Can Dogs Have Sweet Potatoes?

sweet potatoes on a rustic platter

Sweet potatoes are delicious and healthy for humans, but dogs may or may not like them. Many dogs simply want whatever their human is eating, but then once they take that first bite of a sweet potato you might get a funny look from your pet. Still, a lot of dogs will probably love the taste of a sweet potato. But the question remains: is a sweet potato good for your dog’s health?

The answer to that question is, much like the carbohydrates in sweet potatoes, complex. There are so many different varieties of sweet potatoes and different types of dogs that it’s almost impossible to give a blanket statement on the effect of sweet potatoes on dog health. However, sweet potatoes are a great source of several nutrients that make it great human food as well as dog food. Nevertheless, you should avoid feeding sweet potatoes to dogs indiscriminately.

If you decide to let your dog try sweet potato then it’s important that you feed it in small quantities and observe your dog for signs of any adverse reaction. You can also ask your vet for a more detailed opinion on the matter. Like humans, dogs will only benefit from the vitamins and minerals in sweet potatoes if they can actually digest it. If your dog doesn’t like the taste of sweet potato then it will probably try to spit it out.

Sweet potatoes can be prepared in many different ways. They can be baked to be soft (like a baked potato) or hard (like potato chips) and even mashed. The latter method is an easy way to mix in with either dry or wet dog food. But if your dog is new to sweet potatoes, be sure to serve them to them in moderation.

French bull dog eating from bowl

What Is a Sweet Potato?

Sweet potatoes are a starchy root vegetable. They’re related to the regular potato but are much sweeter and are often called yams. They’re popular around the world, especially during autumn and winter months (particularly during holiday dinners).

Sweet potatoes are cultivated in several places around the world. China is a top sweet potato producer as of 2019. In the United States, they’re grown in warm states like California as well as southern states like North Carolina and Louisiana.

Domestication of the sweet potato is believed to have occurred in either South America or Central America about 5,000 years ago. The Aztecs were one of the earliest cultures to cultivate the plant in large quantities, and it was later carried by the Spanish conquistadors to other parts of the New World.

What’s In A Sweet Potato?

Sweet potatoes contain a lot of nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. The amount of each of these nutrients varies from variety to variety and even from one potato to the next. However, one of the most important nutrients in sweet potatoes is beta-carotene. This antioxidant-rich substance is also found in many other foods including carrots, squash, and spinach.

Beta-carotene is what gives sweet potatoes their characteristic orange color. The skin contains the highest amount of beta-carotene and other nutrients while the center contains the least.

Sweet potatoes’ sizes and shapes vary greatly from one to another. The largest sweet potato ever recorded was over 80 pounds! However, most sweet potatoes are much smaller than that. The average weight of a large sweet potato is only about 4 ounces.

cubed sweet potatoes

Potential Health Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes For Dogs

The most important nutritional benefit of sweet potatoes for dogs is their high level of beta-carotene. This substance is a precursor to vitamin A and is converted into vitamin A by your dog‘s body when consumed. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that can prevent a variety of health problems in dogs including cataracts, dry eyes, and respiratory infections.

In addition to their vitamin A content, sweet potatoes also contain other nutrients including potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Vitamin A can be toxic if your dog eats too much of it, so make sure you don’t feed your dog too many sweet potatoes.

While raw white potatoes can be deadly to dogs (they’re nightshade vegetables, which means they contain solanine when uncooked, and this can be toxic to canines) raw sweet potatoes can be dangerous if ingested because of potential intestinal blockage. Thus, raw sweet potatoes aren’t quite as dangerous as raw white potatoes. But your dog will probably be more receptive to the cooked version anyway.

How Much Sweet Potato Should I Feed My Dog?

Thinking about how much sweet potato to feed your dog can be a bit confusing. You need to take into account how active your dog is, along with their weight, age, and overall size. You also need to make sure you’re not overfeeding your dog, which can lead to obesity and a variety of health problems.

