Health & Wellness
You’re hosting your annual family cookout, and the star dish is your signature potato salad. While chopping potatoes, you catch your dog’s eyes growing wider with every slice. Pause before giving them a bite, Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian, warns — not all potatoes are dog-friendly (especially if they’re seasoned with toxic ingredients like onions and garlic!). We’re breaking down everything pet parents need to know about how potatoes affect dogs’ health.
(Even though potatoes are generally safe for dogs, you should always consult your vet before introducing new foods to your pet’s diet.)
According to Dr. McCullough, potatoes are packed with various vitamins and minerals that can benefit a dog’s health. However, when they’re served as a treat, it’s not usually enough to significantly impact their overall health. Some of the benefits include:
Purple, red, white and sweet potatoes are generally safe for dogs to eat, Dr. McCullough says. Sweet potatoes are healthy for dogs because they’re packed with fiber and are low in fat. Additionally, sweet potatoes contain vitamins A, B6, C, calcium, potassium and iron.
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Raw potatoes aren’t toxic to dogs, but they should avoid them. Dr. McCullough says they can be a choking hazard for dogs and a risk for gastrointestinal blockage.
If the potato skin is green, (meaning they were exposed to sunlight), they can be very harmful to dogs — your pet should avoid these at all costs.
“Green potato skins contain solanine, a toxic compound,” Dr. McCullough says. “Ingestion of solanine typically results in stomach upset and belly pain or in severe cases coma and death.”
But, fresh potato skins are typically safe for dogs to eat as they are non-toxic, she adds.
Are you mixing up a bowl of steamy mashed potatoes? Dr. McCullough says it’s safe for dogs to eat as long as there’s no butter or seasonings, like onion and garlic.
While potatoes are generally safe for dogs to eat, unfortunately, potato salad isn’t. This is because most recipes contain ingredients like mayonnaise or salt that can cause dogs to have an upset stomach.
Dogs can enjoy potatoes that are baked or boiled and plain — so ditch the butter and seasonings (like onions and garlic!) if you’d like to give them a treat. Also, skip serving your dog fried potatoes because they’re usually high in fat. And while dogs are safe to enjoy bites of potatoes, Dr. McCullough explains that it shouldn’t be an everyday treat.
“Pet parents can offer potatoes to their pets sparingly, so it does not unbalance their main diet,” she says. “For specific amounts, pet parents should talk with their veterinarians about the appropriate amount to offer.”
Your veterinarian can tell you the proper serving size of potatoes for your pup — it usually depends on their age, size and health status. Generally, treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of a dog’s daily calories.
If your pup has an adverse reaction to potatoes, Dr. McCullough says to stop feeding them to your dog and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
We’re confident that potatoes aren’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat...” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.
The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.