Can dogs eat bananas, peanut butter, grapes, or other kinds of human food? That question is asked more often than you might think. Some people only feed their pets dog food. That would seem to make a great deal of sense since most commercial dog foods have, or claim to have, all the nutritional elements every dog normally needs.
The First Mistake Pet Owners Sometimes Make
One problem that often arises is that many people, too many in fact, are of the opinion that their dogs must find it quite boring to have to eat the same food day in or day out – whether that food comes in a can or from a bag, especially the dry dog food that comes in a bag. Feeling sorry for their pet, they eventually begin to mix a little canned food in the dry stuff to liven things up. That usually does no harm, and a dog that has been on a steady diet of kibbles almost always seems to enjoy the change. A potential problem that can arise, and often does, is that your pooch may eventually start ignoring the dry food while happily eating only the canned food, except for those times when it is really hungry. Having to purchase two types of dog food, one dry and one canned, also adds to your grocery bill. You could probably stop purchasing the canned food, but you won’t for fear that your pet will stop eating and could starve to death.
The Second Mistake – Too Much of an OK Thing
Giving your pet an occasional treat shouldn’t be frowned up either. Most dogs love to get a Milk-Bone as an occasional treat. Somewhere along the line though, the word ‘occasional’ gets lost in the shuffle. Since you want your four-legged companion to be happy, why not start giving it Milk-Bone every day, or maybe a handful of small Milk-Bone biscuits with each of its meals. It won’t be long of course until Fido comes to not only expect its ration of Milk-Bone biscuits every day but also expect them to be there in a certain place and at a certain time. Dogs are like that. They can become very conscious of what is supposed to happen and at what time. Now, not only have you been purchasing dry and canned dog food and treats, but also your pooch has put you on a schedule.
Giving your canine companion too many treats too often can inevitably make it fat. Even if it looks forward to its daily or hourly treat with great anticipation and tail wagging, a fat dog is really not a happy dog. When a human begins to put on too much weight, thoughts sometimes turn to that lean, mean fighting machine inside that’s wondering what on earth happened. Dogs may not think the same thoughts, since they mostly tend to take things as they are, but it wouldn’t seem all that odd if your chubby pet sometimes would reminisce about the good old days when it could run like a gazelle instead of waddling around the house with its tail wagging in anticipation of its next treat.
The Next Step – Bananas and Other Human Foods
The next step up from treats is usually human food of one kind or another. This usually comes in the form of table scraps. Table scraps in the form of meats, potatoes, and a few vegetables won’t necessarily be harmful when given in small amounts, unless there is something mixed in that could be harmful to any canine. Certain raw vegetables like carrots and cauliflower are quite safe for dogs to eat. Carrots are actually good for dogs. There are in fact some canned dog foods that contain chopped or shredded carrots or other vegetables together with the meat.
The fact is we tend to humanize our pets. While there is nothing wrong with that, once you begin to treat your beloved pet like a regular member of the family and give it human food on occasion, it is time to take the trouble to find out what’s good for your dog and what isn’t, bearing in mind that what’s really best for your dog is dog food.
Things You Must Never Feed Your Dog
There are a number of ‘human’ foods that aren’t all that good for Fido. Several of those foods can in fact be highly toxic. Some of these harmful foods will take their toll over a long period, with one of the more common results being kidney failure. Other foods, like a few of those mentioned here, could prove to be lethal in a short time. Four of the worst foods you can feed your canine buddy are chocolate, grapes, onions, and certain nuts.
- Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which can make any canine very ill.
- It can be fun to watch a dog chase a grape around the floor, but don’t let it eat one. While a single grape may not make that much of a difference, different pets will have different tolerances against toxins. Grapes are definitely harmful to dogs however, and the same applies to raisins and figs.
- Onions and other members of the onion family, especially garlic, can be very toxic to dogs. Even onion salt that has been added to a stew or dish can cause significant harm to your canine pet, which is one good reason to avoid feeding you pet table scraps if you are in the habit of using onion or garlic salt in your cooking.
- While some types of nuts would be all right for any pet to eat, it would be best to avoid feeding nuts to your pet altogether, especially mixed nuts since some are highly toxic to dogs. Cashews, almonds, and peanuts are not considered toxic, but most nuts are still difficult for your pooch to digest and feeding your canine companion too many at once could cause digestive problems or intestinal distress. Macadamia nuts are definitely toxic, as are walnuts, pecans, and pistachios. Eating too many of any of these four types of nuts can cause pancreatitis and possibly neurological symptoms.