You should only feed your dog sweet potatoes in moderation, and start with very small portions then work your way up if they react positively to them. But don’t feed them more than a couple of ounces at a time, especially if they’re smaller than the average dog.

Can I Give My Dog Canned Sweet Potato?

Although you can safely cook sweet potato from scratch for your dog, canned sweet potato typically contains additives such as sugar or corn syrup to make the potatoes more palatable, or they contain preservatives to delay spoilage. None of these added ingredients are ideal for your dog. It’s best to avoid giving your dog canned foods unless they’re specifically meant for their consumption.

Dalmatian dog licks his nose

Can I Give My Dog Sweet Potato Skin?

There are no known properties of sweet potato skins that are toxic to dogs, but they can be a choking hazard if your dog chews it too fast or doesn’t chew it properly. Although sweet potato skins are generally edible, some dogs might swallow them too quickly, which could cause a blockage in the digestive tract. If you want to throw your dog some sweet potato skin, try to cut or soften it up first if you can.

How To Prepare Sweet Potato For Dogs

There are several different ways to prepare sweet potatoes for dogs to enjoy. You can mash them, bake them into treats, mix them up with other food, and much more. Here are some convenient recipes you can prepare to serve to your canine buddy.

Simple Mashed Sweet Potato Dog Food

Mashed sweet potatoes are cheap and easy to prepare. And they’re also great for your dog! All you need is sweet potato (one is fine, but feel free to multiply the recipe if you’re cooking dinner for a whole pack), some water, a knife or two, a stove, a pot, and a strainer.

Step 1: Peel and cut. Using a knife, carefully peel and remove the skin. Then (perhaps with a sharper knife) cut the sweet potato into cubes (about a square inch in size).

Step 2: Add water and bring to boil. Place sweet potato cubes in the pot, add enough water that the sweet potato cubes are totally submerged, place the pot on the stove, cover it, and bring water to a boil. Let it boil on medium heat for about 20 minutes.

Step 3: Drain the water and mash the cooked sweet potato. Remove the pot from boiling temperature and place its contents into the strainer. Place sweet potato contents back into the pot once the water is fully drained, then mash the sweet potato until it’s completely uniform.

Step 4: Cool and serve. Cool down (refrigerate if necessary) and serve to your dog in reasonably small portions.

mashed sweet potatoes

Sweet Potato Dog Chews

Sweet potato chews are a delicious snack for your dog that you can store for a long time. All you need is 1 or more sweet potatoes, a sharp knife, a baking sheet (or 2), parchment paper, and an oven.

Step 1: Preheat the oven. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Cut into disks. Cut the sweet potato(es) into disks that are no less than a quarter of an inch thick.

Step 3: Arrange on baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, then arrange the sweet potato disks in a single layer (don’t stack or pile them). Step 4: Bake sweet potato chews. Once the oven is fully heated, place the baking sheet inside of it and bake for 2 and a half to 3 hours, turning them over halfway through the baking time. Step 5: Cool and serve. Let the sweet potato chews cool and serve them to your dog when they need something to chew on. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Sweet Potato Dog Treats

What dog doesn’t love a good dog treat? These tasty dog biscuits are made with sweet potatoes, applesauce (unsweetened), eggs, and whole wheat flour. If you’re cooking with 1 sweet potato, you’ll need a half a cup of the unsweetened applesauce, 2 eggs, and 2 and a half cups of whole wheat flour. You’ll also need an oven, a fork, at least 1 measuring cup, a rolling pin, a mixing bowl, a clean surface, and a microwave (optional).

Step 1: Preheat the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Prepare the sweet potato. Pierce the sweet potato a few times with a fork, then microwave it on high for about 6 minutes (alternatively, you can bake the sweet potato instead of microwaving it, but that can take up to an hour). Once the sweet potato is tender, remove its skin and mash about a cup’s worth of its flesh into a uniform consistency.

Step 3: Mix the dough. Thoroughly mix the cup of mashed sweet potato flesh with the 2 and a half cups of whole wheat flour, the half-cup of unsweetened applesauce, and the 2 eggs.

