Americans eat a lot of bananas. In 2018, each American ate around 14 pounds of bananas on average. Considering four bananas weigh about one pound, that’s over 50 bananas in one year. (Now that’s bananas!)
But can dogs eat bananas? They sure can! While they shouldn’t be eating any of that banana bread you’ve been making recently, fresh bananas are both nutritious and delicious for dogs.
We spoke with two veterinarians to give you the full story on feeding dogs bananas. Our guide will explain the nutritional benefits of bananas and how to introduce them into your dog’s diet. So if you’re ready to learn all about bananas, read on!
Benefits of Bananas for Dogs
Dogs can eat bananas, but are bananas good for dogs? Yes, they are! While the nutrients in a banana are actually more beneficial to humans than dogs, according to Jerry Klein, DVM, chief veterinary officer of the American Kennel Club, bananas are a tasty and nutritious treat for our pups.
Dr. Albert Ahn, DVM, strategic advisor for MYOS Pet in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey, agrees, saying bananas are a healthy treat as part of a complete and balanced diet.
“They are a great source of magnesium, potassium, biotin, vitamin B6 and fiber,” says Dr. Ahn. “Potassium is important for your dog’s heart, kidneys, muscles and digestion. Magnesium is a critical player in energy metabolism. Fiber, which is a necessary component in your dog’s diet, helps to maintain proper digestion and a healthy digestive tract.”
Be Careful When Feeding Your Dog Bananas
Bananas can be a yummy, healthy treat for pups if fed to them properly. Read on to learn more about the right and wrong ways to feed your dog bananas.
Can Dogs Eat Green Bananas?
While green bananas are good for humans, they’re not so great for dogs. That’s because your pup’s gastrointestinal tract may have a hard time digesting them, says Dr. Klein.
So before you try feeding a banana to your dog, give those bananas time to ripen up a bit.
Can Dogs Eat Ripe Bananas?
Not only can dogs eat ripe bananas, Dr. Ahn says they’re a great substitute for peanut butter in food toys. Just mash ‘em up!
Need some suggestions for food toys? Here’s a few we like.
Can Dogs Eat Frozen Bananas?
Much like humans, some dogs just don’t like the taste of bananas. And that’s OK! If your pup doesn’t like bananas, try freezing small portions of a peeled banana, suggests Dr. Klein.
“It changes the texture and may be more fun for your dog as treat, especially on a hot, summer day,” he says.
Can Dogs Eat Banana Peels?
While banana peels aren’t toxic, they could cause an upset stomach or an obstruction because they’re not very digestible, says Dr. Ahn.
“Never give them the skin,” adds Dr. Klein. “The peel could also cause diarrhea, especially if the dog is not accustomed to bananas.”
Can Dogs Eat Banana Chips?
While banana chips are a yummy, crunchy snack for humans, be careful when feeding your dog banana chips.
“Some of them may contain preservatives,” says Dr. Ahn. “An alternative would be to make your own banana chips that are preservative free.” When baking banana chips for your dog, avoid adding sugar or salt to the recipe and opt for baking the chips instead of deep frying.
How to Feed Bananas to Your Dog
Before introducing any new food into your dog’s diet, always check with your veterinarian first. Bananas have natural sugar, and some dogs may have sugar limits, such as rapidly growing puppies, diabetic dogs or obese pups.
“Your veterinarian can help answer those questions properly for your individual dog,” Dr. Klein says.
But once you’ve gotten the OK from your vet, start small.
“Always start any new food in small amounts to see if the dog likes the treat and to see if there are any gastrointestinal complications afterwards, like diarrhea,” Dr. Klein says. “If signs persist over 24 hours, notify your veterinarian.”
If your dog is a fast eater, Dr. Ahn suggests mashing part of a soft banana into a food toy to make it a game. It “ultimately slows down how quickly it can be eaten,” he says.
Feed Your Dog Bananas in Moderation
As the saying goes, “Everything in moderation!”
Dr. Ahn suggests not giving more than half of a banana to a large dog per day. For small dogs, only feed them a couple of small slices each day to avoid any digestive upset. And as a rule of thumb, treats should not make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet.
Banana Treats for Dogs
Dogs and bananas are such a match made in heaven that you’ll find a lot of treats with banana mixed in. There are also dog food toppers with bananas that you can add on top of your dog's regular diet to boost nutrition.
Here are a few suggestions:
Banana Treats We Love
Dog Food Toppers With Bananas
Homemade Dog Treat Recipes With Bananas
If you want to get creative in the kitchen, try your hand at these DIY dog treats that feature bananas as an ingredient.