Every banana-eating dog owner has been in that situation where we’re chomping away at a tasty banana, only to look down and see our furry best friend staring at them with those puppy eyes and drool running down. It’s hard to resist.
For humans, bananas are viewed as tasty yet healthy snacks that are the perfect on-the-go hassle free fruits. But the main question dog owners are asking is: can dogs eat bananas? Are bananas safe for dogs? There is good news for banana lovers.
Yes, Dogs Can Eat Bananas
Dogs can safely eat bananas when given in moderation. Most veterinarians agree that bananas can potentially benefit your dog in many ways, such as promoting a healthy heart, coat, and brain. But, the most important thing is feeding them in moderation. Without regulating quantity, negative side effects may occur.
Too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a bad thing, especially for dogs. In addition, the likelihood of potential negative sides effects may increase when eating too much bananas. Let’s investigate all the best health benefits that bananas can provide your dog.
4 Health Benefits of Dogs Eating Bananas
The banana is the world’s most popular fruit (followed by apples) – and for good reason. They are a great source of Fiber, B6 Vitamin, Biotin, Manganese, Vitamin C, Copper and of course Potassium.
However, to fully understand the nutritional benefits of bananas, we’ll need to break down and examine the nutrients of a medium sized banana first.
Nutrients of a Medium Sized Banana:
- Fiber – 3.1 grams
- B6 Vitamin – 20% DV
- Fiber – 3.1 grams
- Vitamin C – 17% DV
- Potassium – 422mg
- Magnesium – 8% DV
- Biotin – 10% DV
- Sugar – 14 grams
1. Bananas For a Healthy Dog Heart
As a kid growing up, i’ve always been told to eat bananas for the Potassium. There’s a reason why. It’s near common knowledge that bananas contain Potassium, and rightfully so. A medium sized banana will provide your dog with 422 milligrams of it!
But how does Potassium actually help your dog? This nutrient is an electrolyte mineral that promotes a healthy heart function, among other things. If the Potassium levels in your dog becomes too low, it may cause irregular heart beats, known as Arrhythmia.
This means that a few slices of bananas for your aging dog might be a good idea. However, if your dog is suffering from Arrhythmia, it is important to consult with your local veterinarian first.
2. Bananas Promote a Healthy Dog Brain
When looking at the nutritional chart of bananas, another thing that sticks out is the amount of Vitamin B6. The amount of Vitamin B6 in bananas is an astounding 20% of a human’s daily value. They’re one of the best fruits for this vitamin!
The B6 vitamin is an essential vitamin for the development and proper functioning of the dog brain. They’re responsible for producing important neuro hormones like serotonin and norepinephrine, which affects the mood of your dog.
In addition, B6 is responsible for melatonin secretion in your dog. A dog with irregular sleeping habits can benefit from a few pieces of bananas. Melatonin allows them to regulate their internal clock, and thus normalize their sleeping habits.
3. Bananas Give Your Dogs Vitamin C
Another huge benefit of consuming bananas is that your dog will get a hefty amount of Vitamin C. This popular vitamin is known for combating and preventing degenerative diseases, including cancers of all type. Humans need this vitamin because we don’t naturally produce it ourselves.
That being said, it’s important to note that dogs do naturally produce vitamin C. They don’t need to get this vitamin from other fruits, vegetables or supplements. So then, why is this considered a health benefit for your dog?
While it’s true that dogs can naturally produce Vitamin C, as they age, they become less efficient at doing so. This means that feeding bananas to an older dog may actually benefit them. Whereas, feeding bananas to a young puppy may not do so much.
4. Bananas For Healthy Dog Skin and Coat
Bananas contain a ton of Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7. Biotin is a B complex vitamin that helps with maintaining healthy skin and hair on humans and dogs. It will keep your dog’s coat looking good with a bright healthy shine.
Biotin has many other health benefits like maintaining healthy cardiovascular, metabolic, digestive and nerve function. However, the most noticeable benefit may for a dog may be the healthier coat. They may have a healthier shine.
4 Potential Side Effects of Dogs Eating Bananas
There’s no argument that bananas are one of the world’s healthiest fruits. And dogs can certainly reap some of the health benefits to an extent. But like with everything, moderation is key.
There are potential side effects and harms that may occur if your dog consumes too many slices of bananas. The more they consume, the higher chance of these side effects.
1. High Sugar in Bananas Decay Dog’s Teeth
The 14 grams of sugar in a medium-sized banana is a lot, especially for a dog. For humans, we can eat a lot of natural sugar every day and still have a bright set of teeth. This is because humans have the ability and habit to brush their teeth multiple times a day.
According to Dr. Andy Roark DVM, a shocking 95% of all dog owners don’t brush their canine’s teeth on a daily basis. The high sugar content in bananas will speed up the decay of your pet’s teeth if given too often without daily brushing.
But don’t be alarmed. Moderate banana consumption won’t warrant a need for daily brushing, although it would be a good idea regardless. In fact, I would still suggest brushing their teeth daily. This is especially important if you’re always giving them banana treats.
