sugar fruit like a banana entirely. The same goes for a dog who is overweight. If your canine friend is struggling with obesity, it's best to avoid feeding them any foods with high sugar content, like bananas.
While an allergic reaction to bananas isn't particularly likely, it is possible. This is another reason that feeding your dog only small amounts of the banana fruit at one time is important. Keep a close eye on your dog after you've fed them bananas, and let your veterinarian know right away if you spot any adverse health symptoms like intense itching, vomiting, diarrhea or difficulty breathing.
The Health Benefits of Bananas
Bananas are high in fiber and contain many vitamins, minerals and even prebiotics that make them an optimal addition to your dog’s food while also providing a tasty treat.
Fiber: The fiber content in bananas can aid your dog’s digestive system by soothing an upset tummy and even potentially alleviating diarrhea. Note: Be sure to consult with your dog’s veterinarian if your dog has persistent diarrhea.
Prebiotics: Banana can help digest food by naturally fermenting in your dog’s gut system. The prebiotics from bananas become food for probiotics and can create a healthy intestinal flora. (Native Pet's Probiotic powdered mix, which contains both probiotics and organic prebiotics, is also a great option.)
Vitamin B6: Bananas contain high amounts of Vitamin B6, which is a necessary vitamin for your dog’s immune system, hormones and nervous system to function properly.
Potassium: Bananas are pretty well known for their high amount of potassium. It's an important mineral and electrolyte to maintain dogs’ water balance as well as kidney and heart function.
Magnesium: Magnesium is found in abundance in bananas, and this nutrient helps support a healthy immune system and promotes good bone growth and bone health.
Biotin: Biotin can help your dog’s digestive system, coat, and skin and is found in high amounts in bananas. Also, biotin can often help dogs who suffer from dry skin.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that fights oxidative stress and reduces cell damage in the body. Vitamin C can boost your dog’s immune system, so it’s a good thing bananas also contain this beneficial antioxidant which is very helpful to dogs of all ages.
Can Dogs Eat Bananas? Feeding Bananas as a Healthy Treat
Dog owners should avoid feeding high amounts of any new food to avoid stomach upset. Also, you should be aware that the size of your dog does matter when feeding supplemental foods such as a banana. If you have a very small dog, your pup should only eat a size-appropriate amount of banana. Even with a big dog, my advice is to feed small pieces and work your way up to a larger piece of this yummy yellow fruit.
You can introduce bananas to your dog by feeding small pieces of mashed banana as the occasional treat. You can freeze leftover bananas in small amounts and feed them to your dog at a later time. If your dog tolerates the small pieces of banana, you can give a bit more each time or add it regularly into your dog’s food.
You don’t have to mash the banana in order to feed it. You can also make frozen “banana chips” by thinly slicing a banana and freezing the slices. Once frozen, feed a banana chip or two to your dog. (It's a great snack on a hot summer day!)
Easy Banana Dog Treats with Peanut Butter
Can dogs eat bananas that are mixed with other foods or treats for an extra-special snack? Again, the answer is yes. Read on for a quick banana and peanut butter recipe to try with your dog:
- Peanut butter (make sure it does not contain xylitol, which is deadly to dogs)
- Dog treats or chews (optional)
Mash the banana well and mix it with 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of peanut butter depending on the size of your dog. Slather over a tasty chew like these Hip and Joint Chicken Chews, and feed or freeze. Or, roll the mixture into bite-sized balls and freeze as its own treat.
Dogs and Bananas: The Bottom Line
Can dogs eat bananas? Yes, and they offer the benefit of various vitamins and minerals like fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C as well as prebiotics.
However, bananas have a relatively high sugar and carbohydrate content. As with any human food, it's important to only feed your dog bananas in small amounts. Too much can cause an upset stomach, gastrointestinal problems, or even an intestinal blockage. And always avoid feeding your dog banana peels, as they can cause digestive issues. You wouldn't eat them, so why should your dog?
Only give your dog a few small chunks of banana flesh at a time. Make sure these chunks are small enough that there's no risk of choking. You can get creative by freezing banana slices for a cold doggy treat, mixing mashed banana with dog-safe peanut butter, or simply adding a few chunks or slices to normal dog food. Just remember to keep the portion of the banana small, and your dog will be fine.For more wellness advice, join my Community on Dogly. There, you can ask questions and get 24/7 access to me and other certified experts across nutrition, training and behavior, and wellness to give you and your dog your best life together. And be sure to visit the Native Pet blog for more great articles on dog nutrition and health.