Can dogs eat potatoes? Plain, cooked potatoes are safe for dogs to eat in small amounts. You should avoid cooking them in oil, or adding any extra ingredients like butter or salt if you are giving your dog potatoes. Raw potatoes and potato skins contain solanine, which can be poisonous to dogs in large quantities. Dogs should also be kept away from potato plants.
Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?
Potatoes are a common household ingredient which are actually used in a lot of commercial dog foods. Potatoes are from the plant family Solanaceae, also known as the nightshade family. Other plants from this family include the tomato, eggplants, and peppers.
The part of potatoes that isn’t safe for dogs is a glycoalkaloid called solanine. Solanine is found in raw potatoes, potato skins (particularly the sprouts), potato plants, and green potatoes. Plain potatoes that have been washed and cooked with the skin removed are generally safe for dogs. But, they should not be a staple part of their diet due to high levels of carbohydrates.
Potatoes and Dogs
In some ways potatoes are quite healthy for dogs. They’re carbohydrate rich but have very little fat, making them a great energy source. They have low levels of protein, but are a good source of Vitamin C, B vitamins, and potassium. They’re also a great source of fiber.
Many commercial dog foods use potatoes for these very nutrients. So, in small amounts, they can be a really good part of your dog’s diet. However, because they are very rich in carbohydrates, they should not be a staple ingredient.
You must only ever give your dog cooked plain potatoes, as raw potatoes and potato skins contain solanine, which can be toxic in large amounts. Plus, added ingredients like salt, butter, and oil are bad for dogs, and lead to problems like obesity.
When are Potatoes Bad For Dogs?
Potato plants, skins, and sprouts are all bad for dogs because of their solanine levels. The same is true of potatoes that have been left to turn green. If your dog consumes too much solanine, he can become very sick. Whilst toxicity is rare, it is possible. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and lethargy. Additionally, too many carbs can contribute to weight gain in dogs. Particularly if potatoes are served with or cooked in ingredients like butter or oil.
Links to Dilated Cardiomyopathy
In 2018 the FDA released an update summarizing concern for a potential link between foods like potato and the heart problem dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. They suggested a possible link between the disease and diets containing foods like potato as a main ingredient. However, recent reviews have said more evidence is needed on this topic.
If you’re concerned about the link between potatoes and DCM, your vet will be the best person to summarize the most recent research. You can always chat to your vet about these concerns before offering your dog potato.
Are Potatoes Good For Dogs?
In small amounts, potatoes can be good for our dogs. They’re a good source of energy and fiber. Their use as a dietary fiber tool for dogs has actually been proven in certain studies.
Dogs can get good vitamins and nutrients from potatoes, including B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium. Plus, they have been shown to improve the digestion of dietary nutrients in both adult dogs and puppies. This, of course, only applies to cooked, plain potatoes.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Despite having a similar name, sweet potatoes are surprisingly different to white and red potatoes. In fact, they belong to the Convulvacea family, or morning glory family. Sweet potatoes do not contain solanine like regular potatoes. However, you should still peel and cook a sweet potato before giving it to your dog. Leaving it raw can make it harder to digest and chew. This could lead to internal blockages and choking.
Plus, sweet potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, like regular potatoes. So, dogs shouldn’t eat too much of them.
Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes?
Can dogs eat potatoes that are mashed? If nothing extra has been added to your mashed potatoes, they should be perfectly safe for dogs to try. Extra ingredients like salt, butter, and milk can be bad for your dog’s health. Especially if too much is consumed. You can easily make mashed potatoes dog friendly. Just keep the potatoes plain. Dogs won’t mind if they aren’t as creamy and smooth as yours!
Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes?
You should never feed your dog raw potatoes. Uncooked potatoes, particularly with skins on, contain solanine. Solanine can be toxic to dogs if enough is consumed. And low levels can still cause stomach upsets. On top of this, raw potatoes are hard for dogs to chew and digest. Chunks of raw potato can easily get stuck in your dog’s throat and cause your dog to choke.
Raw, unwashed potatoes are also likely to have pesticides present on their skins. These can be harmful to our pets.
Can Dogs Eat Potato Chips?
