One day you went to a grocery store to buy a few bananas. As you were unpacking at home, you noticed that you purchased larger ones than usual, but you completely ignored it. The first bite surprised you as it actually tasted pretty awful. Well, spoiler alert – you bought yourself a plantain!
Plantains are often mistaken for sweet, so-called ‘dessert bananas’ as they have banana-like features. But don’t be tricked by their looks because plantains are less sweet and starchier than bananas. In fact, they are unpalatable raw and usually need to be cooked or fried before serving.
After discovering this information, you searched for some plantain recipes and decided to fry them. Surprisingly, they turned out to be delicious! Even Archie wanted to try some, so he sneaked and grabbed a few plantain slices from the table.
Now, as an experienced dog parent, you know that dogs can eat a bunch of different veggies and fruits, but not every type is safe for them.
Therefore, Can Dogs Eat Plantains?
In this article, we will review whether it’s safe for your dog to eat plantains and are there any health benefits, so read along!
Can Dogs Eat Plantains?
The short answer here is – yes, dogs can eat plantains. Plantains (the ones that look like bananas) are not toxic for dogs and can even yield some health benefits. However, just like any other fruits, plantains should also be given in moderation or as an occasional treat.
Dogs are omnivores, and because of that, they can eat plant-based foods. However, people often forget that dogs’ stomach is primarily designed to consume and digest meat.
Yes, they can eat some veggies and fruits, but generally speaking, those should be given from time to time and in small doses. Other treats should make only 10% of their diet. Having said that, you can feed your dog plantains, but only once in a few days or as a special treat, to avoid any adverse effects.
Furthermore, there is one thing you should pay attention to. There is a plant called Plantain Lily that is, indeed, dangerous for dogs. It is also hazardous for cats and horses as well. The plant looks somewhat like lavender, grows in the ground, and doesn’t produce any fruit.
So, the difference between the terms is minimal, but these two plants don’t look alike in reality. If you assume your dog ate some plantain lilies, watch out for the symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritations, weakness, etc. It is vital to call your vet and take your dog to the clinic immediately if you think he ate some plantain lilies. Plantain lily can cause severe side effects and can lead to coma or even death.
Raw, Fried, Or Plantain Chips?
First and foremost, raw plantains contain a lot of dietary fiber, which is very difficult for humans to digest, let alone dogs. Too much dietary fiber can cause your dog to experience tummy issues, such as stomach pain, nausea, gas, diarrhea, and vomiting. So, raw plantain should never be part of your dog’s diet.
Moreover, you shouldn’t give your dog fried plantains. Even though this version has the most wonderful taste and smell, you should avoid giving it to your pup. That’s because the frying process includes additional fat or other ingredients, which may be harmful to your dog. Too much fat can cause inflammation of the pancreas, called pancreatitis.
As for plantain chips, they should also be avoided. Plantain chips contain a lot of sodium and fat content, which can be very dangerous for your pup. Too much sodium can cause sodium poisoning or bloat, which can even be lethal if not treated promptly. Another issue with plantain chips is that commercial versions often contain other seasonings like garlic, onion, or cayenne paper. Garlic and onion are incredibly toxic for dogs because they can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia.
Generally speaking, the best way to serve your dog plantains is to boil or steam them.
Plantains are a group of banana varieties (genus Musa) typical for many tropical areas. This fruit grows on the tree in clusters and has stages of color changing – from green and yellow to brown and black. It isn’t as sweet as the dessert variety (the banana that is mostly eaten in the United States and Europe) and contains more starch.
In addition, plantains are never eaten raw and are usually boiled, steamed, baked, grilled, or fried. They are typically cooked with sugar or coconut juice to give it that extra kick of flavor. Plantains can also be dried or refined into flour.
The fruits of plantains are much larger than common bananas, and they have originated in Southeast Asia. There are two main varieties of plantains: French and horn plantain. French plantain has big bunches and many fruits, while horn plantain has smaller bunches and fewer fruits.
Plantains are easy to digest and are rich with carbs, vitamins, and minerals. Let us take a look at the nutrition value of cooked plantains per 100 gr:
|Total Fat||0,2 grams|
|Total Carbohydrate||31 grams|
|Dietary fiber||2,3 grams|
Plantains also contain some vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B-6
Since plantains contain almost none fat and sodium, they are perfect for dogs. Of course, they need to be given with other high-quality dog food, and they only represent one part of a healthy and balanced diet.
The Benefits Of Plantains For Dogs
Here are some health benefits plantains can provide to your dog:
- Helps With Obesity: Since plantain is high in dietary fiber, it will keep your dog fuller for longer. That is great for dogs that are always hungry and have weight problems. Fiber may also help lower cholesterol levels.
- Better Digestion: Plantains are full of dietary fiber, which can help resolve digestive issues. Dietary fiber regulates bowel movements, prevents diarrhea and constipation.
- Contains Potassium: Potassium is necessary for the healthy function of enzymes, nerves, and muscles. Not only it helps the body maintain the proper fluid balance, but it is also vital for a healthy heart.
- Fights The Disease: Plantains have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and can help your dog fight different diseases. They will also soothe the inflammation quickly.
- Shiny Coat: Plantains can effectively help in treating skin diseases. They can provide a shinier coat, healthier skin, and fur.
Can Plantains Be Bad For Your Dog?
Besides stomach upset, there are not many side effects plantains can cause. High levels of dietary fiber present in plantains can cause stomach pain and sometimes diarrhea. That happens rarely and usually if a dog overeats on fiber.
However, if your dog is diabetic, you should consult your veterinarian first. Plantains may cause abrupt spikes in glucose or blood sugar levels that could endanger your dog’s health. The raw plantain’s glycemic index is really high, but it becomes almost two times lower once it is cooked. Since you will never serve raw plantains to your dog, it is highly unlikely plantains will cause spikes in the blood sugar levels.
The heat from the frying and baking can only produce more sugar and boost the glycemic index. That’s just one of the reasons why frying is not recommended when feeding plantains to your dog.
How To Prepare Plantain For Your Dog?
You should never give raw plantains to your dog. Always peel and cook the plantain before serving. You can also chop it into slices or mash it and mix it with other high-quality dog food. Don’t fry the plantains, and avoid baking if possible.
The best way to prepare the plantain for your dog is to:
- Boil it
- Steam it.
Moreover, it is crucial to make the plantains bland. Don’t use any seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic, onion, or sugar. Just cut it, boil it and let it cool off a bit.
In the end, you will need to introduce the plantains to your dog slowly. If your dog doesn’t like the smell and taste of plantains, don’t push it. Instead, try feeding him some other dog-friendly veggies and fruits.
How Many Plantains Can Your Dog Eat?
Plantains should be fed in small amounts and only once in a few days because they are high in dietary fiber. Dietary fibers need to be included in your dog’s diet because they are essential for healthy digestion.
However, if fed in higher dosages, plantains can cause gastrointestinal problems in canines such as stomach pain, nausea, gas, diarrhea, and vomiting. Consider feeding plantains 1-2 times per week, or occasionally as a special treat.
|Larger dogs:||½ of plantain, once or twice per week|
|Medium to small size dogs:||⅓ of plantain, once every week|
|Aging dogs:||2-3 slices of plantain, once in a while|