Can Dogs Eat Bananas? (Nutrition Guide)
Yes, you can feed your dog bananas, provided you give it in moderation. Also, you should never let it consume the banana peel. This human food can enhance your pet’s cardiovascular health and maintain its muscles and bones. Bananas are a healthier option than commercial dog treats as they contain fiber, too. It is, thus, perfect for hounds that have tummy upsets.
Why Bananas are Good for Your Pet
As mentioned, bananas make excellent treats for dogs. As a treat, it should not comprise more than 10 percent of the animal’s everyday calorie requirements. If you will be able to stick to this rule, then you can help your dog reap the many benefits of bananas.
- Improved Cardiovascular Health
Bananas contain potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fiber. These nutrients can all contribute to a healthier heart and blood vessels. Potassium, in combination with a reduction in sodium intake, can lower the risk of heart disease in dogs. Potassium also increases the diameter of the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. This can lead to a reduction in the workload of the dog’s heart, making it pump in a more efficient manner.
- Maintains Bone and Muscle Health
Another mineral that’s abundant in bananas is magnesium. This mineral can help relax the muscles, making sure that they don’t suffer from prolonged contractions. At the same time, magnesium also promotes firmer and stronger bones and teeth. When you combine these two functions, what you get is a dog that is able to enjoy its everyday activities. It can jump, run, dig, and swim. It can do all these things because of healthy muscles and strong bones.
- Eases Diarrhea
Bananas are rich in fiber and potassium. These two substances can help improve digestive health during bouts of canine diarrhea. Fiber can help increase the bulk of fecal matter, allowing it to form into one solid mass instead of watery stools. At the same time, potassium replenishes the potassium lost during episodes of diarrhea. This makes bananas one of the best foods to give to a dog that is having bouts of loose stools.
- Makes Your Dog Happier
One of the lesser-known facts about bananas is that it contains tryptophan. This is an amino acid that physiologists say can help boost the mood. It is one of the critical substances that the body needs to produce serotonin. You may have already heard what serotonin is. This is the “happy” hormone. It improves the mood and can make your dog feel happier all day long.
Why Bananas Can be Harmful to Dogs
Any human food we give to our dogs should always be in moderation. Bananas are no exception. There are two fundamental reasons why bananas can be harmful to pets.
- May Increase the Risk of Canine Obesity
A medium-sized banana can contain about 22.8 grams of carbohydrates, 12.2 grams of which are in the form of glucose, sucrose, and fructose. Giving more bananas than necessary can predispose your dog to obesity. This is a major risk factor in the development of diabetes in dogs. If you have a breed that’s genetically-predisposed to having diabetes, then giving more bananas than normal can increase the risk. Examples of dog breed that are prone to diabetes include Miniature Poodles, Beagles, and Pugs, among others.
- May Lead to Constipation
While it is true that a medium-sized banana only contains 2.6 grams of fiber, this can still spell trouble if you give Fido too much. Some dogs that overeat bananas experience constipation, which can make life more uncomfortable for the dog.
- May Upset the Dog’s Stomach
For obvious reasons, never give Fido the banana peel. This is very fibrous and the dog will have a difficult time digesting it. This can contribute to the development of constipation or, in most cases, lead to upset stomach. As such, give only your dog the flesh of the banana.
Feeding Bananas to Dogs
As long as you don’t go overboard, feeding your dog bananas can bring a number of health benefits. The question now is how do you give bananas to your pet? There are several ways you can do this.
First, you can get a ripe banana, remove the peel, and mash the flesh. Mix this in your dog’s food and you’ve got a healthy meal. They will love the sweetness that the banana will impart into the meal.
Second, cut it up in small pieces and apply a little peanut butter on each slice. However, take note of the combined calories of what you’re giving so you can make the necessary adjustments in its meal.
Third, mash a whole banana and combine it with peanut butter or other mushy but pet-safe food items. Stuff these into a Kong classic toy or a puzzle feeder. Not only are you treating your pet, you are also stimulating their mental health and keep boredom at bay.
Fourth, turn the banana into a fantastic dog treat. Here’s a recipe you can try.
- 1 large ripe banana, peeled and mashed
- 1 large whole egg, beaten
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted peanut butter
- 2/3 cup of rolled oats or coconut flakes
- 1 cup of oat flour or coconut flour
- 1/2 cup of dried parsley
How to Make the Banana Dog Treat
- Get your oven heated to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine them well.
- Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes.
- Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture and form into small balls.
- Arrange the banana-peanut butter balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Press the balls flat using the back of the spoon. A good alternative is to use a spatula to get more even thickness.
- Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, depending on the thickness.
- Let it cool down before storing or giving to your pet.
Bananas are wonderful treats for dogs. As a treat, it should not be your pet’s main meal.