Plantains may look like bananas, but these two fruits are not the same. Their visual similarities can be attributed to the fact that they both came from the genus Musa.
Hence, it’s also easy to assume that plantains are totally fine for our canine companions just like bananas. But, should you be worried if you accidentally gave your dog plantains, instead of bananas? Can dogs eat plantains?
What Is Plantain, Anyway?
Before we answer whether your dog can eat plantains or not, let’s first learn more about this banana-like fruit.
Plantains are plants that look like bananas in appearance. They are slightly larger than bananas and their skin is usually harder to peel out. Plantain is not recommended to be eaten raw by humans or animals, and it is cooked in different ways.
This is why these fruits are also called “vegetable bananas,” or “cooking bananas” since they should be cooked first. And they are also thick-skinned and very starchy, so much so, that they are often used more like a potato (or a vegetable) rather than a piece of fruit.
Plantains have massive popularity in the Caribbean and can be used in making a variety of sweets and savory dishes. They're quite versatile, as cooking in any phase of maturity is possible in either green, yellow, or black.
Plantains are often used in various dishes, including in Asian, African, and Caribbean cuisines. They are often utilized for cooking sweet recipes and curries.
Can Dogs Eat Plantains?
Yes, they can, but you should only give your dog plantains in moderation because they are rich in sugar and fiber – both of which can be unhealthy for dogs when consumed excessively. Also, you should avoid feeding your dog raw plantains since they are harder to digest, and they will most likely give your pup an upset stomach.
You should also avoid giving your pup cooked plantains that are added with ingredients that are toxic to dogs such as chocolates, salt, or other seasonings. You should also avoid giving your dog fried plantain.
As always, fried foods are unhealthy for dogs, and they can cause several health issues especially when eaten regularly. Some of the complications of eating too much fried foods include canine pancreatitis, obesity, and weight-related problems, such as diabetes.
Are Plantains Safe for Dogs?
Plantains are not toxic to dogs, so, your canine companion can safely eat these fruits in moderation. As mentioned earlier, you should avoid giving your dog raw plantain because they are harder to digest. Also, while plantains are not poisonous to dogs, they can also be problematic when taken excessively because of their high sugar and fiber content.
A dog’s digestive system is more sensitive to fiber. So, when you are giving him fiber-rich foods regularly, such as plantains, there’s a higher chance that your dog will experience stomach upset. And his gastrointestinal distress will be more serious if your dog ate a lot of fiber-rich raw plantains that are also more difficult to digest.
Additionally, since plantains are already packed full of sugar, you should avoid adding more sugar to them while cooking or after cooking (as toppings). Doing so can only increase your dog’s intake, and can put him at risk for diabetes and other weight-related issues. What’s more, if your pup already has blood sugar issues, it’s best to avoid giving him fruits, including plantains.
In general, you should not be afraid if your dog ate plantains because these fruits are not toxic to them. They are not like other fruits that can be fatal for dogs, such as grapes and raisins. In fact, their fiber content can help in easing digestive problems.
If your dog has an upset stomach, and you have cooked plantains with you. Simply mash the cooked plantain (better boiled or baked) or black ripe plantain and it will help him feel better faster. However, as mentioned earlier, you should limit the portions since eating too much plantain can also cause digestive upset in dogs.
Why Are Plantains Good for Dogs?
Plantains are not bad for dogs, so, it goes to show that they are good for our pups. While they are not that good to be part of your dog’s regular diet, they are still good enough to be given as an occasional treat because of their nutritional profile.
They may not be as popular as bananas, apples, and other healthy fruits, but plantains also contain a lot of vital nutrients. They are primarily composed of carbohydrates, which is typical for these food groups. Plantains also have some good amino acids and a small amount of healthy fats.
And they are also packed with vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C to help support a dog's immune system, calcium for bone and teeth health, as well as potassium and magnesium for heart, nerves, and muscular health.
What’s more, studies have also discovered that plantains have anti inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and can be used to treat coughs or more serious conditions such as kennel cough.
As mentioned earlier, plantains are also rich in dietary fiber, which is helpful in improving your dog’s digestive process. This amazing fruit has also been proven in minimizing digestive system inflammation, lessening the symptoms of chronic intestinal disease and diarrhea.
Plantains are also helpful as a lubricant, particularly in assisting dogs to pass some inappropriate objects that have been eaten such as shoelaces, or small toys. And they also have antiseptic properties that can help protect your dog against common food borne bacteria, such as Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus.
In addition to your dog’s complete and balanced diet, plantains can also provide your dog with the right amount of calories and help prevent mineral or vitamin deficiencies.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Plantains?
Plantains are not toxic both in their raw or cooked form. However, it’s not advisable to feed your dog raw plantains since they contain more starch and fiber, which can be harder for your dog’s stomach to digest. If you serve your dog raw plantains, he won’t eat them, anyway, and if he will, he will most likely have an upset stomach.
And not only that, but raw plantains also have a higher glycemic index. Cooking plantains either by boiling or baking can decrease their glycemic index.
This can help keep your dog’s blood sugar levels at a more appropriate level and prevent the spikes that can cause problems. Frying plantains is also not advisable since this method of cooking doesn’t only add fat to the fruit, but also sugar, which can only boost its glycemic index.
Can Dogs Eat Plantain Chips?
Yes, dogs can eat plantain chips as long as they don’t have salt and other seasonings. However, it’s also not advisable to give them to your dog because it is about 5 calories per chip. And 30% of those calories are from fat.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Plantains?
Fried foods are unhealthy for dogs. While a few bites occasionally won’t hurt your dog, it’s still not advisable because fried plantains and other fried foods contain too much unhealthy fat that can only predispose your dog to obesity and other weight-related problems.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Plantains Lily?
Plantain Lily (or hosta) is not the same as the plantain plants that bear fruit. And more importantly, plantain lily is toxic and dangerous to dogs. So, you should keep these plants away from your canine companion. And if you suspect that your dog ate plantain lily leaves, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Plantain Peel?
No, dogs should not eat plantain peel (skin or rind). You should also remove the skin of the plantains before you cook them. What’s more, plantain rind or peel has way too much fiber for your dog’s stomach to digest effectively. The rind can also be a choking hazard whether you have a small dog or a larger breed dog.
How Many Plantains Can Dogs Eat?
Moderation is the key to almost everything in a dog’s diet, and that includes plantains if you intend to serve him this fruit as a healthy and delicious treat. If you have a small breed dog or a puppy, you can give him a few slices of cooked plantain or some baked plantain chips once a week.
If you have a healthy adult dog, you can give him about half plantain according to his size, once or twice a week. If you have an older dog, you can give him half of a cooked or fully ripe plantain once a week.
Plantains can offer a lot of health benefits for our canine companions. So, they could be a great addition to your dog’s diet as an occasional treat. However, as mentioned earlier, you should only serve cooked plantains to your pup either by baking or steaming.
You should never give your dog raw plantain and fried plantain. Raw plantain is harder for dogs to digest, and it also has a higher glycemic index, which can be bad for dogs with pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes.
As expected, it is not advisable to give your dog fried plantain because it contains way too much unhealthy fats that can only put your dog at risk for obesity, heart disease, and other health problems. And you should not confuse plantain lilies with plantains. Plantain lily is not the same plant that bears fruit, and it is toxic for dogs.