Dogs are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. While they may have originated from wolves, which are true carnivores, dogs have evolved (probably from living with humans) to where they are now, omnivores. As a matter of fact, many vegetarian pet owners feed strictly vegetarian diets to their dogs as well, and they are very healthy.
So, technically, dogs can eat bananas. And they can. There is nothing toxic in the banana that would prevent you feeding this to your dog. HOWEVER, you need to be smart about the fruits you feed, how much you feed, and when you feed fruits.
When To Feed Fruits
The thing about bananas, and fruit in general, is the amount of sugar that they contain. Fruits require a certain digestive enzymes to break them down, and this enzyme is different from the one used to break down vegetables and meat. Because of this, if you feed fruits with vegetables and meats to your dog, they will not get fully digested. The sugary, undigested part sits in their digestive system and ends up aiding the growth of bad bacteria, which can lead to digestive and other health problems.
So the key to feeding fruits to your dog is when to feed it.
If you are feeding your dog a fruit before a meal, make it 1 hour before. This should give ample time for the fruit to get digested before the meat and vegetables.
If you are feeding after a meal, wait at least 2 hours after they have eaten. This way, the meat and vegetables have digested enough for the fruit to get digested properly.
What Fruits To Stay Away From:
- Avocado – a debated topic, but most people agree – just do not feed it
- Grapes and Raisins – do not feed
- Dehydrated fruits – these are just way too high in sugar content – feed fresh fruit instead.
How Much Fruit To Feed
While fruits have certain beneficial nutrients, they also have a lot of sugar, especially bananas, which is probably why dogs love bananas so much (apples and blueberries seem to be a close second favorite). So feeding fruits often really isn’t such a good idea. You should also feed an amount that is appropriate to the size of your dog. A teacup poodle should only get a small portion of fruit, while a mastiff can probably eat a whole piece of fruit. But again, you should only feed fruit occasionally, like a treat, once or twice a week at most.
What Type Of Fruit To Feed
Some fruit have more sugar than others, with bananas near the top of the list. Your dog really doesn’t need sugar, so just like sweets with your kids, fruits really should only be fed occasionally. And while bananas for dogs and most other fruits are safe to feed, you should take care to NOT FEED avocados, grapes, and raisins.
Some low sugar fruits include: apple, blackberry, blueberry, peach, raspberry, and strawberry.
High sugar fruits, which should be given very sparingly, include: banana, and melons (watermelon, honey dew, cantaloupe)
Other Healthy Dog Treat Options
While feeding your dog human food is good, especially in the raw form, if you are looking for a healthy treat, try bully sticks for dogs. These are pure protein chew sticks, unlike raw hides which have all the meat scraped off and have potential health problems for your dog. Sojos dog treats are another exception dog treats in all sorts of flavors – made only with the best ingredients and are grain-free as well.
Just like whole vegetables are difficult for dogs to digest, so are rinds from fruits. Many dogs do not like apples or kiwis with the rind on. Blueberry skins are also difficult to digest. There is nothing wrong with this, but sometimes it upsets people when they see the skins or rinds in the feces.