Can dogs eat potatoes? Your dog is begging for your potato, and you want to give him a treat. While it can be hard to say “no” to those puppy dog eyes, you also want to keep your dog safe.
But, when it comes to feeding table scraps to your beloved four-legged friend, the question often arises, “Can dogs eat potatoes?” If you are wondering what the long answer is, this article has all of the information you need to ensure your dog is safe anytime it’s around or eating potatoes!
Let’s begin by taking a closer look at what potatoes are and determine whether or not they are suitable for your dog to consume.
What Is a Potato?
What are potatoes? You likely know them and, hopefully, love them if you’re reading this. But what is a potato? And where did potatoes come from initially?
Potatoes are one of the most versatile veggies around, and they’re a prosperous source of vitamins and minerals. You can grow potatoes pretty much anywhere, but they’re typically grown in cooler seasons and climates. Potatoes come in all different sizes, shapes, colors, and textures.
A potato is a starchy tuberous crop (not to be confused with a root vegetable like a parsnip or radish) from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum. A tuber is just a fancy word for their underground stems. Tubers like potatoes contain all the nutrients to grow new plants and sprout new stems when conditions are right.
Wild potato species can be found throughout the Americas from the United States to southern Chile. And today, potatoes are number 5 when it comes to the world’s staple crops.
In the case of the humble potato, they are available in many varieties and colors including yellow, purple, red, pink, white, and sweetpotatoes. There are more than 100 varieties commercially produced in the United States, but they can be broadly classified into three groups: russet, red, and white.
When it comes to potatoes, there’s a whole lot to love. Potatoes are generally classified as starchy vegetables. Yet, they’re delicious — especially when roasted, fried, or mashed into smooth, buttery goodness. They’re versatile; you can bake them, boil them, stick them in a stew — they even taste great cold! Potatoes are used to make many popular foods like french fries, hash browns, potato chips, and vodka.
The most commonly eaten potato in America is the russet potato, widely available in supermarkets across the country. This type of potato has brown skin and white flesh that turns yellow or light pink when cooked. In addition, it’s known as a “mealy” potato, meaning it has a dry, crumbly texture when cooked by itself which is ideal for baking or mashing them into fluffy clouds.
Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Health Benefits
After establishing that potatoes are a staple for many cultures, it’s essential to address whether or not dogs can eat potatoes.
In short: yes! Cooked potatoes are an excellent source of carbohydrates and make a healthy, wholesome treat for your furry pal.
But there’s more to the story than just whether or not they can eat potatoes. So let’s take a look at what determines the healthy benefits of potatoes for dogs.
First, potatoes are not toxic for dogs, but it doesn’t mean you should feed them a potato in any form. While cooked potatoes are okay, providing your dog the option to eat raw potatoes is not safe.
Raw potatoes contain too much solanine for dogs to eat in a single serving. And the skin of the potato contains high amounts of oxalates, which can cause a health risk for your dog. Dogs that have eaten large quantities of potato skins have had to be hospitalized due to severe diarrhea and vomiting episodes.
Solanine is a type of glycoalkaloid poison found in many plants, including the nightshade plant family (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes). It causes vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes even death in dogs.
Oxalates also cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. According to the University of Michigan, oxalate “is a compound found in some foods, and it is also produced as a waste product by the body. It exits the body through the urine.”
When it comes to your pet, “current research indicates that urine high in calcium, citrates, or oxalates and is acidic predisposes a pet to developing calcium oxalate urinary crystals and stones.”
The only way to remove solanine from a potato is to cook it by boiling or baking it at high enough temperatures for long enough periods. If the potato is eaten raw or undercooked, it may cause gastrointestinal issues.
Dogs need protein to sustain their bodies and calcium and other nutrients found in animal products like meat, poultry, dairy products, and eggs.
Most of the calories in potatoes come from their carbohydrate content — mainly starch. And potatoes are one of the most starchy vegetable varieties. Starch is a complex carbohydrate that takes longer to digest than simple sugars like glucose or fructose found in table sugar or fruit, respectively.
