Can your furry friend eat potatoes or foods made with potato? Can dogs eat potatoes? If you want to add a human food such as potatoes to your dog’s diet, read this article first!
Dr. Jess describes the risks and the benefits of feeding potatoes to your dog, as well as which types of potatoes dogs can eat (if any!), and which is best left out of their food dish.
Dog food experts have arguments regarding the safety of serving certain potatoes to dogs.
Well, as delicious as potatoes are, is it actually a health threat to the dogs or are we over-reacting about this?
Let me, the veterinarian, explain my thoughts…
It’s always the best idea to double-check which foods your dog can and can not eat because many foods that are safe and healthy for humans are actually very harmful for your dog to eat, or even poisonous or deadly to them. Taste is never worth the risk of harming your pet.
That’s why I am so glad that you are here making an informed decision before feeding your dog potatoes!
What Do Dogs Eat?
Some dogs are not picky at all about what they eat. They’ll eat whatever you offer them- they’re like vacuum cleaners sucking up anything you put in front of them and then some!
Some dogs are on the pickier side of things. Pickier pups can be harder to properly feed because they just won’t eat any food we give them. Try feeding a picky dog something like okra!
A common canine diet for pet dogs consists of a complete dry or wet feed and possibly some form of supplements in some specific cases (however, not all pet dogs need supplements).
Foraging can also be included in the diet if the dog is allowed to roam, or the dog is feral, and of course there are treats that are a part of many dog’s diets!
The diet of every dog breed will very when you are looking into a healthy and complete diet for your pup. So it is important to know when offering food to your dog, what constitutes a healthy choice, and what does not.
An improper diet could put your dog at risk of having problems properly digesting their food and absorbing nutrients correctly. And we don’t want that now do we???
So let’s talk specifically about potatoes, since that’s why you clicked over here today, and talk about how it could affect your dog’s overall health and well-being.
Let’s Talk Potatoes:
Potatoes are a type of starchy root vegetable that belong to part of the nightshade family of veggies.
Because they are a root vegetable, they are grown under the ground, and when harvested, are pulled up from the earth.
There are many different types of potatoes.
Potatoes range in size, from golf ball-sized and round, to football-sized and ovoid in shape.
They also come in many different colors, like white, yellow, brown, red, and purple. Potatoes are a widely used food in many parts of the world for a few reasons.
One reason is their affordability in many parts of the world.
Another reason is that they can be easily grown without a lot of work or overhead costs or effort associated with them. They can be easily propagated and turn one plant into two or more.
Potatoes have many known health benefits associated with them. But let’s start with their nutritional profile. Wikipedia does a wonderful job summarizing the basics of potato nutrition:
“a typical raw potato is 79% water, 17% carbohydrates (88% is starch), 2% protein, and contains negligible fat.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radish
A raw potato is a rich source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. However, once the potato is cooked, the amount of both of these vitamins diminishes dramatically.
Good Source of Vitamin B6 and C:
Potatoes have a nice amount of vitamin C in them – a vitamin that helps with the protection of important body systems that keep the body running and functioning appropriately.
However, once a raw potato is cooked, the amount of vitamin C decreases substantially.
Multiple research studies have shown that potatoes are a source of anti-inflammatory compounds, which effectively can help fight different forms of inflammation.
Antioxidants are thought to help reduce inflammation inside the body by binding (attaching) to and suppressing (decreasing) inflammation-promoting molecules known as free radicals. [source].
Potatoes are also a good source of certain antioxidants like vitamin C and quercetin (a flavonoid found in potato skin) antioxidants that have been studied extensively to promote healthy bodies.
Studies have shown that antioxidants may help reduce cancer cell growth, decrease inflammation reactions, and improve overall health.
Helps Digestive Function:
Potatoes contain a healthy dose of fiber to help aid in digestion.
Your pet needs a balanced amount of fiber in their diets to keep their gastrointestinal tract healthy and moving and digesting food appropriately.
May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Potatoes contain high amounts of good-quality fiber and potassium, which may help regulate blood sugar levels [source]. This will come in handy if you have a diabetic pet or are trying to prevent your dog from becoming diabetic!
Can You Feed Potatoes To Dogs?
There are some foods that us humans can eat that can be toxic to your dog and need to be avoided all together.
While the toxicity level in an actual ripe potato itself is minimal, you shouldn’t give them too many because problems may arise as I will discuss further down in this article. [source]
So, long story short- Yes!
Adult dogs can have potatoes, IF given to them safely, and I’ll cover that in just a bit.
You do not want to feed the wrong potatoes or the wrong amount or frequency, potentially making your furry friend unintentionally sick.
Do Dogs Like Potatoes?
Dogs are natural carnivores.
