Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?

Key takeaway

Potatoes are non-toxic to dogs but should only be fed in moderation. Additionally, not all potatoes are safe. Cooked sweet potatoes and white potatoes are the only safe potatoes you should share with your dog. Other food products made from potatoes, like chips, french fries, and hashbrowns, should be avoided.

Potatoes are a delicious comfort food. From french fries and hash browns to a good old-fashioned baked potato, there are many ways to eat potatoes. They're a staple in many home-cooked meals but starchy and full of carbs, so they're not always the healthiest vegetable to include in your dinner. 

When cooking potatoes at home, your canine companion might seem interested or even beg for your food while you're eating, so you might wonder, "Can dogs eat potatoes?" The short answer is yes, dogs can eat potatoes. Potatoes are non-toxic, but that doesn't mean they're healthy. 

While potatoes contain beneficial nutrients, including vitamins C and B6 and essential minerals, they're not a necessary part of your dog's diet.1 Instead, your dog should already be getting those vitamins and minerals from their regular wet food or kibble. Of course, potatoes are already used in many commercial pet foods, but that doesn't mean they're the healthiest ingredient. Potatoes are used as fillers in pet foods as a way for brands to bulk up the food and limit the amount of more expensive nutritional products they use, such as proteins. Unfortunately, potatoes are starchy, and recent reports have linked these filler ingredients to heart disease in dogs.2

Potatoes are generally safe when fed to dogs in moderation. Therefore, if you want to share a few bites of potato with your animal friend, they just need to be prepared properly. 

Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes?

White potatoes contain solanine and are toxic to dogs when raw

While potatoes are non-toxic, they're not healthy and don't provide dogs with any nutritional benefit. But are potatoes bad for dogs? It depends. Dogs should not eat raw potatoes as they can be toxic. White potatoes are part of the nightshade family, which consists of other vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, and some spices like paprika.3 These types of vegetables contain a compound called solanine that can hinder nerve impulses and cause damage to cell membranes, ultimately leading to toxicity in dogs and humans in large quantities. In addition, your dog should stay away from any potato plants because they contain the same compound.1 Of course, it takes less of this toxin to affect your dog than it does for you, so dogs should eat considerably less than humans to avoid poisoning. 

Green potatoes are also toxic because they contain a natural toxicant called chaconine, which is responsible for their bitter taste.4 Your dog should also avoid raw sweet potatoes because even though they're non-toxic, they're difficult to chew and digest. In some cases, they can cause intestinal blockages that damage the intestines and can cause bowel rupture or tissue damage to the intestinal wall.5

Intestinal blockages are life-threatening and must be treated as soon as possible. If a dog cannot pass a blockage on their own, they'll likely require surgery under anesthesia.6 Therefore, it's better to err on the side of caution and prevent your dog from eating raw potatoes of any kind. 

Potato skin, green potatoes, and potato plants are also toxic to dogs

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate A Raw Potato?

As we've already discussed, raw potatoes can be dangerous to dogs, but whether or not you take them to the vet depends on how much they eat. Eating a single raw potato from your garden is unlikely to cause any serious health issues, especially in otherwise healthy dogs. However, since small dogs are more susceptible to solanine and chaconine, it's wise to take your dog to the vet after they consume anything that could be potentially toxic.

Reactions to raw potatoes depend on your dog's size, age, health, and how much they ate. While most dogs should be fine after consuming a small portion of raw potato, you should still monitor them for signs of a bad reaction, including behavioral or medical symptoms. 

For example, solanine can cause hypersalivation, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, drowsiness, central nervous system depression, confusion, weakness, and a slower heart rate.7 Additionally, eating raw potatoes can cause mild GI upset, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea, especially in dogs with sensitive stomachs. If your dog is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for guidance at (888) 426-4435. 

Solanine toxicity symptoms in dogs

While some dogs may experience mild GI upset, which their bodies will expel on their own, others may require supportive therapy in the form of IV fluids, electrolytes, and intestinal protectants.8 

What Kinds Of Potatoes Can Dogs Eat?

Now that you understand that dogs should not eat raw potatoes, green potatoes, or the potato plant, you might wonder, "Can dogs eat cooked potatoes?" The answer is yes; Dogs can eat white and sweet potatoes as long as they're properly cooked. 

Cooked White Potato

Cooked white potatoes are non-toxic to dogs, but you shouldn't prepare them like you would for yourself. If you want to share cooked white potatoes with your dog, they should be well-cooked without butter or additional seasonings and toppings. That means no sour cream, either. Cooked white potatoes aren't the healthiest snack, but some dogs should avoid them completely. For example, dogs with diabetes and those on restricted diets should avoid cooked white potatoes because they can cause potentially dangerous blood sugar spikes.

