Many people love bananas, especially babies, and they’re chock full of nutrients. It turns out, many dogs are bananas for bananas, too. But is it safe for dogs to eat bananas?
The short answer is: yes! Dogs can eat bananas. Just don’t let them eat the banana peel, says veterinarian and dog nutritionist Lisa P. Weeth at Weeth Nutrition Services.
Why Bananas Are Good for Dogs
“Bananas, especially ones that are on the firmer, starchier side, are a good source of dietary fiber and potassium and are a great mix-in for homemade dog treats,” says Weeth. “They are also low in fat and protein, so they work well even for dogs with chronic medical conditions where fat and protein intake need to be watched closely.”
Also, bananas are a great, quick energy pick-up when you’re on the run. They’re chockful of nutrients like vitamin B6 and vitamin C, and minerals like biotin and copper (and potassium of course).
Plus, bananas can help if your dog has a fussy stomach, because they’re full of fiber, which aids digestion, and magnesium, which stimulates bone growth, protein production and the absorption of vitamins.
What to Watch Out For
“But caregivers and puppy parents need to be careful about the extra calories since even 1/4 of a medium banana will add about 25 calories,” says Weeth. “Obesity is a big problem in our companion dogs, so caregivers and pet parents need to keep an eye on their dog’s total daily intake to prevent unintended weight.” Dogs need a lot less calories than humans, and an overweight dog has the same health concerns that overweight people may have.
Don’t Feed Dogs Banana Peels
Banana peels are another story. We don’t eat them, so why try feeding them to your dog? “Peels are non-digestible and can cause esophageal, stomach and intestinal obstructions if eaten, so keep them away from dogs,” says Weeth. Most dogs will reject them because they have a bitter taste. But if you have a “hoover” that’s like a goat when it comes to food — he eats anything and everything, including trash — be careful.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Banana Peel
“If peels are consumed, caregivers and pet parents should watch for signs of intestinal distress, such as poor appetite, vomiting or signs that their dog is uncomfortable or in pain,” says Weeth. If your dog manages to get the peel, and you notice any of these symptoms, Weeth recommends taking your dog to your local veterinarian for treatment.
In general, before giving your dog any human food, check to make sure it’s safe. A lot of food we consider healthy is toxic for dogs, such as grapes and raisins, so always choose safety over satisfying your dog’s sweet tooth. If in doubt, ask your vet.
Incorporating Bananas Into Your Dog’s Diet
Besides giving your dog a slice of banana, there are a lot of homemade dog treat recipes that incorporate bananas. You can also freeze them for a summertime treat (minus the peel), or cut them into slices and top them with natural peanut butter (minus the extra sugar or sugar substitute).
Your dog doesn’t care about any of that. To a dog, bananas are just a yummy treat!
For a healthy treat, check out our Pup Pops, with bananas, beets and blueberries.
Makes eight 2-ounce pops
2 ripe bananas, cut into chunks
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1 slice raw beet
Blend the bananas and yogurt. Scrape the container a few times to make sure you get everything out of there and pour 3/4 of the mixture into a cup. Keep about ¼ in the blender for the next step.
Next, add the blueberries into the blender. Blend with the remaining banana mixture to liquefy. Scrape out the blueberry mixture and put into a separate cup.
Lastly, return ¼ of the banana mixture you initially took out into the blender and blend with the beet slice. Once again, scrape into a cup.
Spray the popsicle mold with cooking spray. First, spoon the blueberry mixture into the bottoms of the molds, dividing it evenly. Then, spoon the banana mixture (should look light) evenly into the molds in the same way. Gently top off with the beet mixture leaving about ¼ inch of space at the top of the mold. Lastly, add a carrot stick to each mold. Freeze for at least two hours. Unmold and give a pop to your dog, storing the others in the freezer for later treats.
Check out the video: