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My Dog Just Ate a Whole Banana Peel! What Should I Do?

If your dog ate some banana peel when you weren't looking, you might have a cause for concern. Veterinarian Joanna Woodnutt looks at what you can expect if this happened. You'll also find out what your next steps should be, including when to call your local vet.

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Last Updated: March 4, 2021 | 5 min read

Dog Chewing on Banana With Peel

This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate a banana peel and is reacting adversely, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

Does your dog go crazy for a banana? If so, it’s only a matter of time before they decide to eat the whole banana, including the peel. While peels aren’t toxic, they can cause other medical problems, including intestinal blockage.

The actual fruit itself is not toxic to dogs, and actually has some health benefits for your pup if fed in moderation. This means they are a safe treat to enjoy, but the peels need to be excluded.

If your pup manages to eat a whole banana while you aren’t looking, you’re probably wondering, ‘is it safe for a dog to eat banana peel?’ In this article, we will discuss exactly what you need to do if your pup decided to consume the entire banana, including the peel.

Are Banana Peels Toxic to Dogs?

Close Up of a Bunch of Bananas
Bananas are safe for dogs to eat, but the peels themselves are not.

Despite several theories about the potential benefits of banana peel, you should not feed banana peels to your dog. Some people suggest placing banana peel over a wart will cure it; others say that if you leave a peel on the floor, it will kill fleas. Note that neither of these involves feeding peels to your pup!

Just like apple cores, peels themselves are not toxic to dogs, but they are difficult to digest. This reason is that they contain a very concentrated amount of fiber. The outer skin of a banana can cause vomiting and may even cause an intestinal blockage. Thankfully this is rare but not worth the risk! Blockages in the stomach or intestines are severe and would require emergency surgery.

You should take extra care with small breeds and dogs that tend to gulp their food rather than chew it. These doggies can be more prone to blockages. Always peel a banana if you are going to offer some to your pup.

Another reason to avoid the skins of a banana is that they taste awful! Even monkeys tend to peel bananas, and you would peel your own, so there is no reason to offer Fido the peel. Having said that, we all know some of our canine friends are exceptional scavengers, so even with the best intentions, your dog might manage to eat a banana peel. Try to keep bananas well out of the reach of your pup.

My Dog Ate a Banana Peel, What Now?

Dog With a Full Banana in its Mouth
If your pup consumed an entire peel, your veterinarian should be your first phone call.

Despite your best efforts, if your canine companion does manage to eat a banana peel or a whole banana, you should call your veterinarian. This should be the first step you take before doing anything else. They’ll likely ask you to keep your dog at home and monitor them for sickness.

If you notice symptoms of any illness or stomach upset, you should phone your vet immediately. If they vomit up some or all of the peel, take a photo of it to show your veterinarian.

A little vomiting or diarrhea may occur due to the fiber content ‘shocking’ the system. However, more serious symptoms that could indicate a blockage in the guts include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced or absent stools
  • Straining to pass stools
  • Lethargy (tiredness)
  • Tummy pain: unusual stretching, ‘praying’ position, restlessness
  • Reduced or lack of appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet or have any other concerns, then you should contact your veterinarian straight away. Time is of the essence if you start noticing symptoms of an intestinal blockage from a peel.

Will Banana Peels Kill My Dog?

Chihuahua Eating Snack
The skin of a banana, if consumed, can cause intestinal blockage, which is life-threatening.

Yes, technically speaking, a peel could kill a dog as a result of intestinal blockage. While the actual fruit from a banana is a safe treat for dogs, the skins themselves are not, and should not be consumed by your canine companion.

An intestinal blockage is the most likely way that a banana’s skin could become fatal. Allergic reactions to most tropical fruits in canines are rare, but there is also the possibility of a severe allergic reaction that could be life-threatening.

As mentioned earlier, what kind of damage a peel can do to your dog’s stomach will depend on its size. A giant breed dog will have a much higher likelihood of passing a large peel, whereas small breeds run a higher risk of having an intestinal blockage.

Will Banana Peels Make My Dog Sick?

Human Hand Feeding Dog Banana
Most dogs won’t eat an actual peel due to the bitterness.

Bananas are non-toxic to canines. But the peels can cause intestinal blockages. Some dogs may also have a food allergy (although rare) which may cause other life-threatening conditions. These symptoms should be evaluated and treated by your veterinarian.

Symptoms of an allergy include itching and swelling around the face. Should this occur, treat it as an emergency and call your veterinarian.

As discussed above, the most worrying thing is the peel, which is bitter and not digestible. If your pup eats the skin of a banana, you need to contact your veterinarian. Depending on how much was eaten, your veterinarian may want to see your dog and perform additional tests.

What Happens at the Veterinarian?

Small Dog Getting Checked at the Veterinarian
Because of the risk of intestinal blockage, your veterinarian will likely run some tests.

If your veterinarian is concerned after your initial phone call, you’ll likely need to bring your pup in to their office to be seen. They will perform a clinical evaluation, and examine the risk posed by the ingested peel. You’ll need to know exactly how much was eaten, or as close as possible when you speak with your vet. Then your vet will determine which of the next steps to take.

Testing

If your vet has concerns, they will likely run some tests. This will likely include an X-Ray to see where the banana peel is and what the risk for blockage is. They may also perform an ultrasound, which is minimally invasive as a way to scan your pup’s organs. An endoscopy could also be performed in more serious cases. This is where a long, but flexible camera is inserted into your dog’s stomach to find the foreign body.

Inducing Vomiting

It’s important to note; Dog owners should not attempt to induce vomiting on their own at home. This should only be done by a licensed vet. Inducing vomiting on your own could cause more damage as the peel makes it’s way back up your dog’s esophageal tube. You’ll run the risk of your dog choking as the peel is brought back up. Let your veterinarian make this determination, and perform this step as necessary.

Surgical Removal

If the peel has moved into the small intestine and isn’t yet stuck, surgical removal is the next option. During the surgery, your veterinarian will be able to assess any additional damage or obstruction and remove the banana peel. The success of surgical removal will depend on what kind of damage or blockage may have occurred. If caught early, there’s usually a high chance of a full recovery.

Hospitalization

Depending on which direction your veterinarian took, your dog may be held overnight, or for a few days. This ensures they will be monitored closely by the veterinary staff, and allow them to react accordingly should your pup take a turn for the worse. The veterinary staff will also monitor for dehydration if your pup has vomited up too much liquid.

Final Thoughts

Bananas can be a safe and delicious treat to share with your canine friend. However, always peel a banana before offering some to your dog. If you want to be on the safe side, you can always consider feeding your pup other fruits that are well known to be safe. Some safe fruits include blueberries, papaya, and even kiwi.

While not toxic, peels are hard to digest and can cause problems for your dog’s guts. Be sure to store bananas well out of the reach of curious noses!

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