Potatoes are a staple food for many households, thanks in part to their affordability and diversity. Potatoes can be baked, fried, mashed, and stewed. And they’re a favorite when turned into French fries and hash browns.
As a dog owner, you have probably been begged for a bite of potato or a French fry by your furry family member more than once in the past. So, you may be wondering if those potato snacks you’ve snuck your pooch are OK? The short answer to whether dogs can eat potatoes is a resounding yes – as long as the potatoes are cooked. Raw potatoes are a no-no.
The Dangers of Raw Potatoes for Dogs
Raw potatoes contain a compound called solanine, which is toxic to dogs when ingested. Your pooch would likely have to eat their weight in raw potatoes to truly be poisoned by the solanine in them. But eating even just a few bites of raw potato or potato plant can result in food poisoning symptoms. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal irritation.
Raw potatoes are also hard for many dogs to digest. So, even if they don’t get poisoned by solanine, they could end up with an upset belly and problems going to the bathroom for a day or two after snacking on a raw potato or two.
The Benefits of Cooked Potatoes for Dogs
When potatoes get cooked, they lose most of their solanine content. So, you don’t have to worry about your dog being poisoned when sharing your cooked potato. In fact, potatoes are filled with nutrients that are beneficial to the overall health of dogs, no matter their size or breed. This delicious whole food is filled with phytonutrients such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which serve as an anti-inflammatory for dogs and can even help them more effectively fight off cancer.
The phytonutrients found in potatoes can also help older dogs maintain their muscle strength as time goes on. Potatoes also contain a host of vitamins and minerals that will support your dog’s overall health. When prepared without the addition of fat and salt, potatoes are a low-calorie snack that dogs of all ages and weights can enjoy.
Things to Consider when Feeding Potatoes to Dogs
Not all potatoes are created equal. While plain-baked, steamed, or mashed potatoes are a healthy snack option to consider offering your dog, other options such as fried potatoes, fries, and stuffed potatoes should be avoided. Added oil and butter could end up causing a weight gain problem for your dog, especially if they aren’t particularly active throughout the day. And processed fats aren’t really good for the health of humans, let alone dogs. Oils and butter can clog blood vessels and create problems like diabetes just like in humans.
And while dogs do need salt in their diet to stay healthy, too much salt can become a problem and result in issues like nausea and dehydration. So, salty potatoes aren’t the best choice for your pooch. There’s no need to worry about the occasional French fry, but your dog should be offered plain-cooked potatoes whenever you feel like sharing some of this hearty vegetable.
Creative Ways to Feed Potatoes to Your Dog
Breaking up a cooled baked potato and simply feeding it to your dog is fine. But if you’re going to do through the trouble of making a potato for your dog, you may as well be a little creative during the process. Getting creative will be fun for you and your dog will love trying their potato snacks in a variety of different ways. Consider trying one or more of these options:
Serve your pooch a potato pancake with their breakfast for an extra hit of nutrition by simply mashing a boiled potato then forming the potato mixture into a pancake. Then place the pancake in your oven and cook it at about 350 degrees until it starts to brown. Once cooled, put the pancake underneath your dog’s regular good before serving breakfast.
Just because your dog shouldn’t eat your fast food fries doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy a few homemade fries for a snack. Just slice a potato into wedges and then toss them in the oven until the wedges are cooked through. If you want to spruce the fries up and increase their nutritional value, you can coat the fries in nutritional yeast after baking them and before serving them. Nutritional yeast is loaded with potassium, zinc, copper, and B vitamins that are all an essential part of your dog’s diet. And your dog will love the cheesy flavor that nutritional yeast is so well known for.
Peanut Butter Potato Treats
With just some potatoes and peanut butter, you can bake your own tasty and healthy homemade treats to feed your dog and stop spending money on treats at the store. After boiling a couple of potatoes and letting them cool, mash them together with a tablespoon of peanut butter.
Once thoroughly combined, roll a tablespoon of mixture in the palm of your hands to create a bite-sized ball. Repeat the process until all of the dough has been used up, then bake the balls at 275 degrees for about 15 minutes or until they start to brown. After the balls have cooled, you can store them in an airtight container for safekeeping.
Potatoes are a healthy whole food treat option, but they’re also time-consuming to prepare. Therefore, whether or not you decide to feed potatoes to your dog really comes down to your own personal feelings and preference. It’s always a good idea to consult your physician when you’re planning to introduce new foods into your dog’s diet regularly. But if you don’t plan to share more than a fry or a bite of mashed potato to your dog occasionally, there’s no need to contact your vet.
Let us know how you feel about sharing potatoes with your pooch in the comment below. We’d love to hear from you!
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