Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Bananas?
In the world of nutrition, bananas show up high on lists for fruits and vegetables that are safe for dogs to eat.
"As far as we know, they're safe for cats and dogs," says Ahna Brutlag, DVM, with Pet Poison Helpline, which answers potential poisoning questions for veterinarians and pet owners.
Bananas are sweet with sugar but have less than some other sugary treats for dogs. They're packed with fiber, which can help some dogs who may be experiencing gastrointestinal problems. They've got potassium (good for the heart and kidneys, but in moderation), manganese, magnesium, vitamin B and vitamin C.
Watch Your Dog's Weight with Banana Treats
Bananas are yummy because of all that sugar (your dog will likely agree). That means you should feed in moderation. Bananas can only be a small part of a dog's overall healthy, balanced diet. "If someone were feeding their dog [bananas] excessively, and that dog has underlying issues, like obesity, too many bananas could contribute to the problem," Brutlag says.
How much banana a dog should eat is different for each dog, depending on size and activity level. Consider a banana or less per day for a medium or large dog, and just a few banana slices for a small dog.
There are lots of ways to feed dogs banana: Mash it up in food or mix it with peanut butter. Peel, freeze, and feed in slices, or stick a frozen chunk in your dog's favorite food toy for a delicious distraction to help keep him occupied.
Dogs also love banana chips, but while these crunchy treats are safe for dogs to eat, they're usually high in fat. Too many day after day could lead to weight gain or problems with your dog's pancreas.
Ditch the Peel
Just like humans, dogs shouldn't eat banana peels. Aside from being bitter and not at all tasty, unlike the fruit within, a banana's indigestible exterior can get stuck in a dog's throat or elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract. If a dog eats part or all of a banana peel, call your veterinarian if your dog seems uncomfortable or restless or is whining, yelping, or panting. That could indicate an obstruction in your dog's gastrointestinal tract.
"While banana peels aren't toxic per se, they are hard to digest and could pose a risk of bowel obstruction," Brutlag says. "The good news is, the peels are bitter when chewed, which is why we don't eat them either."
- RELATED: 10 People Foods that Poison Pets