Some dogs find the flavor of potatoes to be a delicious one, just some people love potatoes in or on everything they eat, from their salads to their baked dinners.
So yes, some dogs like potatoes. Some dogs even LOVE it.
Other dogs will definitely turn their nose away from the veggie.
Is The Rest Of The Potato Plant Safe To Eat?
The green parts of the potato plant – the leaves, stems, flowers, etc. contain a alkaloid chemical known as solanine which can produce a toxic substance when digested in the dog’s GI tract.
The more ripe that a potato gets, the more that this toxin is metabolized out of the vegetable.
That’s why it is safest to feed your dog the potato itself, but should never be offered the leaves, flower, stem, or green, unripened veggie.
This toxin has the potential to cause health issues in your dog if ingested. Some of the signs that your dog may be showing solanine toxicity symptoms include:
- muscle weakness
- muscle fasciculations (tremors or quivering)
- Excessive drooling
- Digestive upset
- Cardiac (heart) issues
- Ataxia (coordination / movement issues)
Can Potatoes Be Harmful to Dogs?
Before we can decide whether potatoes are safe to feed our dogs, we need to first understand some of the risks involved if we do feed our dogs potatoes .
I am not saying that you shouldn’t have any concerns with feeding your dog potatoes , because there are a few key things to keep in mind.
These three factors to keep in mind include:
Harmful Reason #1: Loose Stool/Diarrhea
Too much fiber can mean hypermotile, or increased movement, of one’s digestive tract.
Some dogs are more sensitive to additional fiber in their diets, so they are more likely to have loose stool and in some cases, full-blown diarrhea.
Other dogs will not be impacted by any additional fiber in their diets.
Many dog owners also report that their dog has increased flatulence after eating potatoes.
This is very common and typically go away after the increased gas is removed from their systems.
If your dog acts uncomfortable due to extreme gas from their potatoes treat, stop offering them potatoes and contact your veterinarian immediately.
Harmful Reason #2: Allergic Reaction to Potatoes
A dog can develop an intolerance or an allergy to any food, so there is always the possibility that your dog is allergic to potatoes.
If you suspect your dog is allergic to potatoes , do NOT feed this food to your dog.
If your dog is allergic to potatoes and accidentally ingests it, go to your nearest animal emergency room immediately.
When this happens, the attack sets off a hypersensitivity reaction and can result in any of the following symptoms:
Common symptoms of adverse/allergic reaction to food:
- Itching/Increased grooming
How Many Potatoes Can a Dog Eat?
This depends on the specific dog in question. Most the time, potatoes , given in small amounts periodically, are most likely just as healthy for your dog as it is for you.
Moderation is key here; never go overboard when feeding potatoes to your dog, no matter if your dog has a stomach of steel or not. Small amounts every once in a while is okay for most dogs.
Smaller dogs do not need as many potatoes as a larger dog to have the same effect.
Dogs with loose stool do not need, or need a lot fewer potatoes, than a dog that is constipated would need.
The best thing to do to gauge how many potatoes you should be feeding your dog safely, would be to contact your veterinarian about the specific pet in question.
Are Potatoes Beneficial For Dogs?
The random taste of a potatoes or a small bite as a treat is totally fine – it will not harm your dog.
However, there’s no need to offer it in large quantities, as this can cause some major health issues for your pup, as I discussed above.
Basically, if your dog consumed a bit of potatoes, you don’t need to drive them straight to the vet to get their stomach pumped.
If they start showing any odd signs of being affected by this new food (a list of signs and symptoms to look out for is further down in this article), contact your local veterinarian to get more information on what to do next.
So, yes there are some negative effects that can be seen with some dogs who consume potatoes.
However, this does not mean that a large number of dogs see many more health benefits versus those few health concerns.
Some of the health benefits for dogs who consume potatoes include:
- High Fiber: Fiber is great to keep the digestive system flowing smoothly and also helps dogs feel satiated (feeling full for longer after eating).
- Low Calorie: If your dog is overweight, you are liking looking for low calorie options for treats, etc.
- Low Fat: Again, if you are looking for lower-fat options to serve your overweight dog, potatoes may be a good add-on option.
- Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants: A potatoes has many different vitamins (vitamin B6 and vitamin C), minerals (oh hey there potassium), and antioxidants (vitamin C to the rescue!) to help keep your dog happy and healthy.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes?
Dogs should not be fed raw potato due to the toxicity that occurs when solanine is ingested by your dog.
Also, most dogs will not eat a raw potatoes when offered Instead, offering them a cooked potatoes is the way to go.
Some dogs do not like the taste of raw potatoes, so don’t be shocked if your pup tells you no thanks to raw potatoes.
Can Dogs Eat Roasted Potatoes? Baked Potatoes?
