The Shih Tzu is just one of those dog breeds that looks almost too fancy to be real.
With their long, flowing, human-like hair and tiny size, the Shih Tzu’s nickname of “lion dog” almost seems like a poor fit – until you see how active these dogs can be!
However, the Shih Tzu is still a toy breed dog, which is the smallest officially recognized breed size. So whatever treats you feed your Shih Tzu need to be considered carefully.
In this article, we take a look at the nutritional benefits of banana for Shih Tzu dogs. Can Shih Tzus eat a banana? Is banana nourishing for Shih Tzus? Are there better ways to feed your Shih Tzu banana as a treat? Let’s find out!
Can Shih Tzu Eat Banana?
Happily, your Shih Tzu can definitely enjoy the occasional banana treat. Peeled bananas are safe for Shih Tzu dogs to eat and can be a healthy part of a well-rounded canine diet.
But there are some considerations to factor in before you add banana to your Shih Tzu’s diet. So let’s take a look at those now.
Watch a Shih Tzu Eating Banana
This sweet owner-made YouTube video gives you a good idea of how much most dogs – including Shih Tzus – love bananas.
You will notice that the owner carefully peeled the banana before offering a bite to her tiny Shih Tzu. This is important for reasons we will talk about here next.
Meet the Banana and Get a Nutritional Profile of This Fruit
According to Healthline, the banana is not just one of the most popular fruits in the world. It is also one of the most nourishing.
One medium-size ripe peeled banana (weight of 118 grams) contains about 105 calories, of which much of that is water and carbohydrates.
In addition to calorie count, the banana also contains healthy helpings of each of the following beneficial nutrients.
Dietary fiber (pectin)
Dietary fiber helps to maintain good gut and gastrointestinal health as well as regulate elimination.
Potassium is a vital electrolyte that helps maintain proper heart function and also supports proper kidney, blood vessel, and muscle function.
Vitamin B6, also called peroxide, is an important vitamin for helping the blood cells carry energy in the form of glucose to the other cells and tissues of the body.
B6 is also vital to help maintain overall nervous system health, regulate hormones, and boost the immune system response.
Vitamin C is best known as the wonder vitamin that helps boost immune system function and stave off illness and allergy symptoms. But Vitamin C is also great for helping to maintain cognitive good health in the later years of life.
And Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that can help move toxins out of the body and may guard against cancer and tumors.
Magnesium is an important trace mineral to do just about everything your dog’s body needs to do, from keeping digestion and elimination flowing smoothly to helping with muscle and nerve impulse function.
Magnesium also helps calcium get to the muscles and regulates the movement of other vital nutrients to the cells and tissues.
Copper is an essential trace mineral that helps your Shih Tzu’s body form collagen, the anti-aging protein in the skin, muscles, bones, and connective tissues.
Copper also has a pigment function in a dog’s coat and helps the body absorb and make use of iron and move toxins out of the body.
Protein is a staple nutrient that all companion canines need to grow up healthy and stay that way all throughout life.
The amino acids in protein are essential to just about every health and wellness goal – from building healthy muscles and tissues to maintaining a glossy coat and supporting healthy digestion.
How Much Banana Is Too Much for a Shih Tzu?
Because Shih Tzus are so small, they can easily become overweight. And while bananas are healthy, they are a dense fruit with high sugar content.
This makes it important to plan both the frequency and the quantity of the banana treats you offer to your Shih Tzu.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed profile, the Shih Tzu typically weighs between nine and 16 pounds and stands less than 11 inches when fully grown. And some of that weight is hair!
This handy canine calorie counter can help you get a general sense of the total calories your adult Shih Tzu should be consuming each day.
Let’s say your Shih Tzu weighs nine pounds and has a moderate or typical activity level. Then the maximum number of calories (for general purposes) per day would be around 362 calories.
Now let’s say your Shih Tzu weighs 16 pounds and has a moderate activity level. The maximum caloric intake daily should be around 558 calories.
Of course, you want to work with your dog’s veterinarian to get a much more exact idea of how many calories your dog should take in daily since that number can vary based on life stage, gender, age, activity level, and overall health.
But the general idea is for your dog to consume between 362 and 558 calories per day.
And since most of those calories should come from a complete and balanced toy breed dog food, you can start to see how carefully you will have to work bananas into the treat rotation to avoid causing your dog to gain weight.
Calculate How Many Banana Treat Calories Your Shih Tzu Consumes
According to Preventative Vet, you should make sure that at least 90 percent of your Shih Tzu’s daily diet, or caloric intake for that day, comes from treat foods.
The rest should come from complete and balanced dog food that is appropriate to a toy-sized dog breed like the Shih Tzu. (If you are a first-time Shih Tzu owner, your dog’s veterinarian can offer guidance about the best dog food to offer.)
From reading through the previous section here, you now know that based on your dog’s size, you should be aiming for anywhere from 362 to 558 calories per day (assuming your dog weighs between nine and 16 pounds).
This means that 90 percent of the calories you serve, or anywhere from 325 to 502 calories, should come from your dog’s staple food.
This doesn’t leave a huge margin for offering treat foods. Again, depending on your dog’s weight, treats should comprise just 36 to 56 calories per day.
The average banana contains 105 calories, which means you can never feed a whole banana without throwing off the balance of your dog’s daily complete and balanced nutrient intake.
A very large banana might contain nearly double that amount of calories, while a very small banana might be half that number of calories.
So you always have to adjust based on the 90 percent of calories that your Shih Tzu should be getting from their dog food and the number of calories coming from other treat foods you are also offering.
This is why it can be smart to offer banana as part of a weekly treat food rotation, so your dog gets the nutritional benefits without the risk of gaining too much weight from too many treats.
Know the Dangers of Feeding Banana to Your Shih Tzu
There are also some known risks of feeding a banana to your Shih Tzu, which we cover in this section.
Don’t ever offer the peel
The banana peel might not pose a significant health threat to a large dog breed. But to a tiny dog like the Shih Tzu, consuming any amount of banana peel could lead to a choking risk or an intestinal impaction.
Don’t let your dog eat too much banana
As we mentioned in the previous section here, if your Shih Tzu eats too much banana on top of their regular daily portion of dog food, there is a risk of weight gain as well as a nutritional imbalance.
Fun Dog-Friendly Banana Recipes to Try
In addition to feeding your Shih Tzu tasty raw plain banana rounds, you might want to try out these fun canine-friendly recipes.
Crunchy banana chips
Many health food stores sell banana chips, but you can also make your own by slicing the bananas very thinly and dip each one in un-sweetened fruit juice. This recipe from Snoot and Toebeans is perfect for dogs to enjoy.
Frozen banana treats
This yummy recipe from Life, Love, and Sugar makes a tasty banana peanut butter treat for your Shih Tzu.
Oatmeal banana dog biscuits
Since not all dogs tolerate peanut butter, this oatmeal banana dog biscuits recipe from Kitchen Concoctions offers another tasty option.
Now you know how to safely add banana to your Shih Tzu’s treat rotation.