There has been confusion about two different plants sharing the same name ‘plantain’. While one is super beneficial to dogs (banana-like), the other is quite toxic to dogs. I did some research to understand the topic much better. Here is what I found.
Can dogs eat plantain? Yes, dogs can eat plantain. Plantain is actually a fruit and is nutritious to dogs when fed moderately steamed or boiled. Cooked plantain is a good source of dietary fiber and nutrients beneficial to dogs. However, Plantain chips are not safe for dogs. You should not feed plantain peels to dogs as they contain too much fiber that is hard for dogs to digest.
Plantain lily (Hosta plantaginea) is very toxic, allergic, and dangerous to dogs, a dog that has eaten plantain lily will suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, and depression.
According to ASPCA bananas and plantains are non-toxic to dogs. Below we dive into the differences between banana and plantain and also discuss the toxicity of plantain lily to dogs.
Consult your vet immediately when your dog eats plantain Lilly.
Can dogs Eat Plantain?
What is plantain
Plantain belongs to the banana family but has a different culinary application and flavor compared to the normal sweet yellow banana.
Plantain is tougher, larger, and has thick skin compared to bananas. They may either be dark brown, yellow, or green.
Plantains are normally tough starch loaded and not as sweet as bananas, they cannot also be eaten raw and need to be cooked.
Nutritional value of Plantains
The table below shows the nutritional value of 200g of cooked plantain.
|Total Omega-3 fatty acids
|Total Omega-6 fatty acids
|232 (971 kJ)
Benefits of feeding Plantain to dogs
Dogs need various minerals to maintain their health. Puppies need these minerals for growth and development. While some of these minerals can be supplemented in the event that a dog is suffering a deficiency.
Feeding the right amount of food to your dog can ensure that they are always replenished.
Feeding plantains to your dog will provide the following minerals and together with a balanced diet save your dog from suffering from the listed medical conditions.
Potassium, Sodium and Magnesium
These minerals are very important in the body of a dog as dogs need them for muscle contraction, cell signaling, and nerve impulse transmission. The daily minimal potassium supply for dogs should be 1g, 150g for magnesium, and 200mg for sodium according to Nap.edu
Deficiency in these minerals can lead to life-threatening conditions such as Hypokalemia.
Hypokalemia is a condition in dogs that is a result of low potassium in the dog’s blood. Hypokalemia can have a very adverse effect on the dog’s cell functioning, tissue, and organs especially if left untreated for a long time.
If you observe any signs of hypokalemia you should consult your vet immediately.
Hypokalemia affects three muscles severely, these are skeletal muscles, cardiac muscles, and neurological. While some dogs manifest symptoms there are dogs that do not show symptoms at all.
Hypokalemia can manifest itself suddenly while at the same time it can also take time before it manifests.
The following are some of the symptoms of a dog suffering from hypokalemia.
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Muscle pain
- Unusual gait
- Unwillingness to walk or move
- Difficulty breathing because of paralysis in respiratory muscles
- Increased thirst or urination
- Curving head down to the chest
It is therefore very important to make sure your dog has the recommended daily intake of potassium.
Overfeeding potassium can also lead to a condition known as hyperkalemia. This is a condition whereby the dog’s blood has a lot of potassium levels, both hyperkalemia and hypokalemia are associated with the kidney.
When dogs are not urinating as much as they should kidney does not remove excess potassium and when they are urinating more than usual they lose more potassium well aside from a potassium deficient diet.
Calcium and Phosphorus
Calcium and phosphorus are very important in the development of healthy and strong bones and teeth. The daily recommended calcium and phosphorus intake are 1g for calcium and 0.75 g for phosphorus.
Calcium deficiency leads to hyperparathyroidism, a condition that is associated with major bone loss, skeletal abnormalities, and pathological fractures.
Too much calcium on the other hand can also lead to skeletal abnormalities more so in large dog breeds.
Click here (opens in a PDF) to learn more about how much of each mineral that you should feed your dog each day to avoid any adverse health issues.
Other minerals present in plantains but in smaller percentages include copper, iron, and selenium which aid in the functioning of enzymes in the body of dogs.
Offering plantains to your dog provides them with vitamins A, C, and small amounts of vitamin B6 outlined in the table above.
Vitamin A is crucial to the dog’s immune system, vision, growth, fetal development for females, cellular differentiation, and transmembrane protein transfer.
