This is one vegetable that is no doubt a nutritious food for humans, but the question that often arises is: Can dogs eat potatoes?
Dogs can eat potatoes. But there are some things you need to be aware of, before taking the plunge.
Potatoes should be served as a treat; so make sure to observe moderation. Under no circumstance should you let your dog eat raw or fried potatoes.
In this post, we will take a deep look into this popular vegetable to see whether or not they should be part of your dog’s diet.
Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Are They Safe For Dogs?
Every dog owner has probably had times when they were tempted to share a bite or two of potatoes with their furry friends.
But before you take the plunge, you want to be sure that it is a good idea.
That being said, there could be adverse health effects if not properly prepared. While there are many ways to enjoy this delicious vegetable, they are all not convenient and safe for your dog.
The recommended way to prepare your potatoes is by plainly cooking them; that is, without any form of seasoning. In its raw form, potatoes can be dangerous.
Furthermore, when it comes to dogs, their body is designed in a way that it can only get most of its nutrients from animal protein.
Potatoes on the other hand are very high in starch. This means that introducing this food in a dog’s diet should be aimed at complementing its existing food and making it more appealing.
This should be done in moderation and occasionally.
Health Benefits of Potatoes for Dogs
Much more than being safe, potatoes also go a long way to provide your canine buddies with several nutritional benefits. Below are some potential health benefits potatoes bring to the table for dogs:
Boosts Dog’s Blood Levels
Potatoes are a good source of Pyridoxine, otherwise known as vitamin B6. This substance plays a very significant role in the formation of red blood cells – whether in humans or dogs. These red blood cells in turn allow for proper growth and development of the body.
Boosts Dog’s Immune System
Potatoes contain a good amount of vitamin C. This vitamin helps in promoting the function of white blood cells, thus enhancing the immune system of your dog.
Potatoes also contain antioxidants such as Phenolic and flavonoids. These substances promote a robust immune system and prevent harmful molecules from attacking the blood cells.
Helps Improve Dog’s Digestion
Potatoes contain high dietary fiber. This is a group of compounds in the food that is resistant to digestion.
This is actually a good thing as it becomes food for the gut bacteria (organisms that help to digest food). The result is improved and enhanced digestive system health.
If you want to learn more about dogs’ digestion, read our article on How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Digest Food.
Enhances Dog’s Bone health
Potatoes are fondly called super vegetables because of the host of nutrients they contain.
Particularly, you have iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus which together play vital roles in building and maintaining the strength and structure of your dog’s bones.
Enhances Dog’s Skin Health
Potatoes contain collagen, a protein that nourishes the skin. A healthy level of collagen helps dogs to itch less and shed less.
Another nutrient that plays a significant role in skin health is vitamin C. This antioxidant helps in preventing skin damage due to sun, smoke, or pollution.
Side Effects of Potatoes for Dogs
As we have established above, potatoes can be safe for dogs if consumed in moderation. But, if your dog consumes in excess amounts or as a staple, the following health conditions are likely to occur:
Potatoes are both high in calories and in carbohydrates and when consumed excess amounts lead to obesity. This is not something you want for your canine buddy.
Obesity predisposes your dogs to a whole lot of health issues such as cancer, heart diseases, arthritis, chronic arthritis, chronic kidney disease, osteoarthritis, hypertension, and so on.
When your dog’s diet is heavy on carbohydrates, it can cause an inflammation of the pancreas, an illness known as pancreatitis.
When this happens, the pancreas is no longer able to perform its function properly such as breaking down sodium and fats.
This condition comes with a lot of discomfort and pain resulting from a bloated and tender stomach. Any attempt to eat, your dog may vomit.
This is another condition, similar to obesity that results from consuming potatoes in excess amounts. This is a condition where your dog’s body is either unable to produce or process enough insulin.
Diabetes puts your pooches at risk of complications such as ketoacidosis, hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, urinary tract infection, and so on.
Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
Eating foods such as potatoes have been linked to a condition known as Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).
This is a condition where the heart becomes enlarged and therefore cannot function optimally.
The heart muscles are no longer able to efficiently pump blood throughout the body of your dog. This further predisposes your dogs to congestive heart failure or sudden cardiac arrest.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes?
Raw potatoes contain a compound known as solanine (a colorless and bitter-tasting alkaloid).
This substance is toxic to dogs and may result in an illness known as solanine poisoning. Symptoms of solanine poisoning include:
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Nervous system impairment
- Blurred vision
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are much more nutritious compared to white potatoes. Unlike raw potatoes, they are not toxic. It is safe to feed to your dogs but only in small bits.
Can Dogs Eat Potato Chips?
As far as dogs are concerned, potato chips are not a great snack. Generally, any form of fried potatoes is not to be fed to dogs.
This is because of the oil used in the preparation. Additionally, the flavorings and seasoning on the chips are bad for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Baked Potatoes?
It is also safe to feed your dog baked potatoes.
Make sure it is peeled and thoroughly cooked, with no form of seasoning.
Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes?
Yes, dogs can have mashed potatoes, but in moderation, and it should be plainly prepared. Do not add any form of seasoning such as salt, onion powder, salt, and so on.
Can Dogs Eat Potato Skins?
Potato skins are incredibly crunchy and delicious. They should however be consumed in moderation because they contain oxalates.
When consumed in high amounts, oxalates can result in kidney problems for your dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Roasted Potatoes?
Roasted potatoes are similar to baked potatoes and are safe to feed to dogs but in a small serving.
Ensure that the preparation does not involve any form of spices or additives.
How to Prepare and Serve your Dogs Potatoes
As we earlier discussed, foods such as potatoes are not meant to be a staple for dogs. They should only be used as treats and snacked occasionally.
In doing so, it is important to be mindful of how you prepare this vegetable so that it is safe for your dog’s consumption.
My personal procedures for preparing potatoes for my dogs include:
- Select healthy potatoes
- Thoroughly wash, scrub, and peel off skin
- Cut the potatoes into slices and bite-sized quarters [ that won’t choke the dog when feeding]
- Cook, bake or roast your potatoes. Ensure you keep them plain.
- Pierce with a penknife, toothpick or pin to check if they’re ready
- Allow to cool before serving
As a general rule, avoid raw potatoes, potato skins, and potato chips and fries. Only serve your dogs with the likes of boiled, baked, roasted, or mashed potatoes.
It is also important to know that every dog is different. This is why it is recommended that you begin with small amounts first and watch how your pooch reacts.
You may want to slightly increase the amount when your dogs show no issues with ingesting potatoes.
Ultimately, you should always consult your veterinarian first, before making any changes in your dog’s diet.
This is especially true when it comes to foods such as potatoes. Your vet should be able to recommend the exact amount of this vegetable your dog needs.
Potato is a versatile vegetable that can be served in many ways, namely: boiled, fried, baked, roasted, mashed, and so on.
However, when it comes to dogs, they are limited to only boiled, baked, and mashed form.
You may want to completely avoid this tasty vegetable if your dog has diabetes or is overweight. If your dog is overweight, you might want to read our article on How To Help A Dog Lose Weight.
Remember to consult your vet whenever you notice any problem with your dog as a result of eating potatoes.