The soft, creamy long and oddly shaped fruit known as the banana, is a favorite fruit snack for many people. It’s not only tasty, but good for you and packed with all kinds of vitamins and minerals. It is also very versatile, meaning, you can eat this fruit all alone as a quick snack, or you can put it in a million different recipes, fresh or cooked, or even freeze them to make tasty summer frozen snacks. As good as bananas are for humans, it may seem like they would also be good for your dog. But are they? Let’s take a look at this ancient old snack to see what research says about feeding your dog banana.
According to Heather Loenser, DVM, the Senior Veterinary Officer at the American Animal Hospital Association, “Dogs can eat bananas as a snack in conjunction with eating a complete and balanced commercial diet.” She goes on to say, “Like anything, it’s about moderation.” She added that although it is ok to snack your dog on bananas, this is a treat that should be given in addition to a normal, healthy diet suited for dogs and not just give them bananas as a main diet food.
One thing that has been pointed out, is that the only part of the banana that should be given to a dog as a treat, is the banana fruit itself, and not the banana peel. It’s not that the peel is toxic to a dog, like some foods, but the peel is very hard for a dog to digest. Dog’s intestines and digestive systems are not built like humans. There are a lot of foods that are hard for them to digest, with the banana peel being one of them. This being said, banana peels are useful for other purposes, like soothing bug bites on your dog. Just by rubbing the inside of the peel over the bug bite or an area of skin inflammation that is itchy for your dog, it can sooth the itch and calm the inflammation. It’s a natural remedy to skin irritations.
What are portion recommendations for bananas?
For just about any size of dog, a whole banana would be too much to give as a snack to a dog. Many dog breeds have heads that are just about the size of a whole banana, which means that that is a lot of banana. When giving your dog a banana snack, keep the snack size to just a slice or two to start off with. See how they do with this serving to make sure it doesn’t cause any tummy problems. If they handle it well, a larger breed might be able to handle three slices, but you should never go bananas on banana slices with any dog.
What are the health benefits with bananas for a dog?
Bananas offer your dog heart-healthy benefits. Since they have a lot of nutrients, both vitamins and minerals, your dog will benefit from this fruit a lot like a human. They contain Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, fiber, plus, they are low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Bananas do contain one thing that is not the most healthy, which is sugar – which makes them sweet. This is one reason why a dog shouldn’t eat too many banana slices.
The best way to feed your dog bananas
There are many different ways you can incorporate bananas into your dog’s snack plan. Here are a few:
Mashed bananas: You can mash up a few slices of banana and include it in their meal. Just mix in their food or put in their dish all by itself.
Banana chips: Banana chips can be fun for your dog to have as a snack, since they tend to like crunchy things for the chewing experience. Just be sure to choose chips that are sugar free, or no additional sugar added. You want all-natural banana chips.
Kong stuffer: This is a dog chew toy that allows you to put a snack inside for them to have fun trying to get it out. You can freeze the banana slices, or leave them as fresh banana slices, and stuff them into the Kong for your dog to play with and challenge himself in getting them out. It’s a fun game with a tasty ending.
Remember that your dog has different nutritional needs and digestive system than you do. Before you go and drop a treat on the floor or start incorporating a food into their diet, it is always best to research the food or ask your vet if it is safe to feed your dog. Bananas just happen to be one that is safe for dogs, so long as it isn’t over-fed and given in moderation.