Can Dogs Eat Yams? What You Need To Know!

Yams are packed full of nutrients and do not contain any toxins. Your dog can eat them, and they are included in many different dog foods as well. Many dog food companies choose to use them because they are a cost-effective way to add specific vitamins to your pet’s diet. They are not incredibly expensive!

However, just because you may find some yams in your dog’s food doesn’t mean you should feed your dogs with yams regularly. Not all yams are healthy for dogs, and like with everything, there is a limit.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about yams and feeding them to your canine.

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Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato
Image Credit: mahirart, Shutterstock

Yams are not the same as sweet potatoes. If you’re going to correctly use the information in this article, you need to ensure that you’re dealing with an actual yam and not a sweet potato.

Yams are generally rarer than sweet potatoes in the western world. In most cases, you’re going to be dealing with a sweet potato. When in doubt, assume it is a sweet potato.

It is difficult to tell a potato and a yam apart when only looking at them. Yams usually have rough and dark skin, but the inside of yam can look like nearly anything. It can be red to white – just like a sweet potato. Yams also aren’t very sweet, so you can sometimes taste them to tell the difference.

Luckily, sweet potatoes are safe for dogs for the most part. So, if you mess up and identify the food as the wrong thing, you aren’t going to injure your dog or anything of that sort.

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Can Dogs Eat Raw Yams?

While cooked yams are entirely safe, there may be some problems with raw yams. Raw yams contain tannin, which can be toxic in large amounts. However, when cooked, these tannins are neutralized and are not a problem.

There aren’t that many tannins in raw yams. If your dog sneaks some raw yam peels out of the trash, there probably isn’t anything you should be worried about. Still, you should not feed your dog raw yams on purpose.

West Highland White Terrier dog at home eating_alejandro rodriguez_shutterstock
Image Credit: alejandro-rodriguez, Shutterstock

For the most part, the tannins are not going to be a problem for larger dogs, but a smaller dog may have more of an issue. They’re smaller, so it takes less to affect them.

On a separate note, uncooked yams are also choking hazards because they are not soft. If your dog tends to scarf down their food, hard yams may pose even more of a hazard.

In rare cases, yams may block the intestines, mostly when raw. If your dog eats a lot of raw yams, there is a possibility that they will have trouble digesting them, which can get them blocked up. They may not have any very adverse side effects, but they may experience stomach discomfort.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Yams?

Plain canned yams are fine. However, if stuff is added to the food, you do need to be careful regarding the added ingredients. Sometimes, sugar is added. Sugar can harm dogs, especially if they are smaller. Because of their lower body weight, it takes much less sugar to drive their blood sugar up than it takes for us.

You should also check for added preservatives and that sort of thing. Some of these ingredients aren’t very good for dogs, though not all are extremely adverse.

Check your canned yams for these issues. If they are just yams, then there shouldn’t be a problem.

A top view of a can of naturally moist and tasty canned yams
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Are Yams Good for Dogs?

In some situations, yams can be useful for dogs. They have plenty of nutrients and are even found in some dog foods. They are a suitable option for many different dogs.

Yams contain stuff like vitamins B6, C, and A. They are also high in dietary fiber, which some dogs may need added to their diet beyond what the average dog food offers. For example, overweight dogs that need to stay full longer may need to extra dietary fiber in their diet. Fiber takes forever to break down, so it sits around in the intestinal tract longer.

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Can I Feed My Dog Yams?

Yes, typically, there is no problem with feeding your dog yams. Unless your dog has some specific sensitivity, they can eat a bit of yam just fine. The problem arises when dogs overeat yam. They cannot live off of them and need things like meat in their diet as well.

However, if your dog sneaks some yams off the counter, there is no reason to be worried about it!