Potatoes are low in calories and packed with essential vitamins (like vitamin B6), minerals (such as potassium and magnesium), and fiber. As mentioned, they’re also a source of carbohydrates: the body’s primary energy source. If you give your dog too many carbohydrates from foods like potatoes — which are typically prepared by boiling or baking — it could result in obesity or other health issues. So, in the end, potatoes can be beneficial as long as they aren’t over consumed.
In addition to being eaten whole (roasted, baked, boiled, or mashed), potatoes can be used as a snack for your dog as long as it’s in moderation. But, if you choose to add them to your dog’s diet, remember that they should only represent a maximum of 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Health Risks
We all know how much our dogs want to be the center of attention, and when you are preparing a meal, they tend to try and sneak tastes without us even noticing. Unfortunately, this sneaky nature can lead to serious health issues if you don’t prepare the food correctly or if your dog overeats certain foods.
There are times when your dog might want a bite of your dinner, but it’s always important to remember that the foods we eat are not always safe for them. So it’s always best if you look at what you are about to feed them before you give them anything.
Your dog will be happy to know that they can have potatoes as a treat; however, there could be adverse health effects if you don’t prepare them correctly or feed your dog too many.
Potatoes and other high-fiber vegetables like broccoli can cause digestive issues if given in excess or if your dog isn’t accustomed to eating them regularly.
When preparing potatoes for your dog, make sure they are fully cooked and free of any sprouts or green appearance before giving them any. Also, make sure to avoid adding any salt or spices and keep potato skins to a minimum since they can cause digestive issues if eaten in large quantities.
Like with any human food that you give your dog, moderation is the key to ensuring that it does not upset their stomach or cause other health problems. But, unfortunately, there are some side effects from giving your dog too many potatoes or not preparing them properly. For example, potatoes can sometimes cause an upset stomach or diarrhea in dogs. Luckily, these symptoms usually subside within 24 hours.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are a sweet and starchy vegetable packed with nutrients. This influx in nutrients means that dogs can benefit from eating sweet potatoes as a healthy snack or part of their balanced daily diet.
Overall, sweet potatoes are a healthy snack for your dog if you don’t mix them with unhealthy ingredients. For example, adding butter or brown sugar to the sweet potatoes will increase their fat and sugar content, and then it becomes something harmful for your dog.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese. And sweet potatoes contain more nutrients than white potatoes. The best part about sweet potatoes is that they’re low in fat, so you don’t have to worry about giving your furry friend too many.
You should also avoid feeding your dog the leaves of the sweet potato plant because those contain a chemical known as solanine that can cause stomach upset and liver problems in dogs.
If your dog has diabetes, you may want to get support before adding sweet potato to their diet. Although sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
A low glycemic index means that the glucose level in the blood does not increase as fast with sweet potatoes as it does with white potatoes. But be careful if your dog has diabetes or is overweight because sweet potatoes can still cause blood sugar to rise.
And, if your dog eats a lot of sweet potatoes, they might experience some digestive problems, such as diarrhea and vomiting.
When you begin introducing sweet potato into your dog’s diet, it’s essential to remember that every dog is different. To make sure your dog can tolerate sweet potato, start small and monitor to ensure everything digests quickly and without issues.
Can Dogs Eat Potatoes That Are Mashed?
As a dog owner, you likely have a few questions about the safety of mashed potatoes for dogs. But, in general, it’s important to remember that every dog is different, and every dog processes human food differently.
Mashed potatoes are safe for your beloved four-legged friend to eat if they’re prepared without any seasonings (especially garlic powder, onion powder, and excess salts). Adding these ingredients makes them toxic to dogs, and some of these spices can also create anemia problems for dogs. Also, dogs that consume too much salt become dehydrated quickly.
Potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals that can help to support various systems in your dog’s body (including the nervous and immune systems). However, if your dog has diabetes, potatoes are probably not the best for them. Why? Sometimes, potatoes will cause a dog’s blood sugar to spike, which is not ideal.
