Can Dogs Eat Green Bananas? Are Unripe Bananas Good For Dogs?

can dogs eat green bananas

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This content was reviewed and fact-checked by veterinarian Dr. Aukse Caraite, DVM.

Can dogs eat green bananas? While ripe bananas are a well-known treat for dogs, offering a range of health benefits and a sweet taste they often enjoy, the question of whether dogs can safely consume green or unripe bananas is less clear. While green bananas may offer certain nutritional benefits, such as lower sugar content and higher fiber in resistant starch, these features can make them less suitable for dogs, especially in larger quantities. However, in some cases and research may support the comsumption of green bananas in dogs. Let’s dive in!

What Are Green Bananas?

Green bananas are unripe versions of the yellow bananas we commonly enjoy. They are harvested before they fully ripen on the plant. At this stage, their peel is green, firm, and thicker than a ripe banana. The texture inside is also harder and less sweet than ripe bananas’ soft, sweet taste.

Green vs. Yellow Bananas — What’s The Difference?

Besides being different colors, green and yellow bananas differ nutritionally in several ways.

Green BananasYellow Bananas
Higher in resistant starchLower in resistant starch
Lower in sugarHigher in sugar
Lower on the glycemic index Higher on the glycemic index
Not as easily digestible More easily digestible
Higher in micronutrients Lower in micronutrients
Lower antioxidant properties Higher antioxidant properties
Source: Dr. W. Jean Dodds, DVM

Are Green Bananas Good For Dogs?

Research indicates that unripe bananas are beneficial. Green bananas have been used as a complementary medicine to treat conditions like GI problems, ulcers, infections, diabetes, diarrhea, colitis, blood sugar regulation and cancer.[1],[2],[3] Green bananas are rich in resistant starch and pectin, which can act as prebiotics and feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut.[4],[5] It can also increase the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which are important for digestive health.[6] Furthermore, the resistant starch and pectin in unripe bananas can help control blood sugar levels.

World-renowned veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker also highlights the benefits of unripe bananas in her book, The Forever Dog. Dr. Becker says green bananas are a simple, easy way to build gut health.

Green Bananas Components Toxicity Analysis In Dogs

Resistant starchCaution. Resistant starches (RS) are the most significant component of green bananas. As the name suggests, they are a type of carbohydrate that resists digestion in the small intestine. RS travels largely intact to the large intestine (colon). Once RS reaches the colon, it feeds the friendly bacteria in the intestine, positively affecting the gut bacteria balance. Because RS is not easily digested, it can help moderate blood sugar levels and increase the feeling of satiety, which helps with weight management. However, its indigestibility can also lead to digestive discomfort in dogs.
TanninsCaution. These are naturally occurring compounds found in many fruits, including green bananas. Tannins give green bananas their slightly bitter taste and astringent mouthfeel. They can decrease as the banana ripens, reducing the bitterness and making it sweeter. Tannins can also affect nutrient absorption and digestion.
WaterGenerally safe. As in all fruits, water is a significant component of green bananas, contributing to their weight and texture.
Dietary fiberCaution. Green bananas have a higher fiber content compared to ripe bananas. Fiber is crucial for digestive health, aiding in bowel regularity and helping to maintain a healthy gut. However, too much fiber can lead to digestive issues like bloating, gas, or constipation.
PectinGenerally safe. This is a type of fiber that decreases as the banana ripens. In green bananas, pectin helps maintain the firm structure of the fruit. As pectin breaks down, the banana becomes softer and sweeter.
Phytochemicals:Generally safe. Green bananas are rich in various phytochemicals, including antioxidants that can protect the body from damage by free radicals. The types and levels of phytochemicals can change as the banana matures.

Are Green Bananas Toxic to Dogs?

No, green bananas are not toxic to dogs. While the main individual components of green bananas are not inherently unsafe for dogs, the high resistant starch and fiber content can cause digestive issues, especially if fed in large quantities or to dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Green bananas contain proteins similar to those that cause allergic reactions to latex, potentially triggering a response in dogs with latex allergies. This is known as latex-fruit syndrome. Although latex allergies in dogs are rare, it’s important to keep this in mind.[7]

Green bananas contain tannins, which have been found to decrease appetite, slow growth rate, reduce nutrient absorption from food, and poorer digestion of protein in animals.[8]

Can Dogs Eat Green Bananas?

Yes, dogs can eat green bananas. Green bananas could provide some nutrients and benefits that ripe bananas don’t. However, they may not be the best choice due to their high resistant starch levels and fiber content. Dogs may also dislike the taste and texture of green bananas. It’s important to exercise caution and strict control over the quantity should you choose to feed green bananas to your dog. Sometimes, unripe bananas may be ideal for dogs with certain health conditions like diabetes and obesity.

6 out of 6 components in green bananas

are safe for dogs

NOTE: Always consult your vet before giving your dog new food, especially human foods. Foods that are safe for some dogs may not be suitable for yours due to factors like age, health, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.

Health Benefits of Bananas For Dogs

The exact nutrient profile of green bananas is not available. However, unripe bananas should contain similar nutrients as when they are ripe.