- Salted and sugary foods should also be kept away from your pet. Too much salt or sugar isn’t all that good for humans for that matter.
What You Can Safely Feed Your Dog
The list of human foods you can safely feed your canine pal is fortunately a long one. It is still advised that your pet be not placed on a steady diet of human food, although if you know what you’re doing, you can always prepare some tasty meals from leftover meats, pastas, and the like. Just be careful to avoid salts, sugar, and heavily spiced foods or anything containing onions or garlic.
- Pasta is something you can give to your pooch almost anytime. If you’ve cooked up too much spaghetti, mixing some with dog food is one way to dispose of it. Be careful about giving your pet pasta with sauce however since sauces sometimes contain sugar and salt, neither of which is good for any canine. Some sauces can be a bit too acidic and can give your pooch an upset stomach, and there is always the possibility of the presence of onion salt in the sauce. If you’re using a commercial sauce, read the label, or better yet stick to feeding your four-legged friend pasta without any sauce.
- Dogs are meat eaters, not fish eaters. That is probably because dogs in the wild hunt on land and not in the water. Dogs will eat fish. Unfortunately, some will gorge on spoiled fish, which could carry some consequences. Dogs will also eat cat food, especially if it contains tuna. Buying cat food for your dog doesn’t make a lot of sense, since it is formulated for cats and dogs require much more of it, making it an expensive choice. If however you regularly use tuna with your meals or use it to make sandwiches, don’t be afraid of giving your pet a few bites from time to time as a treat. The vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids in tuna are just as good for dogs as they are for people, and there is nothing in the flesh itself that is harmful.
- Speaking of getting rid of leftovers, can you feed a dog zucchini? Zucchini, like carrots, can actually be good for your dog, skin and all, but you might want to stick with the smaller, more tender pieces if you want your dog to be interested in them. As is the case with carrots, you could give your dog one or two small zucchinis every day as a treat when they’re in season, without fear of causing any harm.
- Many, but not all, fruits and berries are fine for any dog to eat, especially strawberries, blueberries, and apples. Cut the apples into small slices so that Fido won’t choke on a piece. Watermelons and cantaloupes are fine as well. If you give your dog a helping of fruit salad, make doubly sure there are no grapes mixed in. Pears are fine as long as the dog doesn’t eat any of the seeds. Pear seeds are toxic to dogs. It would be better to give your buddy a few pear slices than to give it a whole pear since a dog will likely take the time to spit out the seeds.
- Popcorn and pretzels are fine. It’s best of course if they’re unsalted. A little salt on a small pretzel isn’t going to do any harm, but too much salt can be harmful, so don’t get into the habit of sharing half a bag of salted pretzels with your dog while you’re watching TV – or half a bag of salted popcorn for that matter. Try to develop a taste for low-sodium snacks if you want to share some with your furry pet. Low-sodium snacks will be better for both you and your hound.
- While you want to be careful about feeding your pet processed foods, since you don’t always know what may be present in them, there is one processed food that most humans enjoy and is also a nice canine treat – peanut butter! The only problem with peanut butter is that some brands contain salt and sugar. If you think your pooch would like to try some peanut butter, and it probably would, stick to the natural variety that does not contain salt, sugar, or preservatives.
Can Dogs Eat Bananas?
This brings us back to the original question, the answer to which is yes. In fact, dogs can even eat banana peels if they should choose to do so. Some will and some won’t, but most dogs love the taste of banana. If you want to feed your pet a banana, it would be best to give it just a few slices at a time. Bananas are a nutritious food item, but a dog will at most absorb only a fraction of those nutrients and giving a hound too big a helping at once could cause diarrhea. Bananas are rich in dietary fiber pectin, which promotes bowel movements. Taken in small amounts, this can be very good for a pet that is having a bowel movement problem, but when taken in excess, it could prove to be too much of a good thing. Bananas are fine, but they are best given only as an occasional treat. Eating a few slices of banana every once in a while could actually make your furry pet a healthier one.
If there are too many good and bad foods to keep track of, the best thing to do would be to stick to dog food. If you would like to give your dog a treat that is something you like, your best bet would be a few slices of a carrot, a banana, or an apple. Any or all of those together with an occasional Milk-Bone can give your pet a little variety without overdoing it.