Yes, dogs can eat roasted potatoes and baked potatoes, as long as no seasonings or other cooking products were used in the cooking process.
Your dog will be much more likely to accept a cooked potatoes from you due to the softer texture and stronger smell compared to if you were going to try and offer them a raw one.
Make sure that the potatoes is fresh and not overly ripe or rotten no matter what way you are deciding to prepare it.
Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes?
Dogs can eat mashed potatoes as long as those mashed potatoes are cooked and that the cooked mashed potatoes were not prepared with cooking oil, butter, or seasoning or spices.
Can Dogs Eat Potato Chips?
Nope. Dogs should not eat potato chips.
Potato chips are baked in fats and contain many different spices, seasonings, and added salt – extra sodium that your dog does not need.
How to Serve Potatoes to Dogs:
After checking with your vet to make sure that potatoes should be a part of your dog’s menu, start by offering your dog 1 tablespoon worth of potato, or around the size of a cherry tomato.
If your dog does not show any adverse reactions after 24 hours or more, then you are likely safe to continue feeding your pup potatoes, gradually increasing the amount according to your vet’s guidelines.
- 1 ripe potato
- cutting board
- kitchen knife
- food-safe storage container
- Pot of water to boil potatoes in
- Heat a pot of water over medium-high heat until at a rolling boil.
- While you wait for the water to boil, remove any of the stem, leaves, etc. from the potato plant as they can be poisonous.
- Wash the veggie thoroughly to get rid of any chemical, pesticides, or pests.
- Cut the potato in quarters and place in the boiling water. Boil for 10-20 minutes, or until a fork is easily inserted into the center of on of the quartered potato pieces.
- Remove the pot from heat are carefully remove the potato pieces from the hot water to cool. While cooling, you can mash the potatoes of you'd like with a potato masher or fork.
- Once at room temperature, prepare an amount of potato that is equivalent to the size of a cherry tomato to give to your dog, keeping in mind not to feed any dogs with health issues or those are not full grown.
- Place any leftover boiled potato you may wish to keep in an airtight food-safe storage container in the fridge until ready to use.
Consult with your local veterinarian before adding or switching up your pet's diet. If your pet shows signs of adverse reaction to their diet, contact your vet immediately.
Keep the following in mind when serving food to your dog:
And remember that dogs need more than a bowl or plate of potatoes – they need a complete and balanced diet.
Whichever complete food you choose for your dog, it needs to have the AAFCO label indicating the diet is complete and balanced for your dog’s life stage.
AAFCO approved foods have gone through testing and compliance to make sure that the diet is safe and healthy for your pet.
Dogs already get everything that they need from their kibble or canned food.
How Many Potatoes Can My Dog Have?
Can dogs eat potatoes? As I mentioned previously, they can eat cooked and properly prepared potatoes.
Most dogs are safe consuming a potato if they are a healthy adult dog.
A smaller dog will be good with a tablespoon or two worth of fully cooked potato, while a large or giant-size dog could handle a more substantial amount of tablespoons-worth of cooked potatoes after a ‘ramping up’ period (a gradual increase in amount offered).
But never offer more than a tasty bite or two, no matter what size dog you are feeding.
So don’t give your large dog an entire cooked potato the very first time they eat the veggie!
Too many potatoes can lead to digestive upset, increased flatulence (stinky stinky dog gas!), and other bodily conditions.
I highly recommend contacting your vet first before starting your dog on potatoes, and also suggest that you start by offering your pup a small amount of potato and then working up to a full amount.
A little bit of potato typically goes a long way!
It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Talk to your vet about the appropriate serving size of potatoes for your dog.
Can Puppies Eat Potatoes?
I would never advise a puppy owner to feed potatoes to their puppy unless your veterinarian is recommending it due to specific medical needs.
Why do I say this? Because your pup’s first months of life should consist of specialized puppy diets approved by your local veterinarian upon puppy examination.
Puppies tend to have an even more delicate digestive system than adult dogs so giving your puppy potatoes might cause diarrhea, vomiting, or other adverse reactions.
Find Out If Your Dog Can Eat These Foods!
What to do If Your Dog Eats Potatoes:
If it is just a bite or two of cooked potato, just watch them for the rest of the day for any signs of adverse reaction.
If you are concerned with this small amount or if it was a aw potato, of course, contact your veterinarian right away. Most dogs can tolerate a small amount of potato on occasion – they typically do just fine.
If it is a large amount of potatoes, contact your veterinarian right away to discuss details and what to do next.
It is extremely likely that your vet will request that you bring your dog in immediately to get evaluated if they have gotten themselves into a large amount of potatoes, or a rotten or uncooked potato. We vets want to help and we will best help if we are notified right away.
Trust me, us vets are happy to help!
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.