Bananas are one of the most popular fruits around the world. But can dogs eat bananas, and are bananas safe for dogs to consume? What are the health benefits of bananas for dogs, and are there any side effects? Let's take a closer look at this well-known fruit and what it has in store for dogs.
If you've been wondering, “can I give my dog bananas,” the answer is YES – dogs can eat bananas without any issues, and bananas are non-toxic to dogs. In fact, this vitamin-rich fruit may be very good for dogs when fed in moderation.
In this article, I will take a look at the scientific research behind health effects of bananas as well as their adverse effects, and how these apply to dogs. Even though bananas for dogs are safe, there's more that you need to know before feeding them to your pup.
Table of Contents
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What are bananas?
The banana is a vitamin-rich fruit and they are grown in many countries with warm climate, but they are native to Southeast Asia and belong to a plant group of Musa.
Because of their appealing looks, very sweet taste and large amount of good nutrition, bananas have become a very popular addition to healthy diets all over the world. Many of those benefits may indeed apply when you feed a banana to a dog.
For the uninitiated, this is what a regular fresh raw bananas looks like:
Bananas contain many vital nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and Vitamins B6 and C. This superfood has been studied extensively and provides health benefits such as lower blood pressure, increased potassium intake, bone growth, and nutrient absorption.
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Bananas for Dogs 101
Can Dogs Eat Bananas?
So even though this fruit is healthy for people to consume, can dogs eat bananas too? Yes, dogs can eat bananas with no problems. Bananas are safe for dogs as long as your canine consumes them in moderation and as an occasional treat.
Aside from being a wholesome source of nutrients, bananas can also provide dogs with some critical health benefits that can improve a dog’s general well-being.
The following vitamins and minerals in bananas are of most use to dogs:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Bananas are high in natural sugars in the form of fructose. When giving bananas to dogs as a treat on occasion, and not as a substitute for regular meals, this powerful fruit can be a great addition to your dog's diet to raise his vitamins and minerals intake.
There's plenty of scientific research behind the health benefits of bananas, so below I'm going to give you a brief science-based breakdown and good reasons why adding a moderate amount of bananas to your own and your dog's diet may be a good idea.
- Bananas improve heart health (1, 2)
- Bananas improve digestive health (3, 4)
- Pecitin in bananas may protect from colon cancer (5)
- Bananas help with weight loss (6, 7)
- Bananas may prevent degenerative diseases (8)
- Bananas improve insulin sensitivity (9)
- Bananas may prevent kidney stones (10)
- Bananas prevent muscle soreness and cramps (11, 12)
The above studies are just the tip of the iceberg of what's available in terms of scientific research on bananas and their health benefits. As you can see, there's a good reason to add bananas to your own diet and give bananas to dogs.
However, bananas are usually best added to an already well-balanced diet of your dog. Make sure your dog receives a sufficient amount of protein and fats from healthy sources.
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7 Benefits of Bananas for Dogs
Can dogs eat bananas and get the same health benefits as humans do?
Yes – just as bananas are beneficial for the human diet, this fruit can help dogs in a variety of ways. From digestion to energy levels, bananas for dogs have been proved to be an excellent superfood to add to your pet's diet on a weekly basis.
1. Vitamins B6 and C in bananas strengthen multiple systems.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) in bananas helps dogs to fight anemia and produce hormones, proteins, and neurotransmitters.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) in bananas is an important nutrient for collagen and cartilage synthesis in dogs. It also strengthens a dog’s immune system and combats degenerative conditions.
2. Biotin (Vitamin B7) treats the outside of the dog.
Bananas are loaded with biotin, a vitamin that helps maintain shiny, healthy hair and skin in dogs, according to some studies.
3. Fiber in bananas helps relieve gastrointestinal symptoms.
The extra fiber in bananas can help ease a dog with an upset stomach and bring regularity to bowel movements, according to research.