According to the USDA, 100 grams (or about 4 ounces) of bananas contain the following nutrients:

  • Total fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0%
  • Potassium: 450 mg
  • Dietary fiber: 2.6 g (higher in unripe bananas)
  • Starch: 5:38 g (higher in unripe bananas)
  • Sugars: 19g (lower in unripe bananas)
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Vitamin B-6: 0.367 mg
  • Copper: 0.078 mg
  • Vitamin C: 8.7 mg
  • Magnesium: 27 mg

Here are a few more reasons why green bananas may be good for dogs:

How to Safely Feed Bananas to Dogs

When feeding bananas to your dog, it’s best to follow a few simple guidelines to help keep them safe:

  • Remove the banana peel
  • Cut into small pieces
  • Give in moderation
  • Mash or slice to reduce the choking hazard
  • Treat bananas as an occasional treat, not a daily supplement. Once or twice a week at most
  • Monitor your dog and watch for signs of discomfort

Some of the ways you can safely feed green bananas to your dog include:

  • Mash the banana and add it as a meal topper
  • Stuff it into a Kong either frozen or unfrozen mashed banana
  • On a hot summer day, freeze the whole banana, peel it, and slice it
  • Mix it into a little peanut butter or other pet-friendly human foods
  • Bake up your own special at-home banana treat
  • Try dog treats with bananas like Banana Bite chips and Crunchy Dog banana treats are a great alternative

As with any new food, it’s recommended to start slowly and feed gradually to give the digestive system time to adjust. 

How Many Green Bananas Can Dogs Eat?

Treats should only constitute 10% of your dog’s diet, with the remaining 90% coming from well-balanced dog food. This guideline also applies to healthy treats like bananas.

Below, you’ll find general guidelines for safely portioning bananas based on your dog’s weight.

Dog SizeBanana ServingBreed Examples
Extra-small (2-15 lbs.)1-2 small sliecesShih Tzu, Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Maltese
Small (16-25 lbs.)1-2 small slicesBoston Terriers, Beagles, Dachshund
Medium (26-60 lbs.)Up to a quarter of a whole bananaBulldogs, Basset Hounds, Border Collies
Large (61-90 lbs.)Up to a third of a whole bananaGolden Retrievers, Pit Bulls, Boxers, Labrador Retrievers
Extra-large (91+ lbs.)Up to half of a whole bananaBullmastiffs, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Great Pyrenees

Possible Side Effects & Risks of Green Bananas In Dogs

The following symptoms may indicate a bad reaction to unripe bananas.

  • Discomfort and bloating
  • Gas
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

What Should I Do If My Dog Reacted Badly to Unripe Bananas?

If your dog reacts badly to a food that’s generally considered safe, like a green banana, you should first stop feeding them the food and remove their access to any more of it. Ensure they have access to fresh water to maintain hydration. It’s important to call your veterinarian if your dog is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or if you’re concerned about your dog’s condition.

Can’t reach your vet? Contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 or chat live with a veterinary professional via our online vet chat or video chat support (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Dogs showing worsening symptoms, such as blood in their vomit or stool, difficulty breathing, weakness, or collapse, should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Are Dogs Allergic to Unripe Bananas?

While not common, some dogs may have an allergic reaction to bananas. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include itching, swelling, hives, and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis, which is a medical emergency.

If you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction to any food, including bananas, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian. Your vet can provide appropriate advice and help you formulate a safe diet plan for your dog. We also recommend conducting an at-home dog allergy test to determine if your dog is sensitive or intolerant to certain foods.

Can Puppies Eat Green Bananas?

While green bananas aren’t toxic, they’re generally not recommended for puppies. This is because puppies have more sensitive digestive systems and are still developing their tolerance for various foods. They are often more prone to upset stomachs after eating new foods.

Safer Alternatives to Green Bananas For Dogs

Here’s a list of alternatives to unripe bananas that are safe and nutritious.

  • Ripe bananas
  • Apples (without seeds)
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Watermelon (without seeds)

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, ripe bananas are generally easier for dogs to digest due to their lower resistant starch and higher sugar content. They should still be given in moderation as a treat, not a diet staple.

Start with a small amount mixed with their regular food or as a separate treat. Monitor your dog closely for any signs of digestive distress. If any issues arise, discontinue feeding and consult a veterinarian.

Boiling green bananas can make them somewhat easier for dogs to digest, as the cooking process breaks down some resistant starches into simpler carbohydrates and softens the fiber, making it less likely to cause digestive upset. However, even boiled green bananas still contain higher amounts of resistant starch and fiber than ripe bananas, which can still potentially lead to digestive issues like gas or bloating in some dogs. If you offer your dog boiled green bananas, start with a very small amount to see how your dog reacts and monitor your dog closely. Consult your veterinarian before introducing boiled green bananas or any new food.

It’s considered overripe when the banana peel changes its color, develops brown spots, or turns completely black. When this happens, the banana has converted almost all the starch to sugar and thus has gotten as sweet as it can before it spoils. While humans can safely enjoy an overripe banana, we don’t advise feeding it to dogs. It’s mostly sugar, and it could upset your dog’s stomach. You should feed overripe bananas to diabetic dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Green Banana?

While green bananas can offer some beneficial nutrients for dogs, their high resistant starch content can make them difficult to digest. If you choose to feed your dog green bananas, it should be in very small quantities and not as a regular part of their diet. Always monitor your dog for any signs of digestive discomfort, and consult with your veterinarian if you’re considering making significant changes to your dog’s diet. In general, other, more easily digestible fruits and vegetables can provide similar or better health benefits without the potential risks associated with green bananas.

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