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Can I give my dog potatoes

It's no secret that potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in western culture. 

But can dogs eat potatoes, and are potatoes for dogs safe to consume? 

Are there any benefits or side effects from feeding potatoes to dogs? 

In this article, we'll explore everything you must know.

If you've been wondering, “can I give my dog potatoes,” the short answer is yes – dogs can eat potatoes, but there's more to this that pet owners must be aware of.

In fact, potatoes, as a carb-loaded vegetable, can often be found on many dinner plates and in many dog foods. 

But are potatoes essential in the dog's diet?

What are potatoes?

A potato is an underground tuber plant that is very high in starch. 

As a member of the nightshade family (or Solanaceae), it tends to be rounded in shape with red or brown skin.

Potatoes are used for food in various ways, often baked, boiled, fried, and roasted in the human diet. 

For dogs, not all these cooking methods are recommended.

This is what regular potatoes (russet) look like:

What do potatoes look like

Potatoes are rich in vitamins, particularly Vitamin C and potassium. 

They're commonly used to make potato chips, french fries, potato flour, and bread.

RECIPE: Homemade Sweet Potato Fries for Dogs

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Everything You Need To Know

Yes – it's safe for dogs to eat potatoes.

Dogs are omnivores and don't need many carbohydrates in their diet. 

Potatoes should be fed as occasional treats, not as a staple in your dog's diet.

Potatoes are also often used as a source of dietary fiber in many dog food brands (source).

It's best to give boiled potatoes to dogs over raw, fried, or deep-fried potatoes. 

Potato-based junk foods like french fries or potato chips are not healthy for dogs.

Here are the minerals and vitamins of potatoes that are most useful for dogs:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Potassium

These vitamins and minerals are the main reasons why feeding cooked potatoes to dogs (boiled) may be a good idea, as long as you do so in moderation. 

Let's discuss the health benefits of potatoes for dogs.

Benefits of Potatoes for Dogs
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4 Potential Health Benefits of Potatoes for Dogs

Potatoes for dogs are safe and may also give your canine several health benefits when fed in moderation.

I would caveat that this is assuming you already have them on a healthy, well-rounded diet.

Adding potatoes to a diet high in carbohydrates is not something I would recommend.

Make sure to find out how many carbohydrates your 

Here are four potential health benefits of potatoes for dogs:

Vitamin B6 helps with the formation of red blood cells.

Health benefits of potatoes for dogs

Potatoes are a good source of Vitamin B6 (also known as Pyridoxine).

Vitamin B6 is a class of B vitamins responsible for forming red blood cells in human and dog bodies.

Deficiencies of Vitamin B6 in dogs can result in several health problems.

Vitamin C strengthens and improves the immune system.

There's also a good amount of Vitamin C in potatoes.

As a water-soluble vitamin, Vitamin C promotes the function of white blood cells, which strengthens your dog’s immune system. There are many other benefits of ensuring your dog has an adequate supply of Vitamin C from food.

Potatoes contain iron for healthy body function.

Potatoes contain a small amount of iron.

Some enzymes in the dog's body require iron to perform their functions. 

Iron is also needed to create hemoglobin, a molecule in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen. 

It's essential for the dog's overall well-being.

Still, it's also important not to overdose on your dog on iron consumption.

Potatoes contain potassium, an essential mineral.

Another essential mineral found in potatoes is potassium.

Potassium keeps blood vessel function in order in the dog's body, replaces lost electrolytes, and strengthens a dog's muscle development. 

It may also improve dogs' heart health based on human studies (however, it hasn't been tested with dogs).

“So can I give my dog potatoes?”

Yes, you can give your dogs potatoes, as long as they are cooked (boiled) and fed in moderation and as part of a well-balanced and healthy dog diet.

Why in moderation? 

Because of their high starch level, too many potatoes can lead to potential health issues in dogs. 

These health conditions range from mild to severe, and I'll explain some of the side effects of potatoes for dogs below. 

“Can I give my dog potatoes from the garden?”

No, you cannot give your dog potatoes if they're just from the garden (meaning raw). 

Potatoes must be cooked (boiled) before you can feed them to your dog.

Bottom line: Cooked potatoes are safe for your dog to eat, as long as they are not fed as a central part of your dog's diet and given in moderation.

READ ALSO: Can Dogs Eat Bananas?

