Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? (The Answer Varies)

Written by Austin S.
Published: June 15, 2022
Image Credit WilleeCole Photography/Shutterstock.com
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Potatoes are delicious vegetables, and they have a wide range of uses. Potatoes can be used to make the famous French fries, tater tots, hash browns, and other nutritional comfort foods.

When appropriately prepared, white potatoes are considered a highly nutritious food for humans, but does this make them safe for your canine friend? Can you feed your dog Potatoes?

In this article, we will be discussing if potatoes are a good option in your dog’s meal and the risks attached to feeding your dog potatoes.

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Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?

The answer to the question— Can dogs eat potatoes is debatable. The answer varies.

Some vets will recommend that you feed your dog potatoes in moderate quantities. In contrast, others would advise that you remove potatoes from your dog’s meal altogether.

Potatoes are not poisonous for your dog’s consumption. And at the same time, potatoes may not be appropriate for your dog’s diet.

If you consider the health benefits of feeding your dogs potatoes, it will be easy to conclude that dogs should be fed potatoes. Potatoes are vegetables, and they are high in fiber. These fibers aid the proper digestion of food and help with weight loss. Asides from fibers, potatoes contain vitamins and minerals that aid the proper body metabolism of your canine friend as well.

On the other hand, potatoes contain solanine and oxalic acid, which are toxic to some dogs. Solanine content is high in raw potatoes, and cooking potatoes reduces the toxicity of solanine in Potatoes. However, cooking doesn’t get rid of these toxic chemicals. They are still present in trace amounts, and every time you feed your canine friend cooked potatoes, they are predisposed to these chemicals.

The benefits and the risk involved in feeding your dog potatoes are what make it a dicey meal option for your dog. It is advisable to consult your vet before feeding your dog potatoes.

Health Benefits of Feeding Your Dogs Potatoes

Potatoes are known for their high nutritional value. Here are a few of the benefits attached to feeding your dogs Potatoes. 

Good Source of Energy

Potatoes are high in carbohydrates. These high carbohydrate content make potatoes a good source of energy. Potato’s sugar content is enough to sustain your active canine friend for all its running, jumping, and playing activities.

High in Vitamins and Minerals

Potatoes are high in vitamins and minerals. It contains the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that helps remove excess free radicals in your dog’s body. These excess free radicals, if left, can cause inflammation and, in older dogs, can cause joint pain.
  • Vitamin B6: This vitamin is considered vital because it has many essential functions like assisting in making glucose available for your dog’s use, helping red blood cells in oxygen transport, and supporting the nervous and immune systems in their functions.
  • Iron: Iron is important in your dog’s body. Iron is essential for your dog’s body to properly produce hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying component in the blood)
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is essential for energy production in your dog’s body. Magnesium is involved in different biochemical reactions in your dog’s body.

High in Fiber

Potatoes are a vegetable, and they contain a high amount of fibers. These fibers are fantastic for your canine friend’s digestive tract. Fibers help regulate the microbiome in a dog’s fur. It facilitates digestion by improving bowel movement.

Can Your Dog Eat Raw Potatoes?

No! Do not feed your dog raw potatoes. White potatoes are part of a family of nightshade vegetables. Other examples of nightshade vegetables are tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. 

And like tomatoes and other nightshade family vegetables, raw potatoes naturally contain a high amount of solanine which is toxic to your dog’s health. It irritates your dog’s intestinal tracts.

Solanine is mainly present in potato skins. So, if you want to feed your dog potatoes, make sure you peel off the skins before cooking.  

What about…

Cooked Potatoes?

Yes, you can feed your dog cooked potatoes. Cooked potatoes are safer for your dog’s consumption in moderate quantities, and how they are prepared matters a lot too. 

Potatoes for dogs should be baked or boiled with the skin peeled off and add nothing extra to them. That means no sauce, no butter, no salt, or other spices or seasonings. 

It would be best if you were cautious with feeding your dog potatoes fried in oil, such as chips or french fries. Fried foods, in general, do not have any real nutritional value for your dog. Instead, they are in fats which can put your dog at risk of being obese if given in excess.

Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are considered healthier than regular white potatoes. This is because sweet potatoes have higher nutrient levels. They are high in fibers and low in fats. They also contain other nutrients like calcium, potassium, vitamin A, etc., to mention a few.

Sweet potatoes are often used as ingredients in the production of pet health supplements. This is because of their antioxidant properties and the support they provide for the immune system.

Just like white potatoes, sweet potatoes should be thoroughly cooked by boiling without any extra seasonings.

Spuds With Green Potato Skin?

Cooked or uncooked, do not give your dog any potatoes that have green skin. Potatoes with green skin are an indicator of very high solanine levels.

Cooking a green potato will not reduce its solanine toxicity levels. Therefore, eating potatoes with green skin is very dangerous to your dog’s health, even to you. Consuming green potatoes can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and in extreme cases, nervous paralysis.

Proper storage of potatoes prevents them from turning green. Keep potatoes in the dark because exposure to too much light will turn potatoes’ skin green and increase solanine levels.

What Are the Risks Associated With Feeding Your Dog Potatoes?

Feeding your dog high-quality food, means you don’t have to bother with starchy carbohydrates like potatoes.

Raw and undercooked potatoes can be dangerous to your dog’s health. Even feeding your dog cooked potatoes in excess is not recommended. These are the risk attached to feeding your dog potatoes: 

Solanine

Solanine is a natural pesticide that potatoes produce for self-protection against fungus. And as stated earlier, It is toxic to your dog. 

Levels of solanine are highest in green skin potatoes, raw potatoes, potato skins, and the stalk of the potato plant. This is why you should never feed your dog uncooked potatoes or potatoes with green skin.

Oxalic Acid

Oxalic acid is an organic acid that binds calcium and other minerals. They are found in lesser amounts in potatoes. They are also insoluble and decrease the bioavailability of these minerals for your dog’s use.

Oxalates in high amounts within your dog’s body can cause decreased bone growth, renal toxicity, kidney stones, impaired blood clotting, and convulsions.

High Sugar

Potatoes are naturally sweeter than other tubers. They contain high carbohydrates that are broken down into glucose for energy use. 

Feeding your dog potatoes regularly can cause excessive glucose in your dog’s body, more than your dog needs for energy production, and this causes blood sugar spikes.

And if it persists, it can lead to diabetes and insulin resistance in a previously healthy dog. Do not feed diabetic dogs potatoes.

Obesity

As a result of the high carbs and sugar in potatoes, insulin responsible for sugar use in your dog’s body can be overworked and become non-responsive to body sugar and fats. And when this occurs, your dog is liable to be predisposed to obesity.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Excess Potatoes?

If your canine friend eats excess potatoes. They might be at risk of solanine and oxalate poisoning. 

The following symptoms are signs of solanine poisoning in your dog

  • Muscle weakness
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing

And in the case of oxalate poisoning, you might note additional symptoms like

  • Vomiting
  • Heart problems
  • Paralysis ( in extreme cases)

If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, the first thing to do is give your dog lots of fluids to rehydrate it. Then, take your dog to a vet for proper treatment.

Other Vegetable Alternatives You Can Feed Your Dog

Vegetables are a healthy choice in your dog’s diet. They are high in fiber and aid digestion. In general, they are highly beneficial to your dog’s health. 

Here are a few vegetable alternatives for potatoes that you can feed your dog:

Conclusion

As you must have deduced from this article, the answer to the question, “Can dogs eat potatoes?” is “It’s complicated.” While feeding your dog small amounts of cooked potatoes is considered healthy, they should be low on your list of treats because of the potential threat to your dog’s health.

However, if you must feed your dog potatoes, please consult your veterinarian first.

In the interim, here are other “human foods” you can safely feed your dog. They can serve as treats and are considered healthy for your dog’s consumption

The curated list of dog foods below includes healthy, nutritious ingredients you can feel good about feeding your best friend.

  1. JustFoodForDogs Fresh Frozen Dog Food
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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.