4. Bananas are a prime source of magnesium.
Magnesium that bananas are full of promotes bone growth in dogs, and assists the canine's body in absorbing vitamins and producing protein, according to vets.
5. Bananas provide natural energy boosts.
The natural sugars found in bananas metabolize rapidly for a significant boost of energy, which is especially useful for athletic and active dogs, and has been proven in studies.
6. Bananas keep dogs in shape.
Bananas make much better dog treats than many of the fatty, salty foods owners like to give, thus they contribute to weight loss and leanness, as many vets have noted.
7. Bananas contain potassium, a vital mineral for body function.
Bananas have tons of potassium which replaces lost electrolytes in a dog's body, and strengthens dog's muscle development, and keeps blood vessel function in order, according to research.
So, can I give my dog bananas?
The answer is yes – you can give bananas for your dog, and there are many potential health benefits dogs can reap from eating bananas. Just make sure that you feed banana to your dog in moderation.
Adding an appropriate amount of banana to a dog’s daily diet can result in most if not all of the above mentioned benefits, some of which have been observed in studies.
Bottom Line: Bananas are safe for dogs to eat. However, since many dogs love the taste of bananas, it's important not to overfeed them.
4 Potential Side Effects of Bananas for Dogs
So even though dogs can eat bananas and they provide excellent nutritional benefits, their health benefits apply only when given in suitable amounts.
Too much of anything is never good, but for dogs, too much bananas added to the diet can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, and in some rare worst-case scenarios, death.
Dogs who eat a large amount of bananas may experience any of the following conditions:
1. Weight gain.
An excess of bananas in a dog’s diet may lead to weight gain, particularly in sedentary dogs who don't burn off the excess amount of calories (source).
The high carbohydrate content in bananas as a result of many natural sugars creates a risk of weight gain in less active dogs, including those who are ill or elderly.
2. Gastrointestinal disorders.
When giving too many bananas for dogs, constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting may result from the ingestion of too much fiber and potassium (source).
3. Blood glucose issues.
Because of the surfeit of natural sugars in bananas, feeding too many bananas to dogs can lead to them having blood sugar irregularities (source).
Another potential side effect of giving bananas for dogs is hyperkalemia (source).
It occurs due to high concentration of potassium in the dog's blood. This condition may lead to heart problems and cardiac arrest in canines.
Symptoms of hyperkalemia include disorientation, weakness, and collapse.
Bottom Line: Fed as an occasional, healthy treat, bananas are good for dogs. However, when giving this fruit to dogs in excess, it may distress a dog’s body and even be fatal.
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More on Bananas for Dogs
2 Safety Precautions
Even though there are no side effects of bananas for dogs when feeding in moderation, those asking themselves, can I give bananas to dogs, should keep the following precautions in mind.
If you give your dog bananas, steer clear of banana peels.
The fruit of the banana itself can be good for dogs, but what about the peel?
Some dog owners think that banana peels can be a good natural chew for their dog, but the problem is peels pose potential dangers to dogs.
Simply stated, banana peels are a form of roughage that can cause more trouble for a dog than they are worth.
Here are the two reasons why banana peels should be avoided at all costs:
1. Banana peels can cause blockages.
Because banana peels are hard to chew and to digest for dogs, they may become lodged in a dog’s throat or stomach.
2. The extra fiber in the peels can result in vomiting and constipation.
Banana peels are rife with fiber, and too much fiber can wreak havoc in a dog’s digestive system. Giving banana peels for dogs may cause them to vomit or suffer from constipation.
Can Dogs Eat Bananas?
Given as a treat in small quantities, bananas can be very beneficial for dogs in a variety of ways and may provide several health benefits for canines.
Be sure to contact a veterinarian if you are concerned that your dog has ingested too much banana or banana peels.
For a healthier snack, consider switching out sugary dog treats with a frozen slice of banana, and remember to feed dog treats with restraint and reasonableness.