It can be awfully hard to enjoy eating a banana when your German Shepherd is so obviously begging for a bite! But then again, you don’t want to feed your GSD banana unless it is a safe treat for dogs.
Can German Shepherds eat bananas? We give you the inside scoop in this article.
Can German Shepherds Eat Bananas? The short and sweet answer to this question is “yes.” However, since bananas are a sweet treat and can be caloric, you don’t want to feed your German Shepherd too much banana. Luckily, your dog will get a lot more nutrition for the calories in a banana. Bananas are high in essential vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and potassium as well as essential dietary fiber.
Watch a German Shepherd Eat a Banana
If you are new to caring for a German Shepherd dog, you may understandably be wondering if German Shepherds even like bananas!
This short and sweet YouTube video of a German Shepherd eating a banana right out of the owner’s hand should clear up any questions you have.
In the video notes, the owner shares that their GSD is now six years old and still loves bananas for a treat.
Are Bananas Good for German Shepherds?
As long as you don’t feed bananas to your German Shepherd too often, a banana can be a very healthy treat food!
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) highlights, bananas are quite high in healthy dietary fiber, which can help ease any issues with diarrhea or constipation.
Healthline outlines the many essential vitamins and trace minerals that bananas can add to your dog’s diet:
- Vitamin B6.
- Vitamin C.
In addition, bananas have a surprising amount of protein (1.3 grams per medium-sized fruit) and very little fat (0.4 grams). This makes them a good treat alternative to processed dog treats (or human foods).
What Health Benefits Will a German Shepherd Get From Bananas?
Dogs Naturally Magazine reviews six of the most important health benefits that your GSD can derive from eating bananas as part of their regular treat rotation.
1. Bananas are great for the gastrointestinal tract
As we mentioned here earlier, bananas are packed with beneficial dietary fiber (prebiotics) that can feed the good bacteria (probiotics) in your dog’s gut, helping to regulate digestion and elimination.
2. Bananas promote strong, healthy bone development
Bananas can help keep calcium in your dog’s bones where it belongs while also promoting the development of strong, healthy bones.
3. Bananas are a muscle-strengthening food
An active dog breed like the German Shepherd needs muscle-feeding foods like bananas, which contain lots of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential trace mineral for muscles.
4. Bananas give your dog’s brain and heart a boost
Vitamin B6 is essential for supporting a healthy brain and heart function.
5. Bananas provide extra support for your dog’s immune system
The Vitamin C in bananas is just what the veterinarian ordered to help your GSD stay healthy and resist allergies, illness, and infection.
6. Bananas can support blood pressure health
Interestingly, bananas are now linked to blood pressure health due to their high Vitamin B6 content. This vitamin can lower high blood pressure and stabilize blood flow.
Is it Safe for a German Shepherd Puppy to Eat a Banana?
WebMD for Pets explains that it is important to take more care of what treat foods you feed a puppy, regardless of breed.
This is because your puppy’s entire digestive and gastrointestinal tract is still developing and will continue to develop throughout the first year of life.
Treat foods that an adult German Shepherd dog could eat and digest with ease may cause imbalance or upset in your GSD puppy’s G.I. tract or elimination.
WebMD states that treat foods should be natural and organic whenever possible and represent no more than five percent of your GSD puppy’s daily caloric intake.
As long as your German Shepherd puppy is getting 95 percent of their daily calories and nutrients from a complete and balanced puppy food diet, it is fine to offer the occasional small chunk of banana as a whole food treat.
Is There Any Part of the Banana a German Shepherd Shouldn’t Eat?
This is a great question and a smart one for any German Shepherd owner to ask.
As Modern Dog Magazine explains, the banana peel should always be removed before offering your dog a banana treat.
Banana peels are not exactly toxic for dogs, but they are not exactly healthy either. There are a number of health risks to be aware of that means the banana peel is best removed before your dog eats a banana.
Banana peel can cause a choking risk
For a young German Shepherd and especially a GSD puppy, gulping down a whole banana with the peel on or a whole unpeeled banana could very well cause a choking risk.
A banana peel (separated from the banana fruit) is a particular choking risk because of the multiple flaps on the peel that could get lodged in your dog’s throat.
Banana peel is very hard to digest
Banana peel is a very dense, somewhat bitter, and heavily fibrous outer cover that is extremely difficult for your dog’s digestive tract to break down and digest.
It is not uncommon for dogs to experience digestive upset, including diarrhea or constipation, after eating the banana peel.
Banana peel can cause G.I. tract blockage
Banana peel may be less likely to cause intestinal blockage in a fully-grown adult German Shepherd dog.
But in a GSD puppy whose digestive and G.I. tract is still developing, the risk of a blockage is all too real. Trying to pass a whole banana peel could place undue stress on your puppy’s still-developing intestines, colon, and bowel system.
