When it comes to fresh fruit for dogs, a little goes a long way! Frozen bananas stuffed in a Kong toy provide energy and plenty of nutritional benefits, plus they help entertain teething pups. No wonder this fruit is not only popular with dog parents, but with dogs too.
Even though dogs can’t digest cellulose (the main substance in plant cell walls), they can digest fruits and vegetables. Even better, they enjoy eating them! There are plenty of phytonutrient antioxidants in fruits, and studies have demonstrated that dogs with cancer may need to raise their antioxidant levels.
Phytonutrients also reduce oxidative damage and slow down the effects of aging. A 2012 study published in Science Daily adds that bananas can be as beneficial as a sports drink for humans because they’re rich in potassium and other nutrients. In this article, we’ll take a look at the benefits of bananas for dogs!
Are Bananas Safe for Dogs?
Bananas are extremely nutritious, even if you walk on four legs. But like any other fruit or vegetable, a little goes a long way. When your furry best friend consumes a portion of a ripe banana for a snack, they’ll get the same benefits as humans. A ripe banana provides glucose, fructose, and sucrose, and it yields very little protein or fat. An average-sized banana will have approximately 103 calories. Bananas also are natural probiotics and help to regulate natural intestinal flora.
According to nutritionist Dr. Rob Hobson via Net Doctor, “The average (120 gram) banana contains 103 calories, 0.1g fat, 23.2g carbs, 20.7g total sugars, 1.7g fiber, and 1.4g protein.” Dr. Hobson explains that a banana also contains significant levels of micronutrients which he breaks down as the following:
Potassium: 396mg – 20 percent of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). ”This mineral is required for proper muscle and nerve function as well as helping to lower blood pressure and easing fatigue,” says Hobson.
- Magnesium: 32mg – 9 percent of your RDA. “Required to build healthy bones and help the body to deal with stress,” says Hobson. “Magnesium is also associated with healthy muscle and nerve function as well as helping the body to convert food into energy.”
- Thiamine (B1): 0.18mg – 16 percent of your RDA. “This vitamin is required for energy production in the body, digestion of carbohydrates and heart function,” says Hobson.
- Vitamin B6: 0.37mg – 27 percent of your RDA. “Required for energy production in the body and as well as maintaining a healthy immune and nervous system,” says Hobson.
- Folate (B9): 17 mcg – 8 percent of your RDA. “Prevents neural tube defects in unborn babies and is essential for a healthy immune system and preventing anemia,” says Hobson.
Vitamin C: 11mg – 14 percent of your RDA. “An antioxidant that helps to reduce the damage caused by excess free radicals in the body,” says Hobson. “Vitamin C is also essential for healthy skin, wound healing and immunity.”
Food For Thought
Fresh organic foods are sometimes forgotten in canine diets, even though fruits and vegetables are necessary for your pup’s health. A diet that is high in fresh, organic, and raw produce is key to providing optimal health for all dogs, whether they’re seniors or pups. There are over 1,300 different enzymes in your dog’s body, each with a different function—like digesting food or processing waste materials in blood. Enzymes are essential to life. All raw foods have enzymes, which are produced by living organisms.
“There is a connection between the strength of our immune system and our enzyme level. The greater the amount of enzyme reserves, the stronger our immune system, the healthier and stronger we will be,” adds Humbart Santillo, author of Food Enzymes: The Missing Link.
Enzymes are only found in raw food. This is because they are destroyed in food that is heated over 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.56°C). Any food that is heat processed, roasted, fried, or baked does not contain enzymes. This is why it’s necessary to feed all dogs a diet containing some raw and fresh fruits and vegetables.
By supplementing your dog’s diet with safe fruits like bananas and veggies, you’ll prevent nutrient deficiencies. This is very important because if your pooch has a nutrient deficiency, they may suffer from chronic health issues such as:
- Excessive shedding
- Stool eating
- Frequent vomiting
- Weight Loss
Are There Benefits to Eating Bananas?
Bananas are good for dogs because they contain lots of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, biotin, fiber and copper. Bananas can also be beneficial to dogs suffering from gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and nausea. Your pooch will find this age-old remedy yummy and helpful to their health.
Keep in mind that bananas have lots of sugar, so you should reserve them as an occasional treat or light snack. If your dog has these symptoms, they may benefit from some mashed-up banana to help ease their discomfort:
- Lack of appetite
- Abdominal pain
If your dog is not their usual self, consult with your veterinarian, especially if they’re suffering from abdominal pain. Abdominal pain symptoms can be mild or severe, and they may include:
- Abnormal postures with forelimbs stretched out and chest resting on the floor
- Lack of appetite
- Licking of lips or air to combat nausea and reflux
Can My Dog Eat Too Many Bananas?
Yes! If your furry best friend is suffering from a vitamin deficiency and is low on potassium or other nutrients, they may benefit from adding bananas to their diet. With that said, if you give bananas to your smaller dog breed every day, you may put them at risk for over-consuming calories and sugar.
Too much of anything isn’t good. Keep in mind that the banana peel should get tossed out before you give a banana to your furry friend.
Many dog parents think that their dogs benefit only from meat, but dogs benefit from fruit and veggies as well.
While veggies and fruit may not be considered essential for dogs, they’re good for their well-being and may help prevent cancer, autoimmune diseases, metabolic issues, and cardiovascular problems. They also may help prevent cognitive decline in senior dogs—phytonutrients from fruits and veggies slow down oxidative damage and help fight aging.
How to Feed My Dog Bananas?
Studies have demonstrated that dogs with lots of fiber in their diet have improved gut microbiome diversity when compared to dogs that eating meat-only diets. If you puree veggies and fruits like bananas for your dogs, it can help their digestion. Add the puree to their meals, scoop in a bowl for a midday snack, or you can even freeze it to make a lasting treat.