Cooked Sweet Potato

If you love sweet potatoes, you may want to share some with your dog. Cooked sweet potatoes contain more nutrients than white potatoes, making them a healthier option for dogs.9 

If you want to cook sweet potatoes for your dog, you can boil, steam, bake, or dehydrate them. However, you shouldn't cook them with any other ingredients or spices. Similar to white potatoes, some dogs shouldn't eat sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes, but diabetic dogs should still avoid them unless otherwise approved by a vet. 9

These are the only two types of potatoes dogs can eat. There are many foods dogs should not eat that are made from potatoes, including potato chips, french fries, hash browns, and seasoned mashed potatoes. These foods are made with added ingredients that are unhealthy for dogs and contain potentially dangerous amounts of fat and salt. Of course, you can make your dog mashed potatoes at home by mashing up cooked potatoes, which may be ideal for dogs experiencing tooth pain or those that prefer softer foods. 

You should always remove the skin when preparing cooked potatoes for your dog.9 While potato skins are a good source of fiber, they can be difficult for dogs to digest and cause mild digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. 

Are Potatoes Good For Dogs?

Now you have the answer to your question, "Can dogs have potatoes?" But are potatoes good for dogs? Not necessarily; they're non-toxic, so they won't cause health issues when served properly. Even though potatoes, especially sweet potatoes, contain essential vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for dogs, they're not a necessary part of a dog's diet. Your dog is already getting every nutrient they need for their health from their regular dog food, so potatoes don't offer them any additional nutritional benefit. 

It's normal for pet parents to want to share some of their food with their pets. If you're going to give your dog potatoes, don't overdo it; moderation is key when sharing non-toxic human foods with your dog. Eating in excess of their daily calories can lead to weight gain, but potatoes may impact your dog's health in other ways. There have been reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating particular foods that contain potatoes, among other ingredients.2 DCM is a type of heart condition that leads to a reduction in heart pumping and increased heart size, altering functions in the heart, which can be lethal.2

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?: FAQs

How much potato can I feed my dog?

How much potato you feed your dog depends on several factors, including their current health, age, and size. For example, dogs suffering from diabetes should not eat any type of potato. However, healthy dogs can consume potatoes in moderation. Ultimately, treats, including regular pet treats and human food, should not make up more than 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake. Overfeeding your dog can lead to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. 

Can I feed my dog fries?

French fries are not recommended for dogs. While eating one likely won't cause adverse reactions in dogs, french fries are high in carbs, fat, and salt, which can lead to weight gain. Additionally, too much salt can cause dehydration and GI issues in dogs. 

What human foods can dogs eat?

Many human foods are safe for dogs, but some are healthier than others. Human foods you can feed your dog include:

  • Carrots: Carrots are healthy, low-calorie, and crunchy snacks dogs can enjoy raw or cooked. 
  • Apples: Apples are another healthy and delicious treat for dogs, but they contain sugar. When feeding apples to your dog, always remove the pit and seeds, which contain trace amounts of cyanide. 
  • Fish: Fish is an excellent source of protein for dogs, but it must be cooked and served without any seasonings. 
  • Chicken: Plain, boiled chicken is another great protein option for dogs, and it's gentle on the stomach. 
  • Peanut butter: Many dogs love peanut butter, but just ensure it doesn't contain any xylitol. 
  • Pumpkin: Canned pumpkin is another delicious treat for dogs and may help improve digestion.  

Before feeding your pet anything new, it's best to get your vet's approval since dogs with some health conditions shouldn't eat any human foods. 

Dog licking potatoes in owner’s hands

Final Notes

Dogs can eat potatoes, but it depends on the type. You should only feed your dog plain cooked white or sweet potatoes; anything else can be toxic to them. Potatoes are starchy and loaded with carbs, so your dog should only eat them in moderation to prevent weight gain and potential GI side effects. When feeding your dog cooked potato for the first time, remove the skin and give them a small piece rather than the entire potato. 

Ultimately, dogs don't need potatoes in their diets because they already get all the essential nutrients they need from their regular dog food. Talk to a Dutch vet if you're worried about what your dog eats or have questions about dog nutrition. We provide online vet care to help you get answers to your questions quickly and from the comfort of your own home. 

References

  1. Ripley, Katherine. “Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?” American Kennel Club, 24 Aug. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-potatoes/.
  2. Wood, Trina. “UC Davis Investigates Link between Dog Diets and Deadly Heart Disease.” School of Veterinary Medicine, 5 Dec. 2020, https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/news/uc-davis-investigates-link-between-dog-diets-and-deadly-heart-disease.

  3. “What's the Deal with Nightshade Vegetables?” Cleveland Clinic, 9 Oct. 2020, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/whats-the-deal-with-nightshade-vegetables/.

  4. Solanine and Chaconine (Who Food Additives Series 30), https://inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v30je19.htm.

  5. Anastasio, Alexandra. “Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes? Are Sweet Potatoes Good for Dogs?” American Kennel Club, 17 Nov. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-sweet-potatoes/.

  6. “Dog Intestinal Blockage.” PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_multi_gastrointestinal_obstruction.

  7. “Deadly Nightshade.” ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/deadly-nightshade.

  8. Guide to Poisonous Plants – College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences – Colorado State University, https://csuvth.colostate.edu/poisonous_plants/Plants/Details/90.

  9. “Can Dogs Eat Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes?” PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/healthy-foods-checklist-sweet-potatoes-dogs.