2. Bananas May Cause Constipation in Dogs
Dogs eating an excess of bananas can lead to constipation. If your dog experiences constipation from a moderate amount of bananas, it can be from many reasons. This may seem a bit ironic, but having too much fiber causes constipation.
This is because fiber soaks up water and can cause hard stool when there isn’t enough water. And of course, dogs don’t know any better and you certainly can’t force them to drink more water.
In addition, Dr. Kerri Marshall DVM has mentioned that bananas are difficult to digest and can cause a blockage, thus causing constipation, if the banana is eaten in whole or large chunks.
3. Bananas May Cause Diarrhea in Dogs
Yes I know, it’s a bit contradictory to say that bananas may cause constipation, but then say it may cause diarrhea. However, bananas are made up of mostly insoluble fiber, which is the type of fiber that can loosen up your stool.
If your dog is getting sufficient water and consumes too many bananas, the loose stool can possibly turn into diarrhea. It’s hard to say whether diarrhea or constipation may occur from over consumption of bananas. It depends on the dog and their eating and drinking habits.
Regardless, the risk of a change in stool habit for your dog can likely occur if you feed your dog too many bananas. Keep it to the moderation.
4. Headaches From Bananas
There is a lot of skepticism and speculation about whether dogs can actually have headaches. I mean, how would you even know? We can’t simply ask them if they get headaches.
However, from common sense, we can assume that any living creature with a head and pain perception could suffer from headaches.
When a dog consumes too many bananas, they are eating certain amino acids. These amino acids can trigger headaches by dilating the blood vessels. It’s also been proven that overripe bananas contain more of these amino acids than other bananas.
But because we can’t ask our dogs, the next best thing to do is observe. After your dog eats bananas, always observe them for the next 24 hours or so. If you feel like there is a change in behavior, such as a lack of energy, they may possibly be experiencing a headache.
How Can Dogs Eat Bananas?
Dogs can eat bananas, but only in moderation like many other fruits. As you can see, bananas are loaded with sugar, which is the only negative for dog consumption. That being said, bananas should be used as a tasty snack and not a replacement for a meal.
Bananas should also never be included into your dog’s daily diet routine. Failure to do so may cause some serious (but usually not fatal) unhealthy side effects to your dog. However, when given to your dog in moderation, it can actually benefit their health.
Yes, dogs can digest and benefit from most of the nutrition that a banana supplies. In addition, the low cholesterol and sodium levels in bananas make them a much healthier dog treat than many other “human snacks” that owners often feed their canine.
Banana Preparation For Dogs
When feeding bananas to your canine, make sure to chop them up into smaller pieces, no longer than an inch and even smaller for the small dogs. Most dogs barely chew their food, especially when it’s as soft as a banana.
Bananas are treats, so they should not be fed to your dog more than 1 time a week (maybe 2 times, depending on how your dog reacts to them).
Always start off with smaller pieces of bananas to see if your dog is allergic to them. Slowly increase their consumption of bananas over time and always monitor their feces and anything that may seem off immediately after consumption (e.g. lack of energy, excessive scratching, constipation, etc.).
Bananas are generally safe for dogs and they aren’t usually allergic. However, there are always exceptions. If you have any doubts about feeding them bananas, consult with your local veterinarian beforehand.
Banana Dog Treat Recipe
In this section, we will be learning how to make the perfect holiday (or anyday) treat for your dog with our special ingredient: bananas. Let’s dive in so you can start making these delicious Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Biscuit. The dog treat recipe is brought to you by allrecipes.com.
- 1 Egg
- ½ Cup Wheat Germ
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- ⅓ Cup Peanut Butter
- 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Egg White (lightly beaten)
- ½ Cup Mashed Banana
- Lightly grease a baking sheet so the biscuits don’t stick onto your sheets.
- Preheat oven to 300 Degrees Fahrenheit or 150 Celsius.
- Place the 1 egg, ⅓ cup peanut butter, ½ cup mashed banana and honey into a single bowl and stir thoroughly. Try to smoothen out any chunks in the mix as good as possible.
- Put the ½ cup of wheat germ and 1 cup of flour into the same mix. Continue to stir thoroughly to create the dough for your dog discuit.
- Take the dough out and place it on a floured board. Roll the dough to try to rub any uneven parts out.
- Roll the dough into an ¼ inch thick roll or cut into desired shaped with a cookie cutter.
- Place the uncooked dog biscuits on the baking sheet and brush the top with the egg white.
- Bake the dog biscuits in preheated oven for roughly 30 minutes or until the top is dried or in a golden brown.
- Enjoy Banana dog treats with your canine friend.
The Smart Canine is a dog care and training hub that focuses on bringing dog owners the most accurate information possible. Although we have thoroughly researched on the topic of banana consumption by dogs, we can’t make any claims or statements. We cannot guarantee that your dog will or will not receive any health benefits or side effects. That said, we still suggest consulting with a veterinarian before feeding your dog bananas.