Baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie… there’s so much you can do with this popular root vegetable. But, as with any food, you’ll want to do some research before deciding to share it with your dog.
Read on to learn more about sweet potatoes for dogs including their nutritional benefits, how to cook them, and how much you can give to your furry friend on a daily basis.
Are Sweet Potatoes Good for Dogs?
Sweet potatoes offer several health benefits to humans, especially when compared to standard white potatoes. If you often catch your pup gazing longingly at the sweet potatoes on your plate, you’re in for some good news: dogs can eat sweet potatoes!
The health benefits of sweet potatoes are similar for dogs: they’re a great source of fiber, they’re low in fat, and they’re rich in vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron, and beta-carotene, sweet potatoes can certainly make a healthy, tasty snack for your dog.
That said, we recommend checking with your vet before deciding to add any new foods to your dog’s diet—sweet potatoes included. This is especially important for dogs who are overweight or have blood sugar issues, as sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates, and starchy foods can rapidly raise blood sugar levels.
How to Cook Sweet Potatoes for Dogs
When feeding sweet potatoes to your dog, always make sure they’re fully cooked and the skin is removed for easier digestion. This is especially important if your dog tends to eat quickly, as cooked sweet potatoes become less of a choking hazard when softened.
Safe snack options for dogs include boiled, baked, steamed, or dehydrated sweet potatoes. It may take some trial and error to find your dog’s favorite style of sweet potato, but there are plenty of options out there. For example, you can give Fido a piece of dried sweet potato as a treat, or mix steamed or boiled sweet potato into his bowl of kibble for added flavor and nutrition.
Can Dogs Eat White Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are known for being the healthier alternative to white potatoes. However, this doesn’t mean “regular” potatoes need to be completely ruled out from your dog’s diet. In fact, potatoes are a common source of carbohydrates in commercial dog foods, especially grain-free options.
Raw potatoes, like raw sweet potatoes, can be toxic for dogs. This is because they contain a compound called solanine, which is reduced to safe amounts after cooking. While cooked potatoes can be safe for canine consumption, keep in mind that many foods and dishes made with potatoes include other harmful ingredients.
Long story short: if you do decide to give your dog a taste of white potato, it must be cooked with no added ingredients. This means no potato chips, fries, or mashed potatoes which contain added fat and salt.
As a precaution, dogs with blood sugar issues should avoid white potatoes altogether.
Moderation is Key
As with any food, it’s important to remember that moderation is key. Sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates, which shouldn’t make up too much of your dog’s diet.
The amount of sweet potato you give your dog should be based on several factors including his size, weight, activity level, and overall health. For best results, talk to your vet for an individualized nutrition plan for your pooch.
When you first start feeding sweet potatoes to your dog, start small—we’re talking a teaspoon or tablespoon. Adapting to new foods should always be a gradual process, especially for pups with sensitive stomachs. Monitor your dog’s response to the food, checking for any signs of an upset stomach or food allergies. Of course, you’ll also want to find out whether Fido is a fan of sweet potato in the first place!
As a general rule of thumb, think of sweet potatoes as dog treats rather than dog food. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your pup’s daily calorie intake, and this includes calories from sweet potatoes.