Unlike many “breads,” banana bread isn’t really a bread. It’s more of a cake. Bananas are a great treat for dogs but can you give dogs banana bread? There’s not a yes or not answer to that question. It depends on the ingredients in the banana bread.
Banana Bread Nutrition
Bananas in general are a healthy snack for humans and for dogs. Although they do contain a lot of natural sugar, they make up for it by being an excellent prebiotic for the gastrointestinal system. (An average banana contains about 14.43 total grams of total sugars). They contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and several other beneficial plant compounds. These nutrients have a number of health benefits, such as for digestive and heart health.
Banana bread recipes usually contain flour, butter, and eggs, along with the bananas. Or, you can buy a ready-made mix and add bananas to it.
Banana bread typically contains about 66 percent carbohydrates, 29 percent fats, and 6 percent protein. You can expect one slice (60 grams) to have about 196 calories, 32.8 grams of carbs, 0.7 grams of fiber, 6.3 grams of fat, and 2.6 grams of protein.
Banana bread has modest amounts of most vitamins and minerals.
Compared to many other cakes, plain banana bread is relatively healthy. Eating bananas is better for you but if you like cake, banana bread doesn’t contain nearly the calories, sugar, or fat that most cakes do.
Can You Give Your Dog Banana Bread?
While bananas are good for dogs (except for the peel), and plain banana bread can be okay if you make it yourself, there can be some problems if you buy banana bread from the store or if a friend gives you some. That’s because you don’t know what’s in it.
Some banana bread can be made with xylitol, the sugar substitute, which is poisonous to dogs. Xylitol is also called “birch sugar” on some labels. Xylitol is often used in baked goods made for people with diabetes today.
Nuts are a frequent addition to banana bread and some nuts are toxic to dogs such as macadamia nuts. Even nuts that are not necessarily poisonous to dogs, such as pecans, can be a problem because they are very high in fat content. This can lead to gastrointestinal problems for your dog – especially if your dog eats a lot of them.
Some people also add raisins or currants to banana bread. Both raisins and currants are poisonous to dogs. Some dogs are extremely sensitive to raisins and currants so just a couple of these dried fruits can be toxic or even fatal.
Chocolate chips added to banana bread would also be harmful to your dog (though they are delicious). Anything chocolate is off limits to dogs! Dogs can’t metabolize the theobromine in chocolate effectively. It can lead to a rapid heart beat, vomiting, diarrhea, and an over-stimulated nervous system, among other problems. Chocolate also contains caffeine which worsens these symptoms.
Even some of the spices used in recipes by some people can be toxic to dogs. Always check the label to make sure the banana bread doesn’t contain nutmeg, for example, since nutmeg is a neurotoxin to dogs.
You should only give your dog banana bread if you know the ingredients it contains. Make sure it doesn’t contain anything that could be harmful to your dog. It’s best if you only let your dog have some plain banana bread if you make it yourself.
Most people don’t add onions or garlic or other odd ingredients to a sweet cake like banana bread but it (almost) goes without saying that you should never let your dog eat a food that contains these ingredients.
How Much Banana Bread Can Your Dog Eat?
As we mentioned, banana bread doesn’t contain as much sugar or fat as most cakes but it’s still more than dogs need on a regular basis.
If you want to share some banana bread with your dog, only let him have a small piece occasionally. Too much banana bread or other dessert food can lead to an upset stomach or worse. In some cases eating rich food is a recipe for pancreatitis in dogs.
If your dog eats a lot of banana bread it could trigger pancreatitis.
Symptoms of acute pancreatitis include:
- Severe lethargy
- Abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Severe dehydration
- Collapse and shock (sometimes)
How Often Can Dogs Eat Banana Bread?
It’s best not to let your dog eat banana bread very often. One small piece per week would be plenty.
Your dog would be better off eating some sliced banana, minus the peel. The peel is much harder to digest and could possibly lead to an obstruction.
There are many safe ways to share banana with your dog. Bananas make a good treat for dogs sliced; added to yogurt; or made into a pupsicle. Besides slicing them, you can also mash them or puree them. You can also dehydrate sliced bananas and give them to your dog as chews.
Compared to other cakes, banana bread doesn’t usually contain as much sugar, fat, or calories. It can be a relatively healthy dessert. However, before sharing any with your dog, make sure you know exactly what ingredients it contains. Chocolate, raisins, currants, certain nuts, xylitol, and some other ingredients could make banana bread harmful to your dog. If you want to share a small piece with your dog occasionally, make plain banana bread yourself.