You’re eating a banana and the puppy eyes are in full effect…
Can I please have some? is the silent request. And it’s a great question – can dogs eat bananas safely?
In small amounts, yes, it is safe for your dog to eat bananas. Like all fruits, they have a number of essential elements that are vital for a healthy and balanced diet. According to the American Kennel Club, veterinarians often recommend bananas as a healthy option for dogs. Bananas contain magnesium, fiber and potassium which are all key elements for a dog’s diet. However, the downside to bananas is that they have a high sugar content and should be given only in moderation.
There are so many factors to consider when feeding your pet a potentially new food and with lots of advice online, it can be difficult to know exactly what’s safe and what’s not for your dog. We discuss all this and more in further detail so that you can make the best decision for your pet.
It might be safe but there are some things you should consider first
First things first: you should always seek expert advice from a qualified vet or animal nutritionist if you are in doubt about feeding your dog anything that hasn’t been specially formulated for a dog. With that in mind, it’s commonly accepted that most dogs will be able to safely eat bananas without encountering adverse effects.
The fiber in bananas is great for dogs. It’s an essential element of a balanced diet and ensures that your dog is able to maximize the energy they get from food. Experts agree that when eating a commercial food diet, a dog’s diet benefits from added fiber. Fiber works its magic in the intestine and ensures that your pet is able to properly digest their food.
While bananas are a safe fruit for your pet, there are many fruits that are not. The most obvious toxic fruits are grapes and raisins, which can cause major distress to your pet. They can affect your dog’s normal kidney function and in some cases, can lead to serious illness.
For example, dogs should never be given cherries to eat as the seeds contain cyanide and if eaten in large quantities, can be fatal. It’s safe for a dog to eat apples but you should take care not to include any seeds as they can also cause gastrointestinal distress. Avocados also represent a serious threat to the health of your pet and should not be given to a dog to eat.
Read more about the types of food that are safe for your dog.
While bananas don’t pose any major threats, they should only be provided in moderation. While banana skins aren’t toxic or harmful, it’s best not to let your dog eat it as it might be difficult or uncomfortable to digest.
Rules of thumb to remember when it comes to dog food
If you want to add a little variety to your pet’s diet and you’ve tried some banana and it worked well, consider providing it to them in some different ways.
You could use a blender to liquify the banana and provide it as part of your dog’s meal. You could also freeze it and then give some peeled slices to your pet as a reward for good behavior or as an alternative to their usual snacks.
If you have been a dog owner for several years, you will have worked out by now exactly what your dog’s needs are and how to keep them happy and healthy.
However, as a new dog owner, it can be a frustrating and anxious process when you are trying to work out how much food they need.
It’s important to weigh up all the factors when deciding your dog’s diet. Think about their breed, their lifestyle, activity level and their body types. Use a body scoring system to identify what a correct weight would look like for your pet and if you’re in any doubt, consult with a qualified veterinary professional.
Healthy balanced diet tips for dogs
Let’s be honest, dog food from a tin can be quite boring and bland. However, your dog is never going to get bored of food and will always get excited whenever it’s feeding time. However, just like with humans, there are proven benefits of variety in diet.
You’ll never find one type of food that 100% fulfils your pet’s nutrition needs. It’s likely that you will have to supplement in some way.
Ensuring that your dog has access to a healthy and varied diet is the best way to take care of their nutritional needs.
It is theorized that dogs, like humans, can avoid allergies or sensitivities to certain types of food when they are exposed to a range of food sources. If your dog is a fussy eater, it’s likely that experimentation will be valuable in terms of preventing serious allergies and in finding what works best for mealtimes.
If you’re considering the best way to incorporate some new food (such as bananas) into your dog’s diet, consider preparing a week’s worth of snacks for your pet and giving them out once a day as a treat.
If they are enjoying the food, then it’s likely to be something that you can include on a more regular basis. If they turn up their nose at the food, then you’re going to have to keep trying, unfortunately!
Is a raw food diet better for my dog?
There is still no consensus on whether a raw food diet is better for a dog. While some breeds of dogs have been fed a raw food diet for years (think of sled dogs for example), it’s different for dogs kept as pets.
It’s been proposed by some veterinarians that on an evolutionary basis, adult dogs could benefit from eating raw meat, bones and some types of fruit and vegetables.
However, many leading experts disagree, arguing that the risks are too great. These could include harmful bacteria inside uncooked meat and the impact that this might have on humans living in close contact with their dog.
Further, commercial dog food has been specially formulated to ensure that there is an optimal balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals present in the food. A simple raw diet would have to be carefully managed to incorporate these elements.
There is plenty of research online on this topic and you can make the decision about what’s best for you and your dog (while taking your veterinary professional’s expert advice). But the fact that the debate is so heated is testament to the fact that there are multiple sources of food for your pet, and it’s fantastic that some food (like bananas) can be so cheaply provided to your pet.
So there we have it! Yes, it is safe for your dog to eat a banana. Caveats include testing it out in small quantities first to ensure that your dog can enjoy it and is interested in eating it. It’s important not to replace bananas as a part of your dog’s diet without consulting a qualified professional.
But overall, the benefits of new types of food which have been carefully researched and introduced to your pet’s mealtime are clear. You will contribute to your dog’s sense of culinary adventure while at the same time optimizing their diet.
After all, a well-fed and happy dog is what we all want!