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More often than not, plantains are mistaken for ‘dessert bananas’ because of their banana-like features. However, you should not be deceived by their appearance because plantains are a lot less sweet and are starchier than bananas. They are very nearly uneatable raw and require cooking or frying before serving. In this article we would be looking into the question “can dogs eat plantains?”.
There are so many plantain recipes available, all of them equally delicious. So much so in fact that your dog might be tempted to beg for a few slices.
Every experienced dog owner knows that dogs are capable of eating a wide range of vegetables and fruits but not all kinds are safe for them to consume. Plantains, however, are some of the few that are. Not only are they full of nutrients, but they are also sweet to eat.
Are uncooked plantains toxic to dogs?
Uncooked plantains are not necessarily toxic to dogs and should not be confused with another plant variety known as plantain lily which is in fact very toxic to dogs and dangerous. The plant looks almost like lavender and does not produce fruits at all.
Even though the difference between their names is minimal, the two plants actually look nothing alike. However, if you feel like your dog has eaten some plantain lilies, you should watch out for signs such as diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, or skin irritations. You should not hesitate to call your vet and get your dog to the clinic at once. Plantain lily could have serious side effects and result in coma or death.
But just because they aren’t toxic doesn’t mean you should serve large quantities of the raw plantain fruit to your dog. In their raw state, plants contain dietary fiber and anti-bacterial characteristics. While this fiber content may help to relieve them of digestive issues, it could also trigger certain gastrointestinal problems.
Can dogs eat plantains?
The answer to this question is yes, dogs can eat plantains without problems. Plantains are not toxic or dangerous for dogs and they even have several health benefits but just like other fruits and veggies, they should be served in small quantities or given as a treat once in a while.
Because they are omnivores, dogs can freely consume plant-based foods but people usually take for granted this fact and forget that the stomach of dogs is designed mainly to digest meat.
They are capable of eating some vegetables and fruits but generally, the vegetables and fruits should only be given to them once in a while and even then, in small doses. 10% of their diet can be made up of other treats. With this in mind, you can feed plantains to your dog only once every few days or as an occasional treat so as to prevent any harmful effects.
What do plantains contain?
Plantains are a variety of bananas (genus Musa) that are typically found in tropical areas. They are found growing in clusters on the tree and they change color periodically. Depending on the stage of ripeness, they change color from green or yellow to brown or black. Plantains are not as sweet as dessert bananas and they have a higher starch content.
Plus, plantains are not eaten raw and are usually either steamed, fried, baked, or grilled. Typically, they are prepared with either sugar or coconut juice so as to give it extra flavor. Plantains may also be dried and turned into flour.
Plantain fruits originated from Southeast Asia and are a lot larger than regular bananas. There are two major species of plantains: French plantain and Horn plantain. French plantains have bigger bunches and they have many fruits while the horned variety has bunches that are a lot smaller with fewer fruits.
Plantains are very easy to digest, they are also highly rich in carbs and nutrients. Plantains are perfect for dogs because they have low-fat content and sodium. They should not be served on their own and should be served with other highly nutritious dog food.
Benefits of giving dogs plantains
Unknown to most people, plantains are full of many essential vitamins. They are mainly composed of carbohydrates and 2 percent proteins. This food group has a bunch of amino acids even though they are not an actual protein group.
It has a good nutrient profile as most of the vitamins that canines need are fully present. The fat content is also negligible. One other thing to take into consideration is the sugar content which has a direct effect on your dog’s blood sugar level. Various fruits have different effects on the sugar level of dogs.
Effects on Blood Sugar
The effect of plantains on the blood sugar levels of dogs is one of the most important points to take into consideration when thinking of feeding dogs plantains. Dogs that do not have a metabolic disorder are not really at risk. Diabetic dogs, however, are at high risk. The problem lies majorly in if eating the plantains will lead to an immediate abrupt spike in the blood glucose levels.
Plantains are not usually eaten raw, they should be prepared either by boiling or baking because their glycemic index is reduced this way.
How to prepare plantains for dogs
Humans don’t usually eat plantains raw because they have a lot of starch that could cause indigestion. This is the same with dogs. Cooking it is a way to make it easier for the dog to enjoy. While cooking it, it’s important to prepare it bland because seasonings and salt are toxic for dogs. Remember that you are preparing the plantains for your dog and not for you.
For humans, plantains may taste bland if they don’t go through a lot of doctoring but dogs do not mind. When introducing new foods to your dog’s diet, it is important for you to take them one step at a time. You have to first ensure that your dog likes it before making it a common part of their diet.
The best way to prepare plantains in a way that’s agreeable with your dog’s constitution is to boil them. Frying is not advisable because it involves fat that could trigger an uncomfortable GI response. The recommended fat intake for an adult canine is 5 percent.
You can also mash the plantains into your dog’s regular food. The important thing is to remember to go slow and add only a little for the first time so you can tell if your dog likes it or not.
Unripe plantains are especially bland and your dog might not necessarily notice it in their diet. The only difference they might notice is the texture.
You do not need to go over the top when preparing plantains for your dog. They have simple palates and do not need extra seasoning in their food.
How can plantains be bad for dogs?
Plantains are one of the safest foods to feed to dogs as there is nothing toxic about them even though they have a high fiber and natural sugar content.
The digestive system of dogs is also very sensitive to fiber. Excess fiber could lead to diarrhea. It is important to try to limit the amount of fiber they consume daily.
If your canine has underlying issues with blood sugar, you should try to keep them away from plantains and other fruits because of their sugar content.
One other concern about the sugar present in plantains occurs if your dog has a diet that is already high in carbs and sugar because it could make them overweight and lead to diabetes or heart disease.
So yes, plantains are very good for dogs as long as they are prepared the right way. You should be sure to always peel them and never let your dog eat them raw. Even when cooking, use little or no salt and avoid using spices and sugar completely.
Your dog should consume plantains only in small quantities like once every few days. This is because of their high fiber content. Dogs need dietary fiber in their diet so it can help their digestion. However, high dosages may lead to gastrointestinal problems like nausea and pain.