Step 4: Knead the dough. Generously sprinkle flour over a clean dry surface, then thoroughly knead the dough on top of it.

Step 5: Roll and cut the dough. Roll the dough until it’s about half an inch thick, then cut biscuits (preferably in bone shape) out of the dough.

Step 6: Bake the dog biscuits. Bake the biscuits for about 40 minutes (or until they’re crisp but not burned).

Step 7: Cool and serve. Let the doggie biscuits cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Golden retriever licking a plate

Sweet Potato And Beef Dog Stew

This recipe is a bit more complex than the other recipes you’ll find here, but it’s well worth making if you’d like to feed your dog some healthy food that tastes delicious! You’ll need 1 large sweet potato, a pound of stew beef, a half a cup of carrots (chopped), a half a cup of green beans (also chopped), 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, a tablespoon of coconut oil, and a half a cup of water. You’ll also need a large skillet with a lid, a fork, a knife, and an oven or microwave.

Step 1: Prepare the sweet potato. Rinse and scrub the sweet potato with water, dry it, poke a few holes in it with a fork, then bake or microwave it. If preparing it in the oven, preheat it to somewhere between 375 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then bake the sweet potato for something between 45 and 60 minutes. For the microwave option, 5 or 6 minutes should be enough.

Step 2: Pan fry the beef. Pour the coconut oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the beef into small to medium sized cubes, then cook them in the skillet until they’re brown around the edges. Once they’re reasonably well done, remove them from the skillet, but leave the juice in the pan (this will be used later to make the gravy).

Step 3: Prepare the vegetables. Rinse and chop the carrots and green beans. Cut the cooked sweet potato into small to medium sized cubes.

Step 4: Mix the gravy. Add the beef and all the vegetables to the pan gravy. Mix it thoroughly.

Step 5: Simmer the stew. Cover all ingredients in a pan and simmer for about 15 minutes (until everything is cooked and the vegetables are softened).

Step 6: Cool and serve. Once it’s cooled off, you can serve the stew to your dog. Sealed leftovers will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Tips For Preparing Sweet Potato For Your Dog

When giving your dog sweet potatoes, it’s important to remember that, while raw sweet potato isn’t as toxic to them as raw white potato, sweet potato is still much better for them when it’s cooked. The raw version isn’t necessarily toxic, but it’s difficult to digest and in some cases can be legitimately dangerous to pups.

Also, when cooking sweet potato, whether it’s in the oven or the microwave, you need to remember to poke holes in it with a fork. Otherwise, the sweet potato likely won’t cook properly and will be wasted.

And finally, don’t feed your dog too much sweet potato. Beta-carotene has a lot of nutritional value for dogs but too much of it can actually be toxic to them. If your dog is particularly fond of sweet potatoes, monitor their consumption of the vegetable closely because they could be prone to overeating it and harming their own body. Give it to them as a treat but also know their limits (and consult a vet if necessary).

sliced sweet potatoes


Sweet potatoes are tasty and nutritious to dogs, but not in quite the same way as humans. Much like white potatoes, the human body can process these root vegetables much more easily than the canine body can. But that doesn’t mean that you should avoid giving them to your dog. On the contrary, in fact. They can be very good for them when fed to them in moderation.

There are many different recipes that incorporate sweet potato that you can prepare for your dog, and they aren’t even limited to the ones that are listed above. The recipes that we’ve covered here are probably the most popular ones, but feel free to explore and maybe even experiment with new ones, as long as they’re approved by your vet for your dog’s individual diet.

A good rule of thumb is to limit your dog’s sweet potato consumption to no more than a half of one per day. But this can vary wildly depending on your dog’s size as well as some other factors. And as your dog gets older, their eating habits and nutritional requirements will change over time.

Ask your vet for advice and remember to monitor their consumption of sweet potato carefully. If they seem to like them a lot and have no adverse reaction to them at first, you can increase their consumption over time, but not by too much. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on their health and adjust their diet as needed.

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