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Can Dogs Eat Potato Chips? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Better Alternatives

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Most dogs will eat just about anything. Most of the time, they don’t bother waiting around for permission when some yummy food has been left unattended in their vicinity. So, as a dog owner, you have probably found your dog eating a potato chip or two that the kids have dropped on the ground or that were left behind on the table. But should dogs eat potato chips? This is a question every pet parent should ask themselves. The answer is that dogs shouldn’t eat potato chips like humans do. Read on to learn more about why you should keep potato chips away from your pup.

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Why Are Potato Chips So Bad for Dogs?

The biggest reason that dogs should not eat potato chips is their high-calorie content. Potato chips are mostly fat with carbohydrates, and they are typically fried in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, which isn’t particularly healthy. Dogs need healthy fats to thrive, but they don’t need the processed fats that are found in potato chips. In fact, eating too much fat can result in obesity, which is a predisposing factor for diabetes and other health problems for dogs.

There’s also the fact that many types of potato chips are flavored with spices, herbs, and even artificial flavors that could irritate your dog’s digestive system. Certain spices and herbs, such as onion, garlic, and chives, in your potato chips could even be poisonous to your pup.

Another consideration is the salt content. Dogs do need a little salt in their diet to maintain their good health. But most potato chips are loaded with salt to make them delicious and addictive, which is why you don’t want to stop after eating just one or two. That amount of salt could mean serious trouble for a small dog if they get into the chip bag.

At just 2–3 grams of salt per kilogram of body weight, a dog can suffer health risks. Too much salt intake could lead to problems like diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and even death in the most severe cases. Since dogs should already get enough salt in their diets, any other heavily salted human food that you give your pup could tip the scales toward the danger zone of salt intake.

Another reason potato chips aren’t great snack options for your dog is simply that they lack the healthy protein sources that a dog needs to thrive.

different types of potato chips
Image: Good Free Photos

What Are the Alternatives to Potato Chips?

If you feel too guilty to not share, you should know that plain cooked potato in moderation won’t be a problem for your canine. It can be a source of carbohydrates that a facultative or opportunistic carnivore like a dog can get nutrition from. You can steam, bake, or mash plain potatoes for your dog to enjoy while you’re munching on your potato chips.

Another safe alternative to potato chips is air-popped popcorn, made without salt or butter. Your dog will benefit from the fiber, iron, carbohydrates, and small amount of protein in popcorn. Even when it’s only offered in moderation, your dog won’t feel left out while your family is enjoying a bag of potato chips together.

You can even make your own potato chips at home to share with your pup. Just wash and slice a few potatoes, toss them in just 1 teaspoon of oil, then bake the slices at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until they crisp up. You can feed some of the homemade chips to your dog plain and toss the rest in salt and other spices for your human family members to enjoy.

husky watching girl eat chips
Image Credit: JulieK2, Shutterstock

Our Final Thoughts

If your dog eats a potato chip or two, there really isn’t anything to worry about. But you should keep an eye out for signs of an upset belly, diarrhea, and nausea for a while afterward. If you do notice any signs of distress, contact your vet for guidance. But generally, dogs can handle an occasional chip without experiencing any detrimental side effects. It’s always best to simply keep the potato chips away from your pup and offer them something else that is tasty and appropriate to snack on instead.

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Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

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