Yes, dogs can eat bananas, along with various other fruits and vegetables. Surprising as it may be, dogs are actually omnivores, not carnivores. This means that dogs can, and will, eat food from both plant and animal sources. This doesn’t mean that dogs can eat any kind of food without issue (some of them do have allergies, after all), but dogs can eat bananas.
Should Dogs Eat Bananas?
You might be wondering: okay, so dogs can eat bananas. But, should they?
Yes, definitely (in most cases)! Bananas are a fruit that’s low in calories and high in nutrients, which make them a fantastic (and yummy) snack. Bananas contain a lot of vitamins, potassium, fiber, and other beneficial properties. They also contain low amounts of cholesterol and sodium, which is great for dogs that may be on a specialized diet. They’re easy to eat, too, since the actual banana flesh is very soft. So, if you have an elderly dog that’s missing some teeth, she should have no problem munching on some banana pieces.
There is a negative aspect to bananas, though, and that’s the amount of sugar they contain. One medium banana typically has about 14 grams of sugar, which is almost half the amount of sugar in a typical 12-ounce can of soda. So, while dogs can definitely eat bananas, they should eat them in moderation.
When Not to Feed Bananas to Your Dog
Are there occasions when dogs shouldn’t eat bananas? Of course! Though bananas are generally safe for dogs to eat, some dogs would probably do best to avoid eating bananas (or at least eating a lot of them). As mentioned above, bananas contain a lot of sugar, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity itself can lead to other health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and more. Not only that, but too much sugar in your dog’s diet can lead to type 2 diabetes.
If your dog is already struggling with too much weight, feeding them bananas might exacerbate the problem–not just from the sugar, but also the number of carbohydrates in bananas (27 grams for a medium-sized banana). Similarly, if your dog is on a diet meant to limit their sugar intake, you should probably avoid feeding them bananas, if possible. Also, though fiber is generally good to have in a dog’s diet, too much fiber can cause digestion issues for your dog. Bananas have a high fiber content, so if your dog is already ingesting too much fiber, it might be best to find a different dog treat for them.
This probably goes without saying, but if your dog has an allergic reaction to bananas, she shouldn’t eat them anymore. Signs of an allergic reaction to bananas include coughing, swelling, and difficulty breathing, among other things. If you think your dog is suffering from an allergic reaction, you should contact a vet immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Banana Peels?
The technical answer is that, yes, dogs can eat bananas and banana peels. But the better question is whether or not they should eat banana peels. Though the peel of a banana isn’t toxic to dogs, it is difficult for them to digest. This can lead to stomach upset or even an intestinal blockage, which can be fatal if left untreated. So, when feeding bananas to your dog, peel them first, and maybe even consider cutting them into small, bite-size pieces. Your dog will think she’s getting more treats (multiple banana pieces as opposed to a single banana), and you’ll be better able to moderate her banana intake.
Mixing It Up With Bananas
If your dog really enjoys eating bananas, you might consider making the snack a bit more interesting. Your dog will probably appreciate the variety, and it wouldn’t take much more time out of your day. But, what can you do to mix it up with bananas?
Well, one thing that you can try is smearing some peanut butter onto the banana pieces. Peanut butter seems to be a favorite treat amongst most dogs, and so long as the peanut butter doesn’t contain xylitol (which is toxic to dogs), it’s a relatively healthy and delicious treat. If your dog tends to come running to the kitchen (or mysteriously appear at your side) whenever you open a jar of peanut butter, then it probably goes without saying that she’d enjoy some peanut butter along with their banana snack. It’d even remain a healthy treat, as peanut butter contains a lot of protein and other nutrients.
You can also add banana slices to some plain yogurt. Though some dogs are lactose-intolerant, those that can handle lactose would probably enjoy yogurt, and adding banana pieces could provide some interesting texture changes for your dog to enjoy. As with peanut butter, yogurt is high in protein, and it also contains a good amount of calcium and probiotics, which can assist with your dog’s digestion.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even try mixing peanut butter, yogurt, and bananas together into one consolidated treat. You can put them all in a bowl or maybe even mix them together in a blender to make a sort of doggy smoothie. If you add ice, as well, it could help keep your dog more hydrated while providing a yummy treat. Just be careful not to overdo it. Remember, all things in moderation, even if your dog doesn’t agree!
The Nutritious Truth About Bananas
As you can see, dogs can eat bananas, and bananas can be a great addition to your dog’s regular diet. Though they shouldn’t be used as a sole provider of nutrition for your dog, when given in moderation, bananas can be a healthy and delicious treat (especially for those dogs that can’t or don’t want to eat hard treats). Plus, buying bananas doesn’t require a special trip to the pet store, since they can be picked up along with your regular groceries.
Though most dogs do enjoy the treats found in pet stores, bananas are definitely a healthy and interesting alternative. Try mixing and matching bananas and other treats together to discover your dog’s new favorite snack!