Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes Safely? It Depends

Written by Susan Olayode
Updated: July 10, 2022
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Sweet potatoes are often on the list of healthy foods for us humans. It’s one of the few great sources of carbohydrates that are both nutritious and delicious. But is it safe to feed our canine friends? The short answer is yes, sweet potatoes are safe for dogs. However, as the headline suggests, there are precautions to be observed with sweet potatoes so you can ensure the safety of your furry companion.

Dont’s for Feeding Your Dog Sweet Potatoes

Many dogs enjoy the taste of sweet potato. While they are safe to eat in moderation, it’s important to be aware of some risks associated with serving them to your pooch. Before you storm off and toss a chunk of it to the kennel, consider the guidelines below.

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1. Don’t Serve Them Raw

Raw sweet potatoes are a high-fiber, low-fat food that can cause intestinal irritation in some dogs. When eaten raw, these tubers contain cyanogenic glycosides, which are transformed into hydrogen cyanide when digested. Hydrogen cyanide can be fatal if inhaled or consumed in large amounts. 

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2.Don’t Feed Them to Your Dog at Night or Before Bedtime

This is because sweet potatoes contain fructose, which creates a late-night sugar rush that can interfere with sleep quality. Their glycemic index numbers are also higher than other fruits and vegetables, so feeding them too close to bedtime can disturb your pet’s sleep cycle and cause them to wake up more often during the night than usual.

3. Don’t Feed Them to Nursing or Pregnant Dogs

Pregnant and nursing dogs are very sensitive to the effects of starch, and sweet potatoes have a lot of it.

4. Don’t Feed Them to Obese or Diabetic Dogs

Sweet potatoes contain lots of carbohydrates and can cause a sugar spike in your dog’s bloodstream, which can lead to diabetes.  If your pet is overweight or diabetic, you should avoid feeding sweet potatoes altogether.

There is plenty of other natural food available as alternatives, although it might take some research and familiarization on your end. Still, there is also a wide array of scientifically formulated and manufactured dog food out there that would be safe and healthy to serve. If you’re looking for a quick guide for choosing the right product for your pooch, check out this complete review.

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5. Don’t Feed It to a Dog That Has a Sensitive Stomach

If your furry friend has had a long history of digestion problems, feeding it sweet potatoes might not be a good idea. The starch in sweet potatoes causes digestive upset and can cause bloating and diarrhea.

6. Don’t Feed Them Canned Sweet Potatoes

Canned sweet potatoes are usually soaked in a bath of sweeteners and preservatives that can be harmful to your dogs.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes for Your Dogs

As with humans, sweet potatoes offer a wide array of nutritional advantages to your dog if served in the right way and the right amounts.

Dietary Fiber

Sweet potatoes contain a high amount of fiber. According to the studies, this type of fiber can help keep your dog’s digestive system running smoothly and help reduce any diarrhea or constipation.

Complex Carbohydrates

Sweet potatoes fall into the classification of good carbs because of their low-calorie nature. It’s an excellent way to ensure your dog gets the energy it needs all day long.

Low-Fat Content

Sweet potato can be used sparingly as an alternative to other foods such as beef or chicken that might contain too much fat or cholesterol for your dog’s health. This also makes this root crop an appealing food option for dogs with severe weight issues.

Vitamin A

This vitamin helps promote good vision and skin care in dogs. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy eyesight, especially for aging dogs.

Folate

Folate belongs to B vitamin class. It supports the body’s immune system and prevent mental disorders such as depression or mania in dogs with sensitive digestive systems.

Vitamin C

Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C, which plays an important role in the maintenance of normal blood pressure levels. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production keeping their skin strong and elastic and repairing damaged tissues.

It also helps fight infections by killing bacteria that cause them or by stimulating white blood cells to destroy them before they can spread through your dog’s body.

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Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 gets the red blood cells moving which helps to distribute oxygen to cells and tissues. It also boosts immune function and glucose production. Dogs with diabetes, who require stable blood sugar levels, benefit greatly from this vitamin.

Potassium

Potassium is critical for maintaining the proper fluid balance in your dog’s body and maintaining nerve and muscle function. It’s also needed for blood pressure regulation, as well as helping to regulate insulin levels.

Calcium

Calcium is a mineral that plays an enormous role in bone growth and development, making it one of the most essential nutrients that dogs need to stay vital and strong. Sweet potatoes contain plenty of calcium, so they can be a great source of this mineral in your dog’s diet.

Iron

As we’re well aware, iron deficiency leads to anemia, which causes fatigue, weakness, and pale gums. An iron-deficient canine may also have problems with its liver or pancreas. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of iron for your dog.

Antioxidants

Sweet potatoes have a wealth of antioxidants, which help resist free radical damage in your dog’s body. Antioxidants help your dog stay young, healthy, and energetic.

How Can I Prepare Sweet Potatoes for My Dog?

As mentioned, you should always cook sweet potatoes before serving them to your dog. Sweet potatoes are highly versatile. You can make sweet potato dog treats, bake them in the oven, or even boil them and then mash them up. Try testing various options to see which one your dog likes best.

Take note, however, that although sweet potato fries and chips might be fine for humans, they’re not exactly advised for your pets. The added oil from frying and the sprinkles of sugar might do more harm than good.

You should also avoid serving sweet potatoes with the skin on them because while it’s not poisonous to dogs, they don’t digest it well, causing unwanted stomach upsets and constipation.

Blending sweet potatoes with other fruits and vegetables is a terrific way to give your dog a nutritional boost. Combine them with strawberries, raspberries, broccoli, and bananas, or blend them with plain yogurt for a simple summer treat.

Also, because certain dogs are known to “inhale” their meal, ensuring that the sweet potato is mushy reduces the risk of choking.

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How Much Sweet Potato Can a Dog Eat?

As it is with any food, it’s always about moderation. The amount provided should be determined by a number of factors, including your dog’s size, degree of activity, and overall health. As they say, too many treats make a puppy sick. Excess Vitamin A, for example, can lead to bone and muscle deterioration.

Needless to say, excessive carbs are dangerous to your pet as well. In the first place, carbohydrates should not be a dog’s primary source of energy. Dogs constantly need a healthy amount of animal protein in their daily diet. To err to the side of caution, consider asking your veterinarian before introducing sweet potatoes to your dog.

Conclusion

Overall, sweet potato is not toxic to dogs given that it is cooked properly and served in moderation. These tubers are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, making them an ideal treat for your furry friends. 

Even though sweet potato is often thought of as a “superfood,” it’s still a type of vegetable that should be handled with care. Dogs have different nutritional needs from the rest of us, and what’s ideal for one dog might not work for another. Reach out to your vet if you have any concerns about introducing sweet potatoes into your dog’s diet.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Can my dog eat sweet potato skin?

Although technically not toxic for dogs, the molecular structure of sweet potato skin can be very difficult for a dog’s stomach to digest. Feeding them sweet potato skin can cause stomach upsets and indigestion.

Can sweet potatoes help my dog poop?

Yes. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, making them very effective for helping your dog move its bowels.

How should I cook sweet potatoes for my dog?

You can either bake or boil the sweet potatoes, but never fry them for your dogs. You can serve them mashed, blended, or cut into bite-size cubes.

Can I give my dog sweet potatoes everyday?

Serving sweet potatoes as treats everyday should be fine, as long as you ration the amount. Remember that too much of it can spike your dog’s blood sugar to unhealthy levels.

Which is better for dogs, pumpkin or sweet potato?

Both vegetables have pretty much the same nutrients, but pumpkin has more fiber and water, making it easier to digest than sweet potatoes. You can use both vegetables sparingly.

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