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 sneaked to your pooch are okay. The short answer as 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, green 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. Still, pet parents should keep in mind that raw green potatoes can cause solanine intoxication, both in you and your dog. In canines, the signs to watch out for include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
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 a source of carbohydrates and in moderation, can be beneficial to your dogs, no matter their size or breed. This delicious whole food contains phytonutrients1 like flavonoids and carotenoids, which serve as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories for dogs. removed the last part of this sentence.
That said, a dog’s diet should be based mainly on protein, and potatoes don’t have much of this nutrient. Considering that most dry dog food is already high in carbohydrates, potatoes are not treats that add to their nutrition. However, they can be used as part of a balanced dog food recipe.
Things to Consider When Feeding Potatoes to Dogs
Not all potatoes are created equal. While plain-baked, steamed, or mashed potatoes are healthy snack options 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. Oils and butter are calorie-dense and can quickly result in weight gain.
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 a small piece to your dog is fine. But if you’re going to go through the trouble of making a potato for your dog, you may as well be a little creative during the process. It 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:
1. Potato Pancakes
Serve your pooch a potato pancake with their breakfast for an extra hit of nutrition by simply mashing a boiled potato and then forming the potato mixture into a pancake. Then place the pancake in your oven, and cook it at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit until it starts to brown. Once cooled, put the pancake underneath your dog’s regular food when serving breakfast.
2. Healthy Fries
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, which 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.
3. 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. Ensure that the peanut butter is plain and unsalted and doesn’t have any extra sugar or artificial sweeteners. 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 Fahrenheit 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 preferences. It’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian 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 with 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!