PET HEALTH

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Do’s and Don’ts

Three Minutes Jun 29, 2022

Whether they’re mashed, fried, baked, or roasted, white and sweet potatoes are so delicious that they’re staples in virtually everyone’s kitchen. But is your favorite potato dish safe to share with your family dog? You can let your dog eat potatoes on occasion — but with some restrictions. Here are a few do’s and don'ts when it comes to potatoes and dogs.

Health Benefits of Potatoes

Potatoes have many beneficial nutrients which is why most commercial dog foods contain potatoes. Here are a few benefits to your dog’s diet.

White potatoes contain

●      Vitamin C and B6

●      Magnesium

●      Calcium

●      Iron

Sweet potatoes contain all these essential nutrients above, plus⁵:

●      Potassium

●      Fiber

●      Vitamin A

With all this in mind, there are very few downsides to sharing potatoes with your faithful companion. Do note that treats, including human food, should only make up 10% of their overall diet.3

How to Give Potatoes to Your Dog

Make sure to cook the potatoes first

It’s best to cook potatoes before your dog can eat them, as raw potatoes aren’t safe for dogs to eat. Like all members of the nightshade family, raw white potatoes or potatoes that are still green, contain a toxin called solanine.4 Cooking the potatoes helps reduce the amount of solanine in the potatoes.

Raw sweet potatoes can cause an upset stomach in some dogs since they’re difficult to digest due to their tough exterior and high fiber content. In some cases, a dog’s intestinal tract may become blocked by uncooked vegetables.

Always peel the potatoes beforehand

Your dog shouldn’t eat potato skins since they’re tough to digest. Additionally, this root vegetable is often sprayed with pesticides to protect it during transport to your local grocery store. Be sure to peel the potatoes before cooking them and give them a good wash.

 

A person sitting cross-legged on a couch with a bowl of potato chips and their dog in their lap.

When to Avoid Giving Your Dog Potatoes

For some dogs, potatoes may be a bad snack option. Potatoes and other root vegetables like yams are complex carbohydrates that are high in sugar. Here are a few don'ts to consider.

Don’t include potatoes in their diet if your dog is overweight or diabetic

Some dogs are overweight or obese. If your dog is at risk for diabetes or hypertension, avoid potatoes in your dog’s diet. Choose cooked sweet potatoes instead to ensure your dog’s heart stays healthy, as they have a low glycemic index. This means they may not spike their blood sugar.5

Don’t give your dog potatoes that are covered in butter, fried in oil, or contain milk

Milk, butter, and oils can cause an upset stomach in most dogs. Think twice before sharing mashed potatoes, french fries, or potato chips. These snacks may ruin your pal’s day.

Don’t allow your dog to eat potatoes if they have existing allergies

Many dogs have allergies and food intolerances. Providing your dog with a varied, healthy diet may prevent the development of allergies. If you notice an allergic reaction in your dog, call your veterinarian immediately and refrain from giving your dog potatoes.

Keep in mind that potatoes are also part of the family of vegetables that, in rare cases, may be attributed to canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), which can result in heart failure for dogs.6 While this shouldn’t stop you from introducing an occasional potato into your dogs diet, it’s important to understand the rare instances of the disease when giving your dog new foods.

Let Your Dog Eat Potatoes in Moderation

Sweet and white potatoes are safe to share as an occasional treat. Make sure to always serve your pup cooked potatoes that are unseasoned with no additions. If your furry friend acts strangely after eating raw potatoes, monitor them closely for signs of solanine poisoning and call your vet immediately.

Remember: Feeding your dog human food only in moderation is the key to maintaining a balanced diet. Because your dog’s health is a priority, you may consider exploring options for insuring your pet’s healthcare expenses in the event of an emergency. MetLife’s policies can cover basic care and emergency visits to your local vet.¹

Protect your Dog

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

¹ Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2” Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?,” Animal Care Clinic, 2021

3 “How Much Should Dogs Eat?,” PetMD

4 “What Is Potato (Green) Poisoning?,” WagWalking.com.

5 “Sweet Potatoes,” Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

⁶ “New Clues to Diet-Associated DCM in Dogs”, AAHA, 2021