Yes, dogs can eat bananas. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. They’re high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog’s main diet.
Are Bananas Good for Dogs?
Yes, bananas are good for dogs in small quantities. Unlike other fruits, which may have toxic components, every part of a banana is safe for your dog to eat, for the most part.
That’s not to say there aren’t any risks involved, though. They also may not get all the nutritional benefits humans get from this fruit, but bananas make a good—and motivating—treat.
Peeled bananas are best for dogs, but if your dog enthusiastically gobbles one whole, don’t worry. Banana peels aren’t toxic to dogs the way orange peels are.
“Eating an unpeeled banana may cause your dog some dietary upset because they may not be accustomed to all the fiber the peel contains,” explains Purina nutritionist Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS. It’s always best to peel this fruit and cut it into appropriate serving sizes.
Despite the low risk (unlike grapes or cherries, which are bad for dogs), bananas aren’t as nutritious as you might think. Because the servings are small, the beneficial nutrients may not make a difference.
“Potassium is the main ingredient with which bananas are associated. Your dog should be consuming a complete and balanced dog food; therefore you would not need to rely on the banana to supply essential nutrients,” says Carbo-Johnson.
How much banana can I give my dog?
Bananas are a good treat for dogs because they are high in potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Still, like other “human” foods, the best rule of thumb is everything in moderation.
Bananas contain a lot of sugar, which can cause weight gain if eaten in excess. The fiber in bananas can also cause digestive problems like diarrhea, making them a treat that’s best served on occasion, Purina says.
Check out this recipe for peanut butter banana dog treats, or opt for a no-bake snack with this frozen peanut butter banana recipe.
Health Benefits of Bananas for Dogs
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t expect a significant nutritional benefit from giving your dog the small amount of banana that’s okay for them.
That being said, bananas do contain a variety of vitamins and minerals:
- Fiber is known for helping solve gastrointestinal issues. It promotes stool health and regularity.
- Vitamin C promotes bone, cartilage, and teeth health. And it boosts the immune system, helps the body absorb iron, and helps wounds heal quicker.
- Vitamin B6 helps with mood and cognitive function, balances the amino acid levels in the blood, boosts the immune system, and helps protect against infection.
- Potassium is a type of electrolyte that helps muscles contract, supports normal blood pressure, and helps regulate the levels of fluid in the cells.
- Magnesium helps support nerve and muscle function, supports energy production, may promote heart health, and has anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Biotin not only helps with hair, skin, and nail health, but it also promotes brain function, suppresses inflammation, and boosts immunity.
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 them handy before using several of these methods.
One simple way to serve up bananas 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.