Bananas are relatively cheap and plentiful year-round. Chances are there’s a bunch sitting on your kitchen bench right now.
But bananas are more than just convenient.
This tropical fruit contains such a powerhouse of nutrients that bananas are often considered one of the original super foods — which makes them a great inclusion in your Boxer’s diet.
What Is In A Banana?
For both you and your dog, bananas offer a rich source of:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Dietary fiber
- Polyphenols like lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene
They also contain:
- Vitamin A
- Pantothenic acid
Benefits Of Bananas For Boxer Dogs
Bananas offer a multitude of benefits for your Boxer’s health. They can:
- combat swelling, irritation and inflammation
- protect against cancer, ageing and autoimmune disorders
- support bone formation in growing puppies and guard against calcium loss in adult dogs
- regulate blood pressure, protecting the heart
- maintain strong muscles, preventing cramps and soreness
- enhance brain function
- boost healing, repair and immunity
- promote gut health
- reduce bladder infection
- relieve diarrhea, vomiting, colitis or other stomach upset
Remarkably, bananas can help both diarrhea and its opposite, constipation.
By easing inflammation, they help protect against the development of chronic diseases like arthritis and ulcerative colitis.
Should Your Boxer Eat Banana Peels?
Banana peels are non-toxic for dogs.
However, they are very fibrous, which can run the risk of bowel obstruction.
Being a medium to large dog, if your Boxer accidentally gulps a small piece of banana skin, it’ll most likely pass without any problems.
But don’t feed the skins on purpose.
How Much Banana Can A Boxer Dog Eat?
Most dog sites routinely advise you to feed only a few slices of banana or perhaps, at most, one banana a day. It contains sugar, they warn!
Mind you, the same sites recommend feeding highly processed kibble products.
In reality, Boxers can happily eat whole meals of banana as part of a raw diet based on the principles of rotational monofeeding.
The diet of gray wolves in Northeastern Minnesota is made up of as much as 80% berries for a whole month at the height of Summer, so a meal of banana here and there is well within the range of natural eating patterns for dogs.
(There are some guidelines on how best to feed banana to your Boxer. More on that below.)
Are There Any Cons To Feeding Banana To Boxer Dogs?
Hyperkalaemia (too much potassium in the blood) is routinely listed as a reason not to feed too much banana. This is surely a purely hypothetical risk. The truth is that when feeding potassium contained within whole foods like bananas, it’s next to impossible to overdose on this mineral — or any other. Your dog would have to consume a physically impossible quantity of bananas in order to create problems.
With 89 calories in 100g of banana, this yellow delight is one of the higher calorie fruits. Only fresh dates have more calories. But, as part of a proper raw diet and active lifestyle, this is nothing to worry about.
As always with new foods, try just a few slices the first time round. Wait a few days and observe to make sure it agrees with your dog.
One possible caution relates to dogs diagnosed with Addison’s or kidney disease.
If your Boxer has either of these conditions, it might be smart to avoid bananas on account of their potassium content. In Addison’s disease, potassium can build up in a dog’s system, so best not to add to it. Likewise, when kidney function is compromised, the body can have difficulty regulating potassium levels.
Why Feed Fruit To A Boxer Dog?
Dogs are “facultative” carnivores. This is a fancy way of saying their preferred food source is meat, but they can sustain themselves on secondary foods like fruit when prey is scarce.
Just as the aforementioned wolves do with the berries in Minnesota.
Technically bananas are a berry, so feeding them to your dog is not that far removed.
A Break From Meat Digestion
Incorporating fruit days into your Boxer’s diet not only provides nutritional benefits. It also gives your dog’s system a much-needed break from energy-intensive meat digestion.
Protein-heavy diets are natural for dogs, but dogs in the wild do not eat daily. They eat in tune with the environmental cycles of boom and bust — often more like three times a week.
Feeding meat daily to pet dogs places a constant demand on the kidneys. Australian vet Dr Ian Billinghurst is one who sings the praises of non-daily feeding of meat, as a way to prevent kidney disease later in life.
Fruit is so easy to digest that it provides benefits that approach the effect of fasting. If you’re not already aware of the enormous healing power of fasting for your dog, check it out.
In a nutshell, fruit is so fast-digesting that it gives the body more digestive rest. Freed up from the task of digestion, this allows more of your dog’s energy to be directed to cellular repair and regeneration.
Less Dietary Fat
Fruit days reduce the overall fat content of your Boxer’s diet. Bananas contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium.
Fat in normal amounts is an important part of a dog’s diet.
However, farmed meats are deliberately fattened for slaughter, making them a far cry from the lean game meats that dogs evolved eating.
The average domestic dog’s lifestyle is much more sedentary than his wild counterparts, yet we feed him every day and we feed him high fat meats.
Fruit meals allow you to return your dog’s fat intake to something closer to natural levels.
Containing 74 per cent water, bananas are ultra hydrating.
A well hydrated body is a healthy body. Fluids help flush the lymph vessels, which are like the body’s sewer system, filtering toxins and removing wastes from the tissues.
Proponents of an alkaline diet say fruits (and other plant foods) offer additional benefits in that the products of their digestion are alkaline, whereas the by-products of meat digestion are acidic.
The idea is this alkalinity helps to balance the acidity of metabolic waste.
How To Feed Bananas To Your Boxer
There are just two things to keep in mind when feeding bananas to your Boxer.
Bananas should be fed:
- Separately to meat meals
To maximize digestibility, feed bananas to your Boxer when they are much riper than we humans tend to prefer them.
As bananas ripen the cell walls break down, starches are converted to sugars and acids disappear.
Look for lots of brown spots. Let the banana get as ripe as possible without starting to go off.
To make bananas ripen faster, place them in a brown paper bag with an already ripe banana. This works because the bag captures the ethene (ethylene) gas released as fruit ripen, which in turn speeds up the ripening of nearby bananas.
Feed Bananas Separately To Meat
Fruit is in and out of your dog’s gut much faster than meat. Transit times for fruit can be as little as 6 hours, compared to 24-48 hours for meat to move through your dog’s digestive tract.
By feeding fruit separately to meat you optimize digestion of each food type.
Looking to nature as a guide, this is also how dogs consume fruit in the wild. Never do they sit down to a meal of fruit and meat. Always you’ll see wolves eat the two on entirely different days.
Other than that, just peel and feed!
Alternatively, you can feed bananas:
- sliced and hidden in puzzles or slow feeders
- mashed and stuffed in a kong
- dried – prepare yourself to avoid the preservatives and additives in store-bought dried fruit
- dehydrated as training treat
Rich in vitamins and minerals, bananas make a great choice of fruit to feed your Boxer.
They are not only an effective antidote for stomach upset, but an all-round fantastic addition to a healthy diet.
Plus, your dog will find them completely delicious.