Can Dogs Eat Bananas? Here’s What Vets Say
Your dog can't wait to get its paws on that potassium-rich fruit you're peeling. But can dogs eat bananas? We've got the answers.
If you’ve done any research into the best diet for dogs, you may have been warned against feeding your dog table scraps. Still, it’s hard to resist those puppy-dog eyes. The good news is that while there are some toxic foods for dogs, there are plenty of human foods dogs can eat—and some even make great additions to your dog’s diet. If your pooch is longingly eyeing that banana you’re eating, you may be wondering, Can dogs eat bananas? Is it OK to sneak your pup a bite or two? We’ve got the expert answers on whether dogs can eat bananas, and if so, how to add bananas to your dog’s diet.
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Are bananas good for dogs?
Open to sharing your daily banana? Here’s some good news: Dogs can enjoy bananas in moderation, according to Jennifer Bruns, DVM, MPVM, vice president of business development at PetSmart Veterinary Services. And a banana isn’t just a sweet, healthy treat—it also provides some essential vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to dogs. “Bananas are a good source of potassium, vitamins, biotin and fiber,” says Dr. Bruns. These are the key nutrients in bananas that can help your pup’s health.
- Potassium: This nutrient is essential for all animal and human life. In dogs, potassium regulates electrical charges to the heart, muscles and nerves.
- Fiber: Just like humans, dogs need their daily dose of fiber to stay regular. For dogs suffering from gastrointestinal issues, adding banana to their diet may help firm up their stool and get them back to their regular selves.
- Magnesium: The American Kennel Club (AKC) says that magnesium is an important mineral for dogs. It promotes bone growth and helps the absorption of vitamins.
- Biotin: This essential B vitamin helps your dog’s body convert food to energy. It also promotes healthy skin, fur and nails.
- Vitamin C: According to the AKC, this antioxidant helps slow your dog’s cognitive decline and reduces inflammation.
How much banana can you give a dog each day?
The same adage is true for pets as it is for humans: There can always be too much of a good thing. Thanks to their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a once-in-a-while treat, and they should not be part of a dog’s main diet, says Dr. Bruns. And while a little bit of banana can help balance your dog’s gastrointestinal system, “feeding a dog too much banana could upset their stomach.”
Dr. Bruns recommends consulting your veterinarian on any treats specific to your dog, but she says that generally, “a small portion of a banana sliced, chopped or mixed in with other foods is a healthy way to feed a dog this potassium-rich treat.”
What are the best ways to feed your dog bananas?
Dr. Bruns says there are several easy ways to serve up bananas to your furry friends. Since bananas have a shelf life of only a few days, consider freezing slices to keep handy before using several of these methods.
One simple way to serve up banana for your dogs is to give them a slice or two while you’re enjoying a banana. Just be sure not to share too much at one time. For a small dog, a small slice is sufficient.
Mashed up in kibble
Is your pup a picky eater? Mashing up a small amount of banana in your dog’s food will give the kibble an appealing aroma, instill more flavor and provide a nice nutrient boost.
Mixed with peanut butter
Can dogs eat bananas with peanut butter? Dr. Bruns says that mixing a small amount of banana with dog-safe peanut butter is a tail-waggingly tasty snack for an extra good girl or boy. Just make sure the peanut butter doesn’t contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s extremely dangerous for dogs. Or better yet, buy peanut butter or expert-approved treats made specifically for dogs.
With puzzle toys
Freeze banana bits and put them into a feeding puzzle for extra mental stimulation, suggests Dr. Bruns. Have a smart dog? See if your pup can solve a puzzle toy before the banana thaws into a mushy mess.
For hiding pills
Bananas are a good alternative for hiding medications that dogs might otherwise spit out. “This allows pet parents to avoid treats that are high in fat or salt when giving medication,” Dr. Bruns says.
Can dogs eat banana peels?
Can and should are two different things. “While the peel isn’t toxic to dogs, it is hard for them to digest,” says Dr. Bruns. That’s because it contains so much fiber. An upset stomach will be the likely result, and vomiting, constipation or diarrhea are also potential consequences. But in the worst-case scenario, and especially with a small dog, a blockage could occur, resulting in a dangerous situation for your pup and some expensive veterinary bills for you.
If your dog accidentally ingests all or part of a banana peel, it’s a good idea to call your veterinarian and get their advice. Most likely, they’ll advise you to monitor for any changes in your dog’s behavior, including lethargy, loss of appetite, constipation or other changes in bathroom habits.
About the expert
- Jennifer Bruns, DVM, MPVM, is a veterinarian and the vice president of business development at PetSmart Veterinary Services.