Come on … sing it out loud with me: “This is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!” Oh, Gwen Stefani, thanks to you I will forever spell bananas correctly. Okay, moving on …
Did you know bananas are one of the most popular and highly cultivated tropical fruits in the world? According to National Geographic, this popular fruit — botanically classified as a berry — account for roughly 75% of the tropical fruit trade and more than a hundred billion are eaten annually. They’re delicious, tummy-filling, and loaded with beneficial nutrients. While it’s clear us humans love them, now it’s time for the big question: Can dogs eat bananas?
Short answer: Yes, in moderation.
A Look At Bananas’ Nutritional Value
When feeding bananas to your pooch, moderation is key and a little goes a long way. According to veterinarians, a good rule of thumb is to give your dog a 1/4″ banana slice for every 10 pounds of body weight per day. So, you probably won’t be feeding your pup an entire banana. But, to keep things simple, let’s take a look at the nutritional facts for 1 medium banana.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA):
- Calories – 105
- Carbs – 27g
- Sugar – 14g
- Fiber – 3.1g
- Protein – 1g
- Fat – 0.4g
- Calcium – 5.9mg
- Potassium – 422mg
- Magnesium – 32mg
- Iron – 0.307mg
- Zinc – 0.177mg
- Vitamin C – 10.3mg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.433mg
- Vitamin A – 3.54µg
- Folate – 23.6µg
Summary: Bananas are chock full of potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6!
The Health Benefits Of Bananas
- Healthy Digestion – Bananas are a great source of dietary fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion and relieve gastrointestinal problems.
- Strong Immune System – Bananas are high in antioxidants that help fight against free-radicals in the body, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells. If there are too many free radicals in the body, it can damage your dog’s DNA and lead to chronic disease. Experts link free radicals to various illnesses, including cancer.
- Soothes Your Dog’s Nervous System & Benefits Mental Health – Bananas contain Vitamin B6, which is one of the B vitamins that benefit the central nervous system.
- Heart Health – Low levels of potassium and magnesium can lead to heart arrhythmias, weaker heart muscle contractions, and low blood pressure. Bananas are a good source of both minerals.
- Bone Health – The magnesium in bananas helps promote bone health! That’s because magnesium helps the body to absorb and retain calcium (the building block for bone growth and regeneration).
- Muscular Function – After an intense workout, athletes often reach for bananas as a way to soothe their sore muscles and regulate muscle contraction. That’s thanks to the magnesium … and it plays a large role in canine muscles too. Every time your dog moves a muscle, magnesium facilitates the transfer of energy. It helps your pup’s muscles contract and relax, as well as recover and regenerate.
What About The Peel?
Bananas may make for a great puppy snack, but the peels are another story. While the peels aren’t necessarily toxic to dogs, they are hard for our canine companions to digest, may cause a blockage, and are a choking hazard.
Moderation Is Key
Given the high amount of natural sugar, your dog shouldn’t indulge in too many banana bites in one sitting. Plus, while the fiber content in this bright yellow fruit is great for dogs in moderation, overdoing it could cause tummy upset and lead to constipation.
As I mentioned above, a good rule of thumb is a 1/4″ banana slice for every 10 pounds of body weight per day.
How To Feed Bananas To Your Pooch
There are a lot of ways you can give bananas to your pup as a special treat! Some ideas:
- Simply slice and feed! My parents’ dog Pippa LOVES eating little pieces of ripe banana. In fact, she looks forward to a tiny nibble each morning.
- Does your pooch like frozen treats? In the hot summer months, you can simply put banana slices into the freezer and toss one to your pooch for a yummy way to beat the heat.
- Here’s another frozen variation: Simply mix together one mashed banana, a 1/2 cup of coconut oil, and a 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger. Freeze in a small silicone mold until set and then let your dog enjoy! Note: I know that sounds like a lot of coconut oil, but these make a lot of little treats. Plus, since I’ve got little dogs, I break my bones in half to create an even smaller serving.
- Mash a banana, add a little peanut or almond butter, spoon the mixture into a classic Kong toy, and pop it in the freezer!
- Add mashed banana to your homemade dog biscuit dough. It’s a great addition to baked goods and gives treats a naturally sweet flavor that dogs seem to love. Check out my latest treat recipes called Tropical Treasures:
- While you shouldn’t share your banana bread with your furry family member since it’s packed with sugar and other ingredients that aren’t great for canines, I have a recipe for a doggy-approved banana bread soft chew! Watch how easy this treat is to make and then get the written recipe HERE.