Picture the scene. You stop the car for a casual picnic in nature; you realize too late that you forgot to pack food for the dog. Thankfully, Rex loves nothing else than sharing food with his favorite humans.
While you are pleased that your dog is so easy-going, you can’t help but wonder whether all human food is safe for dogs. You’ve packed a few healthy snacks, and there’s, luckily, no chocolate bar in sight. However, when it’s time for dessert, you’ve got only a few bananas in your bag. Rex is sitting next to you, his eyes glowing in expectation. You give in and let him have a small bite of your banana. After all, you can’t blame him for begging. You were the one who forgot to pack his food.
Yet, you wonder whether it was a good idea. “Can dogs eat bananas? Are they safe for Rex?”
The reason why most of us feel confident about giving bananas to our dogs is that we’ve seen other dog owners do it too. Joggers who run with their dogs in the park tend to share their energy snacks with their pets. Toddlers are also generous with their food, and as bananas are a staple of a toddler’s diet, countless puppies have finished the partially chewed bites of bananas that children didn’t want. But that doesn’t make bananas safe for dogs. This article is going to help you understand whether your fur friend can have a banana.
Can dogs have bananas?
Unlike chocolate or grapes which are toxic to dogs, bananas needn’t be an immediate source of worry. It is safe to share a bit of your banana with your dog without having to worry about dramatic consequences.
In fact, bananas are a potent source of vitamins and minerals. They are naturally rich in potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, copper, manganese, magnesium, and fiber, which makes them a healthy treat. If you have recently adopted a pup and are wondering, “can puppies eat bananas?”, the answer is yes. The magnesium helps to promote bone growth in young dogs and absorb vitamins. Additionally, because they are rich in fibers, bananas are perfect for helping upset stomachs, which is a frequent occurrence in young pups.
For dogs that tend to get a little hyper, eating bananas has a calming effect and can help to reduce blood pressure naturally.
Vets tend to recommend giving your dog bananas once in a while as a healthy alternative to fatty or salty snacks. However, the vital lesson to remember, here, is “once in a while”. Bananas are good in moderation.
Indeed, bananas contain a lot of sugar, which can be a problem for dogs with diabetes or dogs on a diet. It’s also good to know that dogs don’t tolerate the potassium found in bananas in large amounts, so it’s best to stick to small portions.
Are bananas good for dogs?
You have probably come across countless Kong recipes involving bananas. As vets mention, you can give bananas to your dog in moderation. It is an excellent way of varying snacks, but it’s best to make it an occasional treat rather than a habit.
Aside from the sugar they contain, eating too much banana can cause constipation. It’s a side effect that could affect you and your dog, so there is such a thing as too much fiber in your diet.
Additionally, you need to be cautious with peels. While the banana peel isn’t toxic per se, it can be hard to digest. Dogs are often attracted to the sweet scent. But letting your dog eat banana peels could lead to a blockage and a painful trip to the vet. If you are eating bananas outside, make it a habit to collect your peels and throw them in the trash can. It will not only keep your dog safe but also errand dogs too.
It can be hard to determine how much is too much banana. As a rule of thumb, small breeds shouldn’t have more than a couple of pieces occasionally. Larger breeds can eat half a banana as a treat. However, each dog is different. Some dogs may be more sensitive to potassium or fiber and display discomfort after eating only a few chunks of bananas, while others are more tolerant. If you want to be on the safe side, try to limit consumption to a quarter of banana no more than twice a week, regardless of the size of your pet.
My dog ate a whole banana. What should I do?
First of all, dogs can be mischievous. The sweet smell of bananas can act as a magnet if your dog has a taste for sugar! Unfortunately, there is often a price to pay for their mischief.
The price when it comes to bananas could be constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially blockage if they ate the peel too. You need to monitor their behavior closely to figure out how to best help them.
How do I see a blockage?
Gut blockage occurs when Rex has eaten something he shouldn’t have. The typical symptoms tend to be vomiting, diarrhea, and tenderness around the stomach area. You can press gently on your dog's stomach to determine if they are in pain.
It’s an emergency, so if you’re worried about a potential blockage, you need to get to your vet as soon as possible.
Rex didn’t eat the peel. But he’s vomiting.
It’s a common side effect of too much potassium. Because dogs have a small digestive tract, they are more likely to be sick soon after eating bananas. Keep your dog hydrated with plenty of water. You can also prepare a chamomile or fresh ginger brew, which you can spoon-feed your dog to help with nausea.
The nausea episode should calm down fairly quickly after vomiting. However, if your dog doesn’t feel better after a few hours, you should get in touch with your vet.
Upset stomach after too much banana.
If your dog has not had a bowel movement in a couple of days, you can help them evacuate the stool with a stool softener or a laxative agent. Stay away from laxatives that are made for humans, as these can be harmful to your pet. However, you can use Psyllium powder twice a day, with the following dosages: 1 teaspoon for dogs 1 to 10 pounds, 2 teaspoons for 11 to 30 pounds, and 3 teaspoons for anything over 30 pounds.
For both diarrhea or constipation, you should keep your dog hydrated. Typically, diarrhea episodes disappear within 24 hours, but you can help your dog with boiled chicken and white rice to improve stool consistency.
How to give bananas to your dogs
As a treat, you can give banana pieces once or twice a week to your dog and make it part of their playing routine.
Using a fillable Kong, you can combine pieces of a ripe banana with a scoop of xylitol-free peanut butter and a slice of mild cheese in a blender. Spread then the smooth paste over the toy.
If you’re making an ice cream treat for your dog, you can blend yogurt, a little peanut butter, a few strawberries and pieces of banana before freezing the mixture.
Hopefully, you can feel more confident about giving bananas to your dog.
Because bananas are a yummy treat, there’s nothing wrong with letting your dog eat some pieces occasionally. But you need to make sure they eat bananas in moderation only to avoid any health complications.
Banana peels are a no-no, so get those in the bin as soon as you’ve eaten the fruit!
If any complication arises, make sure you can identify the risk rapidly to keep your pet safe.
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