How Often Can You Give Your German Shepherd a Banana Treat?
Vom GeliebtenHaus German Shepherds breeder and kennel explains how a GSD puppy typically grows during the first 12 months of life.
From a weight of just 9.2 pounds in the first month of life, a German Shepherd will grow to weigh 76 pounds and up in just 12 months. That is a lot of growing to do in such a short period of time!
This is exactly why it is important to carefully portion out treat foods so your GSD puppy gets the majority of calories and nutrients from their primary whole and complete puppy food diet.
For very young German Shepherd puppies, you may want to talk with your dog’s veterinarian about when it is safe and smart to add in some extra whole food treats like a banana.
While banana can be calming to a dog’s upset stomach in late puppyhood and adulthood, if you offer banana too early, it may have the opposite effect.
A small dog or puppy should only have a slice or two of banana at a time as a treat. However, a medium to large puppy or dog could potentially eat half of a small banana as a treat.
A large or giant size puppy or dog could possibly eat a small whole banana as a treat.
Adult German Shepherd dogs can take up to 10 percent of their daily calories and nutrient from treat foods (versus just five percent for puppies). But it is still vital to consider the nutrition in adult dog treats and plan the treat menu accordingly.
Fun Banana Recipes Your German Shepherd Will Love
Because the banana is best given to your German Shepherd dog in moderation, one great way to add banana in small, healthy doses to your dog’s regular treat rotation is to try out some great banana recipes.
Some of these recipes are also great options to help your uncomfortable GSD puppy through teething by freezing banana. This will help ease gum and tooth pain for your puppy.
Before making any recipes that contain banana, consider whether the recipes call for any ingredients that may trigger sensitive stomach or food allergies.
German Shepherds are known to be more likely to develop both sensitive stomach and food intolerances or allergies, so sticking to pure, whole food ingredients that are non-dairy, gluten-free, and free of known irritants and allergens is a smart strategy.
Recipe 1: PB and B “Ice Cubes”
Combine one ripe banana with one TBSP peanut butter (check CAREFULLY to make sure the peanut butter doesn’t contain the poison xylitol!).
Mash up the banana and the peanut butter. Then press the mask into an ice cube tray and freeze. You can just pop out the “ice cubes” to offer your teething GSD puppy. They also make a great summer frozen treat for any age German Shepherd.
Recipe 2: Peanut Butter, Banana, and Rolled Oats
Combine one cup powdered rolled oats (or oat flakes), eight tablespoons xylitol-free peanut butter, and one medium ripe banana together.
Roll the dough into balls and use a spatula to press them into flattened circles on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Store in an airtight container or in the freezer.
Recipe 3: Diced Frozen Banana Rolled in Yogurt
This third recipe couldn’t be easier and is packed with beneficial prebiotics and probiotics.
Cut one ripe banana into bite-sized rounds. Roll each round in plain unsweetened nonfat Greek yogurt. Place each round in an ice cube tray or on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer to chill.
Take out the treats as needed for your teething GSD puppy or adult dog.
What If Your German Shepherd Eats Too Many Bananas?
Every dog owner has had that one panic-stricken moment of walking into the kitchen and catching their dog in the act of eating something they shouldn’t.
Since bananas are typically sold in bunches and many people leave the whole bunch on the counter or table as they ripen, every year owners discover their dogs have wolfed down a whole bunch of bananas only after the fact.
As well, German Shepherds are particularly smart and will easily recognize a favorite treat, whether it is a single banana or a whole bunch of bananas.
In your dog’s mind, if one banana is good, a whole bunch must be even better!
However, eating that much banana will likely have at least a small digestive backlash and you should watch your dog carefully for at least 24 to 48 hours and call your veterinarian for guidance.
Since bananas are loaded with sugar and starch, constipation is one potential side effect your dog might experience.
Another potentially more serious side effect to watch for is potassium poisoning, or hyperkalemia, as 2nd Chance points out.
If your German Shepherd already has kidney stones or elevated potassium levels for another reason or due to a medication, the risk increases.
For this reason, you should always call the veterinarian or the nearest urgent care center if your dog eats too many bananas and has a known issue with kidney function or elevated potassium levels.
The same holds true if your dog swallowed all of the banana peels along with the bananas and the stem portion of the bunch.
There is a very real risk of severe intestinal blockage when ingesting that much of the peel and stem of the bananas as well as the fruits.
Now that you have a great working knowledge of the potential dietary benefits of offering your German Shepherd bananas, you can add bananas into your dog’s regular treat rotation with confidence.
Remember, always start out very slow when offering any new food to your dog. Start with just one banana round and wait 48 hours to see how your dog reacts before offering more.