Jack Russell looking at a banana

Can Dogs Eat Banana?
Canine Food Safety

Bananas are one of the world’s most popular fruits. But can dogs eat banana? Before sharing your favourite snack with your pup, you need to be sure it won’t be harmful! No worries, our experts tackled this question to ease your mind.

Here’s what you should know!

Jack Russell Terrier dog with banana peel on its head

Are Bananas Safe For Dogs?

Yes! This delicious fruit is on our list of fruit dogs can eat and are very healthy for both you and your dog. So if Fido is whining for a taste, you can offer a little bite of your own banana.

PRO TIP: Bananas and plantains are not the same! Don’t mix up the two. While bananas are safe to eat for dogs, plantains need to be cooked beforehand. If not, you risk causing gastrointestinal upset, diarrhoea and vomiting.


Should You Feed Bananas To Your Dog?

They are safe to eat, but should dogs eat bananas? As always, the answer is nuanced. It’s important to remember that vets recommend that the basis of your dog’s diet should be a balanced food specifically designed for them. This means either following a vet-designed meal plan or just getting a good-quality dog food.

Besides their high-quality diet, you can mix in treats and other goodies to spruce up their meals. Make sure these extras only make up to 10% of their total caloric intake. This ensures your dog stays well-nourished!


Benefits of Bananas For Dogs

At our house, every four-legged friend loves bananas. But if you need some science to become a fan, here’s what research has to say about it:

Bananas are rich in healthy antioxidants

  • Simply put, antioxidants are specific components that help your dog’s body fight off the natural oxidation process. Oxidation, AKA, ageing and pollution, can quickly take a toll on your dog’s long-term health. To prevent it, balanced dog foods are antioxidant-rich, and you can also supplement it with delicious treats. Bananas can be one of them!
  • Bananas are especially rich in polyphenols and carotenoids. These two distinct subgroups (that includes goodies like Vitamin A and lutein) protect your dog at a cellular level, improve their bodies’ function and make them stronger against disease. In fact, research shows that eating banana regularly might lower your dog’s chances of developing heart conditions, certain types of cancer and eye diseases [1].

They are high in fibre

  • This is another great benefit of eating bananas! Like other fruits, these are rich in fibre. Fibre is key to keep your dog’s GI system healthy and happy. Does your dog struggle to go to the bathroom? Do they “scoot” around the floor constantly? Then adding fibre to their diet might be in order [4].
  • Fibre helps your dog in two ways. First, it helps in stool formation and improves your dog’s bathroom schedule: the fibre acts like a “broom” and helps the stool move through (and out!) of your dog’s system. Then, fibre also feeds your dogs microbiome. There is the huge community of bacteria, microbes and other living beings that live on your dog’s gut. If your dog doesn’t eat enough fibre, their gut microbiome dwindles and it can lead to chronic health issues like runny stools and vomiting, but also depression, heart conditions and diabetes [2]. Adding consistent fibre to your dog’s diet can help prevent these issues!

They prevent cramps and muscle soreness

  • Do you have an active dog? Then a banana treat here and there might be the right choice! Bananas are rich in potassium. This compound is so powerful that researchers found consistent consumption could increase recovery and performance [3]. On the other hand, potassium is also essential to keep your dog’s blood pressure stable and their heart healthy. This makes it an ideal snack for older pups!

Bananas cheer them up

  • Did you know bananas are a natural source of happy hormones? Yes, this fruit is rich in serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Bananas also pack tons of tryptophan and vitamin B6, which are essential to creating even more serotonin. If you have an older pup in need of a pick-me-up, then maybe bananas should be on the menu!

How to Give Bananas to Your Dog

Pick the right ones

  • Green bananas are a no-go. Stick to ripe bananas that are yellow all around. A few brown spots are fine but skip the mushy ones.

Peel and cut

  • This might sound too obvious, but you never know: don’t give banana peels to your dog! The raw peels are very difficult to digest and might even cause intestinal blockage. Just peel the banana and discard the peels.

Offer only small pieces

  • Although bananas are soft, there’s always the risk of choking, especially if you’re feeding a small dog. To save yourself the headache, just cut up the banana into bite-sized pieces according to your dog’s size. This is especially important if you have a dog that tends not to swallow!

Don’t overfeed

  • There is something like too much of a good thing. Don’t overfeed bananas! This fruit is high in sugar and might take your dog’s calories over the recommended limit. Stick to the 90/10 rule: don’t let treats (like bananas) make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet.

Try some recipes

  • Who said raw banana was the only option? Mix banana with yogurt for a creamy and delicious treat. Freeze banana chunks to give to teething puppies. Or you could even make DIY dog treats with banana and oatmeal. The sky is the limit!

Final Thoughts

Does your dog ask for bananas every time you eat some? No worries, now you know it’s OK to share!

Bananas can be a great addition to your dog’s diet, especially when it compliments an otherwise healthy and balanced intake. Feed it in moderation and your dog will reap all the benefits!

Check out our other fruit related articles:

References

  1. Balázs, Ervin. "Tropical fruit as excellent resources for nutrigenomics." In Proceedings of the Tropical Fruits in Human Nutrition and Health Conference, vol. 2009, pp. 3-5. http://era.daf.qld.gov.au/id/eprint/1553/1/4549_Tropical_fruit_conference_proceedings_v2.pdf#page=11  
  2. Englberger, L., et al. 2006. Carotenoid content and flesh color of selected banana cultivars growing in Australia. Food Nutr. Bull. 27: 281–291. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/156482650602700401
  3. Netshiheni, R.K., Omolola, A.O., Anyasi, T.A. and Jideani, A.I., 2019. Banana Bioactives: Absorption, Utilisation and Health Benefits. In Banana Nutrition-Function and Processing Kinetics. IntechOpen. https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/69451
  4. Varshney, J. P. THE USE OF PLANT RESOURCES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF GASTRO-INTESTINAL DISORDERS IN ANIMALS. http://www.hillagric.ac.in/edu/covas/vpharma/winter%20school/lectures/42%20Plant%20in%20git%20management.pdf
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better. Eloisa is able to use her expertise to write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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