While humans enjoy eating them, what about dogs? Can dogs eat plantains? To put it simply, yes plantains can be eaten by dogs.
Plantains are native to Southeast Asia but are also commonly grown and consumed in the Caribbean and Central America.
Plantains are a tropical, starchy fruit that are related to bananas and sometimes referred to as green bananas. There are many ways in which plantains can be eaten including fried, boiled, baked, and mashed.
Let’s explore how they can be enjoyed by our canine companions and how plantains can be included as part of their diet.
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Are plantains good for dogs?
Plantains are good for dogs and contain some beneficial qualities, but should not be fed to dogs if they are raw, and should not be fed in large quantities.
Plantains can have significant health benefits for dogs and can even help to relieve and treat some illnesses and diseases.
In humans, plantains have been used to treat medical ailments for hundreds of years including digestive problems, skin ailments, urinary problems and to soothe coughs.
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An array of vitamins and minerals can be found in plantains. Plantain contains:
Plays an important role within a dog’s body, helping with red blood cell production and brain function.
B6 can also help with cases of anemia (low red blood cells within the body). B6 deficiency symptoms include lethargy, inflammation and confusion.
Aids in muscle formation, maintains energy levels and supports the digestive tract. A deficiency in B7 may cause symptoms such as dry skin, alopecia, skin lesions and lethargy.
An important antioxidant that helps reduce potentially harmful free radicals within the body, supports the immune system, and reduces inflammation and cognitive aging.
A mineral that helps turn food into energy. Pretty much every function in the body that uses energy will need to be supported by magnesium.
A lack of magnesium can cause lethargy, muscle weakness and irregular heart rhythms.
Plays an important role within a dogs body by supporting heart function as well as aiding in muscle and nerve impulses.
Low potassium levels in dogs may cause symptoms such as weakness, lethargy and depression.
Helps support a dog’s digestive tract by converting to fatty acids, which in turn help to reduce harmful bacteria in the digestive system.
However, too much fiber can cause diarrhea, so plantains should be offered in small quantities and part of a wider, varied diet.
Can dogs eat plantain when they’re green or yellow?
Yes! Dogs can eat both yellow and green plantains. Plantains change color depending on their ripeness and this determines their sweetness.
Can dogs eat sweet plantains? Yes they can. The flavor of a yellow plantain is often sweeter which dogs may find more palatable.
If a plantain is green they are not yet ripe and tend to not be as sweet in flavor. Over time, the plantain will start to ripen and become yellow, resembling a banana.
When preparing plantains, the peel should always be removed and not fed to a dog. The peel contains too much fiber and will likely cause diarrhea.
Can dogs eat plantain chips?
Dogs can eat plantain chips, as long as they have been oven cooked. Ensure that the plantain chips do not contain any salt, sugars, garlic, onion or chili spices as these are toxic to dogs. The easiest way to offer plantain chips to your dog is to cook them yourself.
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Can dogs eat fried plantain?
No, dogs should not eat fried plantains. Fried foods contain way too much fat, and this could be detrimental to your dog’s overall health.
If the odd fried plantain chip is ingested by your dog it shouldn’t cause too much of an issue. However, continuous ingestion could cause gastro-intestinal upset and obesity.
How to prepare plantains for dogs to eat
Plantain should not be offered in its raw form and should always be cooked if it is to be added to a dog’s diet.
Boiled plantains – Plantains can be boiled before offering them to your dog. The plantain should be peeled and the skin should be discarded. They should be cut into small chunks and added to water.
Ripe plantains can be cooked in around 15 minutes, unripe takes around 25 minutes. Once cooked, they can be mashed and have a similar texture to mashed potato. Seasonings should not be added. A small spoonful of plantains can then be offered for your dog to enjoy.
Plantain chips – Plantain chips make a perfect alternative to treats and will be healthier with less additives if they are home prepared.
The plantain should be peeled and the skin should be discarded. It should then be cut into small discs, or if you want to get creative you could cut them into bone shapes!
Once in the desired shape, they should be placed on a baking tray and brushed with a light amount of oil. They can then be baked for 20 minutes and offered as treats to your dog.
Can dogs eat other types of plantain?
There are other types of plants found under the name of plantain. Whilst some are toxic and others are not, they still may not be ideal for your dog to ingest.
Plantain lily (Hosta) – Hosta plants can also be known as the Plantain Lily. The Plantain Lily is an easy-to-care-for garden perennial plant that often grows around ponds and in shaded areas.
The Plantain Lily does not bear plantain fruits and the plant is toxic to dogs. If the Plantain Lily has been ingested by your dog then seek veterinary attention immediately. Ingestion can cause:
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Abdominal pain
- Twisting of the intestines
Plantain weeds – Plantain weeds are found all over the world, as well as growing throughout America. They come in two different types, broadleaf plantain, and ribwort plantain.
The broadleaf plantain has large round leaves with slight ridges, whereas the ribwort plantain has long thin leaves that are also ribbed. Although plantain weeds are not toxic to dogs, they can contain high levels of fiber. Too much fiber can cause gastro-intestinal upset and diarrhea.
It is important to seek veterinary attention if your dog has ingested plantain weeds as they may have been treated with weed killer. It may be beneficial to bring the leaves from the site of the ingestion to the veterinary appointment.
Risks associated with plantain ingestion
Whilst plantains have many great benefits for dogs, they may also have their risks. Each dog is different and may react differently post ingestion of plantains.
Pancreatitis – Plantains can contain high levels of carbohydrates. A dog’s body converts carbohydrates into glucose to be used as energy. Excess glucose is then converted into fats and is stored around the dog’s body.
High levels of fat can lead to a condition called pancreatitis. The pancreas is an organ that creates digestive enzymes to help with the digestive process. Excess fats can cause the pancreas to become inflamed. Pancreatitis symptoms include:
- Pyrexia (increased temperature with fever like symptoms)
- Painful abdomen
If you suspect that your dog has pancreatitis or displays any of the above symptoms, seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.
Choking – If plantain is offered to a dog that is in large chunks, is offered in its raw form, or is given in excess amounts, then choking may occur.
Choking occurs when an item is stuck in a dog’s esophagus or trachea. The esophagus takes food from the mouth to the digestive tract, whereas the trachea leads to the lungs and is associated with breathing. If your dog shows signs of choking, seek veterinary help immediately.
There are alternative fruits and vegetables that can be offered to your dog instead of plantains. These offer the same nutrition and benefits as plantain and may be more palatable and are easier to prepare.
Sweet Potatoes are a good alternative to plantains. These can be roasted, boiled or made into chips. They are readily available and are low in calories and fats.
Carrots make a good alternative healthy and nutritious treat that can be served cooked or raw.
Butternut Squash is a great vegetable to offer and supports digestive health. Some studies suggest that butternut squash helps to prevent different types of cancers.
Can dogs eat plantains - final thoughts
Plantains have quite a number of health benefits and are a great addition to the diet of our canine friends! Plantains contain a cocktail of vitamins such as vitamin C, B6 and B7 as well as having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Plantain should be offered as part of a varied diet and should always be offered in moderation. If you’re concerned about your dog after they have eaten plantain or they show signs of vomiting and diarrhea, always seek veterinary attention.