Can Dogs Eat Plantains?
Plantains are part of the same family as the banana, which is why they look so similar and have so many similarities. But plantains also have some major differences, and these apply to your dog.
In general, plantains are perfectly healthy to feed to your dog. They don’t contain anything toxic and are 100% safe. However, prolonged feeding of plantains to your dog could have some strange side effects.
What Happens if My Dog Eats Plantains?
Feeding your dog a snack of plantains will not harm it. Plantains actually contain many vital nutrients and are composed mostly of carbohydrates and protein. Plantains also contain amino acids that are healthy for dogs.
Of course, plantains can’t be an entire meal. But if your dog gobbles up a bunch of plantains by accident, nothing bad will happen. Plantains can be a healthy snack but should never be considered a replacement for a meal.
Plantains contain very low levels of fat and many vitamins and minerals that have health benefits for dogs. The one bad thing you need to know about plantains is that they do contain a fair amount of natural sugar.
For this reason, if you feed your dog too many plantains, it could result in a change to their blood sugar. This is especially worrisome for dogs that have a metabolic disorder. If your dog suffers from diabetes, eating plantains could cause a sudden spike in blood sugar and glucose levels.
A great way to lower the glycemic index of plantains and make them healthier for dogs that already have an issue with blood sugar is to boil them. This will reduce the possibility of your dog suffering from a spike in blood sugar levels.
A raw plantain has a glycemic index of 68. When boiled, that index drops to 39. Even for a dog with a pre-existing health condition, this is nothing to worry about. When it doubt, simply boil before serving.
What’s the Best Way to Prepare Plantain for a Dog?
First and foremost, you never want to serve a plantain raw to your dog because the levels of starch can make it difficult to digest. The best way to serve plantains to your dog is by cooking them.
Don’t worry about flavor when serving your dog plantains. It’s more about giving your dog a healthy snack that fits with its diet. You don’t want to upset your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, so bland plantains are always going to be best. Your dog definitely won’t care about the flavor as long as it has something good to eat.
As we already discussed, boiling is the ideal way to prepare plantains for dogs. Frying plantains is actually worse because fried plantains can give your dog an upset stomach.
Another way to prepare plantains is by mashing them into commercial dog food as a supplement to your pet’s diet. Start slowly by adding a small bit of plantain into your dog’s normal food. When your dog gets used to eating the mashed plantains, add more and more until you’re sitting at a comfortable level.
It’s important to understand that your dog might not even like plantains. If your dog starts eating less food while you’re adding plantains to their diet, it probably means they’re not too happy about the new flavoring.
Are Plantain Chips Safe for Dogs?
Boiled plantains are very healthy for dogs. They make an excellent snack. But plantain chips are the complete opposite. Plantains chips are salty and can prove hazardous to your dog’s health. You only ever want to feed your dog steamed or boiled plantains.
Commercial plantain chips often contain ingredients such as garlic and onion, and even cayenne pepper. Plantain chips are packed full of sodium and very high in fat, and neither of these things are healthy for canines.
You shouldn’t even offer your dog plantain chips. Not even once in a while as a sneaky snack. The levels of sodium in plantain chips make it not worth it. The last thing you want is to push your dog’s sodium intake over its limit.
To give you an example of just how unhealthy plantain chips are for dogs, each chip contains about 5 calories with 30% of those calories being derived from fat. For every 100 grams of chips, your dog is ingesting 30 grams of excess fat. In other words, your dog would be snacking on way too many empty calories. This kind of thing is just as bad for dogs (if not worse!) as it is for people.
Are Raw Plantains Poisonous?
Raw plantains are not poisonous at all. That said, raw or unripe plantains can prove difficult to digest, by both humans and dogs. This is especially true when consumed in large quantities. Eating raw plantains can give you and your dog an upset stomach. This is why you always boil or steam plantains before feeding them to your dog or even to yourself.
What Are the Health Benefits of Plantains for Dogs?
We know now that plantains are not poisonous or dangerous. We also know that plantains can be a healthy supplement in your dog’s diet. But what exactly are the health benefits of feeding plantains to dogs?
Plantains have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Plantains can help to soothe respiratory issues such as kennel cough. Plantains are also very high in fiber, meaning they are great for the gut health of your dog. Plantains can even minimize inflammation in the digestive system while boasting antiseptic properties to guard against common pathogens.
A steady diet of plantains can even help lessen symptoms brought on by chronic intestinal disease and chronic diarrhea. Plantains have been known to act as a lubricant for helping dogs to pass foreign objects that they’ve accidentally eaten, such as shoelaces or children’s toys.
Even puppies can benefit from plantains, as plantains contain potassium beneficial to heart health in puppies.