While you’re enjoying your delicious banana, you find that your pup is licking your nose. Now you laugh and think “Can dogs eat bananas?” Would it be a problem if you tossed them a few slices of this tasty yellow fruit? Let’s find out!
As it turns out, dogs can have small slices of banana without any issue. Bananas, in fact, are a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber. But, does that mean you should replace your dog’s balanced diet with bananas? No, bananas are high in sugar and carbohydrates, which can lead to a spike in your dog’s blood sugar levels, so this tasty yellow fruit should only be offered to your dog as an occasional treat. As much as you love your dog, you shouldn’t let them eat bananas daily.
In this article, I’ll help you decide if the fruit is good or bad for your dog’s health. I’ll also talk about the potential health benefits and risks, how many bananas are too many, and how you can serve them up safely to your dog. So let’s dive right into it.
But before we get into how bananas are good or bad for dogs, let me take a moment to tell you about this delicious fruit.
What Are Bananas?
Bananas are members of the plant genus Musa. This plant is grown in many tropical regions such as India and Africa, where it is used for food. There are several types of bananas, but the most common is the yellow Cavendish banana or ‘common banana’ which can be eaten fresh or used in cooking. There are also purple-skinned bananas, red bananas, and Asian hybrid/long bananas. The majority of these bananas are not edible to dogs because they contain toxic glycoproteins called soluble oligomers.
How Can Bananas Be Good for Dogs?
Bananas are a good source of several vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, folate, potassium, copper, and manganese. A single serving of this fruit will give your dog 23% of their daily vitamin B6 requirements and also provide them with 60% of their daily requirements for folic acid. Bananas are also an excellent source of magnesium and potassium, which is great news for those dogs who need to stay hydrated.
And let’s not forget about the fiber in bananas! While eating bananas won’t satisfy all dogs’ dietary fiber needs, they can still benefit from having a small amount each day.
When Are Bananas Harmful to Dogs?
Sometimes. Bananas can create discomfort in dogs if fed in large amounts.
While bananas are a good source of several vitamins and minerals for your dog, they also contain soluble oligomers which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. Soluble oligomers are organic compounds that cause illness in humans and pets such as gastrointestinal disorder, diarrhea, excessive urination, and vomiting. However, these symptoms won’t occur in dogs with the occasional consumption of bananas in moderation.
Soluble oligomers from bananas actually work by blocking a specific gene that is critical to digestion. When a dog ingests soluble oligomers from banana products or the banana itself, the compounds disrupt the processing of nutrients in the intestines. When the nutrients are not properly processed, they can reach the bloodstream and cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, and even some gastrointestinal discomfort. However, these symptoms are only seen in dogs who have consumed large amounts of banana products or bananas.
A case study published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics describes a Belgian Griffon dog called Dexter who displayed extensive diarrhea after eating banana chips. He was diagnosed with acute exocrine pancreatitis which is an inflammation of the pancreas due to allergic reactions to certain compounds in food or flour. The researcher, Dr. James Baratta of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Veterinary Medicine, and his team tested 48 samples from banana chips and found that 25% contained soluble oligomers.
How Many Bananas Are Too Many for My Dog?
Since bananas are high in potassium – you should feed no more than half a banana per day for an average-sized dog and no more than one small piece every two days for smaller breeds.
According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), dogs are able to safely consume up to 5% of their total calories from potassium. If you are wondering how many bananas your dog can eat, keep in mind that they will also receive potassium from other foods they eat daily, including eggs, chicken, carrots, broccoli, and spinach.
When Will I See Symptoms of a Banana Overdose in My Dog?
The symptoms of a banana overdose in dogs include diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive urination. As mentioned earlier, puppies may experience more severe symptoms if they consume large amounts of bananas. In the case study I mentioned earlier, the dog was able to recover from acute exocrine pancreatitis or inflammation due to compounds from banana chips. However, it took him three weeks before he was eating normally again and ten weeks before he fully recovered from his pancreatitis episode.
How Can I Feed Bananas to My Dog?
Because bananas are high in sugar and carbohydrates, you should only feed them to your dog as a treat or snack. The best way to feed bananas is in the form of chopped pieces sprinkled over dry food as a part-time reward when your pup has done something particularly good. Special care should be taken for large breeds due to their weight and the size of banana pieces.
Here’s a list of ways you can serve bananas to your four-legged best friend:
- Start with a smaller portion mashed up with your pup’s food.
- For a more refreshing starter, peel the bananas, slice them and freeze them for a while, to give it an unusual yet satisfying frozen taste.
- Mix them with other pet-friendly human food like peanut butter (with no xylitol since it can be toxic to dogs).
- If your dog fancies a Kong or food dispensing toys, then a banana filling can be a playful treat as well.
Now that you know how bananas are good or bad for your dog, here are some other banana-related dog articles that you might be interested in.
Does your dog like bananas? Have you ever seen your dog have a reaction from eating bananas? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving us a comment below!