3 Potential Side Effects of Potatoes for Dogs

Can I give my dog potato french fries?

Unless ingested in excessive amounts, potatoes have no side effects for dogs.

As discussed above, potatoes are safe for dogs to consume in moderation. 

If you make potatoes a staple of your dog's diet, the following health conditions may develop.

1. Pancreatitis

A carbohydrate-heavy diet can lead to illnesses in dogs like pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.

The pancreas is incapable of breaking down sodium and fats and functioning correctly.

Dogs with pancreatitis suffer from pain and discomfort. The stomach may be distended and tender; vomiting may occur if the dog attempts to eat.

Pancreatitis requires a dog to be hospitalized and given antibiotics, IV fluids, and pain medications for recovery.

As long as you give potatoes to dogs in moderate amounts, there will be no risk of this.

2. Obesity

Potatoes are comparatively high in calories and extremely high in carbohydrates.

Giving dogs too many complex, starch-heavy carbohydrates in their diet, like potatoes, is a leading cause of weight gain in dogs.

That weight gain may lead to illnesses and diseases as your dog ages, so make sure to give potatoes to dogs in moderation.

3. Diabetes

Diabetes in dogs is closely related to obesity.

A dog's body recognizes carbohydrates as sugars and then stores them as fat.

The simple and complex carbohydrates can wreak havoc on a dog's blood glucose, eventually leading to illnesses such as canine diabetes.

As long as you don't overfeed your dogs, there should be no problems.

More on Potatoes for Dogs
A Safety Precaution

Can I give my dog potatoes from the garden?

Unless fed in excessive amounts, giving cooked potatoes to dogs is totally safe; however, pet owners must keep a few things in mind.

Raw, unripe potatoes are different as they can be toxic to dogs.

Also, you cannot feed your dog the potato's stem, leaves, or skin.

They contain a poison called solanine (found in most nightshade family vegetables).

Below are side effects that your dog may experience if he happens to ingest solanine poison from potato skin, stem, or leaves:

  • Slowed heart rate
  • Blurred vision
  • Obstruction of digestion
  • Stomach upset
  • Negative impact on the nervous system

Pet owners who grow their own potatoes must be especially wary. 

Keep a close eye on your dog if he's near your vegetable garden, and ensure that uncooked potatoes are out of your dog's reach in the kitchen.

Steer clear of potatoes in junk food form at all costs.

Plain, cooked potatoes for dogs are fine in small amounts, but potatoes in junk food (such as processed french fries, hash browns, etc.) are not. 

Salts, spices, seasonings, and frying oils are used with junk food potatoes and are not appropriate for a dog.

Never feed your dog any of these junk foods:

  • French fries
  • Loaded baked potatoes (sour cream, butter, cheese)
  • Potato skins
  • Potato chips
  • Potato pies

These foods can upset your dog's stomach and, if fed in large amounts over periods, can result in weight gain, several diseases, and even death.

FAQs On Can Dogs Eat Potatoes

Can dogs have potato starch?

Yes, this is a great supplement for dogs and especially puppies as well.

Potato starch can aid in making other food easier for them to digest.

Can dogs have russet potatoes?

Yes, any potato is fine, however, make sure the potato is cooked through.

Any potatoes (no skin!) are fine for your dog to enjoy in moderation.

Can dogs eat potato skins?

It's recommended that you don't feed your dog potato skins.

Potato skins contain compounds known as oxalates which can strain their kidneys in high contents.

Make sure to NEVER feed your dog raw potato either. First, they cannot digest raw potatoes as easily, so it may cause risk of intestinal blockage.

Second, raw potato contains solanine which is very toxic to dogs.

Can dogs eat fried potatoes?

While they can eat it, a good dog owner should never feed their dog fried anything. It is not healthy at all.

For us that extra saturated fat would be fine here and there, but since dogs are smaller, that's a lot for them.

They will put on weight much faster than we would.

Obesity can lead to heart, back, and joint problems.

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Summary

Yes, you can give your dog potatoes as long as they are cooked.

Cooked, plain potatoes in tiny amounts are safe for dogs to eat in moderation.

However, don't make potatoes a regular part of your dog's diet. 

Keep your canine's future health in mind by feeding him other vegetables that provide more nutrients and fewer calories.

READ NEXT: 11 Best Superfoods for Dogs That May Improve Their Health

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Can Dogs Eat Potatoes