Part of the banana family, plantains are very similar-looking to the popular fruit and offer many health benefits. They’re composed of mostly carbohydrates, with a 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. Plantains should not be served to your dog raw due to their high glycemic index. Boiled or steamed plantains have reduced sugar content and therefore are a better option. Due to the high sugar content plantains should be served in moderation.
How to prepare plantains for dogs
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.
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.
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.
Cooking plantains reduce their glycemic index, one reason not to serve them raw, so they’ll enter your dog’s bloodstream more slowly. This will prevent an unnecessary spike in glucose levels.
For example, an uncooked plantain scores a 68. That same fruit, once boiled, drops to 39. This is why it’s so important to cook the plantain. Even a dog with preexisting health conditions can safely be fed cooked plantains.
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.
It’s also worth noting that there’s another plant called the plantains lily. This plant looks nothing like a banana (more like lavender, with no fruit being produced) and is highly toxic to dogs.