Remember, dogs can eat mashed potatoes, but only if they’re plain and unseasoned. Potatoes alone do not offer the nutrients that your dog needs to thrive.
If your mashed potatoes have butter, that’s okay. Butter is safe for dogs to eat. However, too much can cause diarrhea or weight gain. In addition, butter is rich in fat and contains no nutritional value for dogs; therefore, you should always give it in moderation.
Can dogs have mashed potatoes with sour cream? Yes! Sour cream is safe for dogs to eat; however, you should give it in moderation due to the high amount of fat it contains. Sour cream has no nutritional value for dogs and should be limited to no more than one tablespoon daily as a treat.
Can dogs eat mashed potatoes with gravy? Yes! Homemade gravy without onion or garlic powder is safe for dogs to eat. If you’re unsure whether the sauce contains onion or garlic powder, contact the manufacturer before giving it to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Do Dog Foods Usually Include Potatoes?
Containing several vitamins and minerals that benefit both humans and dogs, potatoes are a safe food for canines to eat.
However, like tomatoes, raw potatoes contain solanine. Solanine is toxic, so it’s essential to remember that you should never feed your dog raw potatoes. However, cooking a potato helps reduce the levels of solanine; therefore, boiled potatoes are safe for dogs to eat as long as nothing has been added to them.
Like humans, dogs require a well-balanced diet to maintain optimal health. So while potatoes are beneficial in many ways, they should not be the only food your dog consumes. Consuming a diet high in carbohydrates can lead to obesity in pets. And obesity can put your furry friend at risk for diabetes and damage his liver, heart, and joints.
Most commercial pet foods will have the ingredients listed on the packaging or their website. You may see any of these terms referring to potatoes: potato, sweet potato, white potato or potato starch, yellow potato, or potato flour.
Potatoes aren’t as prominent in commercial dog food formulas because dogs have different nutritional needs than people do. Dogs require more animal protein in their diet than people do, and while they can tolerate some carbohydrates, they don’t need nearly as many carbs as humans do. As a result, there are easier ways to provide dogs with the carbs they need than by feeding your pet potatoes.
Can Dogs Eat Potatoes That Are Raw?
Dogs are omnivores and can eat fruits and vegetables, but certain types are toxic or unhealthy for our canine friends.
The basic answer to the question “can a dog eat raw potatoes?” is “no,” but to fully understand why you should never feed your dog a raw potato it helps to know more about their nutritional value and how they are used in dog foods.
Raw potatoes contain solanine. And solanine is a compound that is toxic to some dogs. Therefore, it is essential to keep items that have solanine away from your dog at all costs, and this includes raw potatoes.
However, if you opt to cook the potato, it reduces the amount of solanine and makes the potato edible for your pup.
Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? How To Add Potatoes Into Your Dog’s Diet.
Can dogs eat potatoes? As just covered, it’s essential to remember that you should never feed your dog a raw potato.
If you choose to feed your dog a potato, there are a few simple steps to remember that will guarantee the potato is always safe for your dog to digest.
If you introduce potatoes into your dog’s diet, remember that they should be baked or boiled, with nothing added. Potatoes fried in oil, such as french fries or potato chips, or potatoes with added butter or salt are not healthy for dogs. And, if your canine companion has diabetes, remember that he should not be given potatoes. Because they can cause blood sugar spikes, you should never provide potatoes for diabetic dogs or any dog with blood sugar issues!
A dog’s body is designed to get most of its nutrients from animal protein, so if you decide to feed your pup baked or boiled potatoes, it should be done in moderation. Giving a dog too many carbohydrates can result in obesity or other health problems.
In the end, as long as you are always providing cooked potatoes and sweet potatoes in moderation to your dog, then they will most likely love all of the beautiful treats and snacks that you have to offer! As a guardian, it is your responsibility to understand all your dog’s needs and wants. If your dog is allergic to potatoes, it’s essential to keep them out of its diet. But, outside of that, cooked potatoes and sweet potatoes are an excellent option for any canine!