Deficiency of vitamin A will cause skin lesions, corneal disorders, anorexia, ataxia, respiratory ailments, conjunctivitis, and increased susceptibility to infection.
While excessive vitamin A feeding will cause joint pain, dehydration, imbalance in bone remodeling processes, and central nervous system depression.
It is very rare to find a dog that is suffering from Vitamin A deficiency since a dog needs about 379 µg of vitamin A per day based on this source.
Vitamin B6 is also very important in the dog’s diet since it helps with gene activation, glucose generation, niacin synthesis, nervous system function, immune response; hormone regulation, and red blood cell function.
Deficiency signs include convulsions, Anorexia; muscle twitching, anemia in adult dogs, and weight loss in puppies.
While excess feeding of vitamin B 6 leads to muscle weakness, Impairment of motor control, dogs about 0.4 mg of this vitamin in their diet daily as shown here.
Fiber is the next nutrient that your dog will get from eating plantain.
Fiber is crucial in the digestion system of dogs, additionally, fiber may help some breeds of dogs keep their weight down.
A good diet for dogs contains about 2.5 – 4.5% of fiber, nonetheless, there are some dog foods that contain a higher fiber content hence making the dog feel fuller and this may help control the number of calories these dogs consume, This may help control weight gain.
There is a condition called hyperglycemia that arises as a result of too much sugar in the dog’s blood. Having a high-fiber diet may help your dog manage this condition.
However, too much fiber can lead to digestibility issues of some nutrients and even result in loose stools, reduced dog food palatability, and frequent defecation.
200 grams of plantain feed will provide about 4.6 grams.
Fats and Fatty Acids
Fats and fatty acids are also important in the health of all dogs. They serve as a source of energy, they serve as sources of fatty acids that can not be derived in the body, fatty acids are also crucial carriers for vitamins that are fat-soluble.
Plantains contain both omega 3 and 6, deficiency in omega 3 has been associated with vision problems and impaired learning ability especially for dogs that are being trained. Omega 6 has also been proven to be important in the physiologic function of dogs.
Dogs of all breeds need calories in their diets to replenish the energy stored as they do their doggy daily activities. Some dogs need more calories than others.
200 grams serving of plantain contains 232 (971 kJ) calories.
Dogs cannot survive without proteins in their diet. Dietary proteins supplies about 10 specific amino acids that dogs can not process on their own.
The following table is a guidance of the protein requirement of dogs in their different stages of life you can read more about the table here.
|PREGNANT/ NURSING DOGS
|(Weighing 12 lb, 33 lb at maturity)
|(Weighing 33 lb)
|(Weighing 33 lb with 6 puppies)
|69 g /158 g
|29 g/67 g
Plantain can serve as part of your dog’s source of protein among its treats but not as a sole source of protein since it only contains about 1.6 g of proteins per 200 grams of servings.
Nutritional differences between Plantain and Banana for dogs
The table below shows the nutritional differences between plantain and bananas about 100 grams.
Based on the table above plantains are far more nutritious than bananas.
How to feed Plantian to Dogs
The first step towards feeding your dog any fruit or plant-based food should look for fruits that have been organically grown.
- Wash the plantain thoroughly
- Peel it off
- Boil it until it is well cooked without adding anything
- Let it cool before offering it to your dog
- Remember too much is harmful to your dog
Now let us talk about the poisonous version of plantain the plantain lily.
Plantain lily (the poisonous Plantain)
Plantain Lillies are also called Hosta and are large-leaved garden plants that are found in most gardens due to their attractive nature. Once in a while, your dog may wander into your flower garden and munch on the leaves of hostas.
Hostas can be very toxic to dogs just like most Lillies. A dog that has eaten a hosta will end up suffering from causing diarrhea, vomiting, and depression.
You should call your vet immediately when your dog eats hosta.
Frequently Asked Question
Can dogs eat plantain lilies? NO, dogs cannot eat plantain lilies. Plantain lilies are very toxic to dogs and should be avoided at all costs. Dogs that eat plantain lilies will suffer from depression, vomiting, and diarrhea.
There are two different plants that share the name plantain, not knowing the right description for each can really confuse a dog owner. One is poisonous while the other offers a lot of benefits to dogs.
The similarities between good plantains and bananas should help a dog owner differentiate the two.
However, when your dog eats poisonous Lilly, you should consult your vet immediately.