Potato chips are not a great snack for dogs. They are very thinly sliced potatoes which have been fried and covered in a flavoring. Fried potatoes of any form are bad for dogs because of the high levels of oil used. Instead, you should only offer boiled or oven cooked potatoes. Plus, the flavorings on potato chips can be bad for our dogs. They are often high in salt, which can lead to health issues.
Can Dogs Eat Potato Skins?
It’s best to avoid giving your dog potato skins whenever possible. A very small amount is unlikely to hurt them, but there’s still a risk. Potato skins have a higher content of solanine, particularly in the ‘eyes’ or sprouts of a potato. Solanine, as we know, can be toxic to dogs. So, it’s best to offer your dog potato without the skin.
Can Dogs Eat Potato Fries?
Can dogs eat potatoes that have been fried? Fried potatoes are not the healthiest option for dogs. The high oil content in fried potatoes can contribute to obesity and other health problems in dogs, especially if it becomes a regular snack. Potato fries are also usually covered in salt and other toppings. These should be avoided for our dogs. It’s better to serve your pooch a plain boiled or oven cooked potato.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Potatoes?
If your dog has eaten a small amount of plain, cooked potatoes, you shouldn’t worry too much. Generally, dogs are fine after eating this food. However, if they have eaten raw potatoes, green potatoes, or potato plants, it’s best to call your vet. They will either want to see your dog, or will tell you to keep an eye out for symptoms of solanine poisoning. This includes vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, and more.
Watch your dog’s behavior carefully if they have eaten raw, green potatoes, or potato plants. If they show symptoms of being unwell and your vet is closed, take them to the emergency vet.
Should I Give My Dog Potatoes?
Potatoes are perfectly safe to offer your dog as long as they have been prepared properly. Wash them, peel them, and cook or boil them to remove any harmful substances. Potatoes can be a great way to add something extra to your dog’s meal. But, don’t give them this food too often. It’s very rich in carbohydrates, and this can outweigh the benefits if your dog eats too much.
Like any new food, introduce potato gradually and watch for any symptoms of an upset stomach when your dog tries potato for the first time. If you’re worried about problems like canine DCM, speak to your vet before offering your dog potato.
How to Prepare Potato for Dogs
Always wash and peel potatoes before preparing them for your dog. Here are some great ways that dogs may enjoy potato:
- Boiled and chopped into small chunks
- Thin oven cooked slices on their kibble
- Plain mashed potato
You can also try all of these serving suggestions with sweet potato!
Alternatives to Potato for Dogs
If your dog doesn’t like potato – not all of them will – there are plenty of other treats you can share with them. Make sure to always check if a food is safe before offering it to your dog. Here are some similar guides for you to look at.
Can Dogs Eat Potato Summary
Dogs can eat plain, cooked potatoes in small amounts. In fact, potatoes can be a great source of vitamins and nutrients for our dogs. There is a suspected link between potatoes and dilated cardiomyopathy, but more evidence is needed on this subject. Never feed your dog raw potatoes, green potatoes, or potato plants.
Does Your Dog Like Potato?
What does your dog think about potatoes? Have you found another great way to serve this delicious vegetable? Make sure to leave your ideas and experiences in the comments below!
References and Further Reading
- ‘FDA Investigating Potential Connection Between Diet and Cases of Canine Heart Disease’, US Food and Drug Administration (2018)
- Bissonnette, S. & Taylor, J. ‘Common Household Foods that Should Not be Given to Dogs or Cats’, Royal Canin Veterinary Exclusive (2014)
- Domingues, L. (et al), ‘Effect of Potato on Kibble Characteristics and Diet Digestibility and Palatability to Adult Dogs and Puppies’, Italian Journal of Animal Science (2018)
- Panasevich, M. (et al), ‘Potato Fiber as a Dietary Fiber Source in Dog Foods’, Journal of Animal Science (2013)
- Camire, M. (et al), ‘Potatoes and Human Health’, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (2009)
- ‘Tomato’, Pet Poison Helpline
- McCauley, S. (et al), ‘Review of Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy in the Wake of Diet-Associated Concerns’, Journal of Animal Science (2020)
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