Part of the banana family, plantains are very similar-looking to the popular fruit and offer many health benefits. Plantains originate from Southeast Asia but they are commonly grown around the world now. Plantains have less sugar and a higher starch profile in comparison to a standard banana.
They’re composed of mostly complex carbohydrates, with a very small amount of protein. They’re a good source of amino acids and contain dietary fiber, as well as some anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
With such nutritional benefits for humans, you might find yourself asking the question “Can dogs eat plantains?”
Dogs can eat plantains as they are not toxic. Plantains are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index. Boiled or steamed plantains are more palatable due to the high starch content of raw plantains. The fibrous nature of plantains can aid digestive challenges in moderation but too much will cause issues.
How to prepare plantains for dogs
Due to the high starch content of plantains they must be cooked and are rarely consumed raw. It’s treated more like a potato than a fruit.
Although not dangerous, plantains should never be served to dogs raw or in large amounts. They’re high in fiber, which is a good thing, but too much can cause your pup to have an upset tummy.
The best way to serve plantains to your dog is boiled or steamed. And make sure they don’t have any added sugar. Avoid sharing fried plantains with your dog as this will add unnecessary calories. It’s probably best to keep the fried plantains for yourself, just enjoy them in moderation.
Health benefits of plantains for dogs
Plantains are nutrient-rich foods and contain many of the vitamins and minerals that dogs need. They also contain an insignificant amount of fat.
|Total Fat||0.4 g||0.3 g|
|Carbohydrates||32 g||22.8 g|
|Sugars||17.5 g||12.2 g|
|Fiber||1.7 g||2.6 g|
|Protein||1.3 g||1.1 g|
|Potassium||487 mg||358 mg|
|Magnesium||36 mg||27 mg|
|Vitamin C||18.4 mg||8.7 mg|
Because they’re a relatively bland food, plantains also make an excellent recovery meal if your dog has had an upset stomach. Simply steam and mash them for easy digestion.
Plantains and blood sugar
One thing to consider when giving a dog fruit is its sugar content and how it might affect their blood sugar. For most dogs, this shouldn’t be a concern. However, if your pup is diabetic, there could be quite an impact.
Resistant starch is starch that’s resistant to digestion. Plantains are high in resistant starches and therefore tend not to impact blood sugar levels as significantly as a banana would.
The glycemic index for uncooked plantains is approximately 40. Due to their low GI, plantains are likely to impact your dog’s blood sugar level more slowly. This will reduce the likelihood of an unnecessary spike in glucose levels.
Plantain serving suggestions
Plantains aren’t typically eaten raw since the amount of starch they contain makes them difficult to digest. Cooking them makes them much easier for your pup to enjoy. They may taste bland to you, but it’s likely your doggie won’t mind quite as much.
Boiling is much preferred to frying, which involves a lot of added fat that could cause an upset tummy. A good suggestion is to mix it in with his normal food, or with other table food like rice.
Start by adding just a little bit, and then slowly increase the amount. Let your dog make the call as to whether or not it’s a welcome addition. If he’s going to take notice it will likely be because of the texture of the plantains.
Don’t try to doctor the plantains up too much. Dogs don’t have a terribly sensitive palate, so it’s best to just keep things simple.
Should I give my dog plantains?
Since they aren’t harmful or toxic (and since they have documented health benefits) it’s perfectly fine to give your dog plantains. Just make sure you follow the recommendations above.
Cook them properly. Season them lightly. Introduce them slowly. And watch out for any potential side effects after you’ve introduced them, which is a good idea when adding any food to your dog’s diet. Stomach ache and loose stool would be signs that your dog was not tolerating the plantain well.
Can dogs eat plantain lilies?
It’s also worth noting that there’s another plant called the Plantain Lily, commonly referred to as a Hosta. The scientific name for this plant is Hosta plantaginea and it’s part of the Liliaceae family. This plant looks nothing like plantain or banana BUT it is toxic to dogs.
Be sure to check out our article about pet safe plants. If your dog happens to eat Plantain Lilly watch out for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. Be sure to contact your vet!