Update: Recent research has suggested that potatoes, while not poisonous, may not be appropriate for a dog’s everyday diet. From the UC Davis School of Medicine: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued an alert about reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. DCM is a disease of the heart muscle that leads to reduced heart pumping function and increased heart size. The alterations in heart function and structure can result in severe consequences such as congestive heart failure or sudden cardiac death. While the most common cause of DCM is genetic, on rare occasions other factors can also result in the condition, particularly in breeds that are not frequently affected.”
The humble potato is the key ingredient in French fries, hash browns, tater tots, and many other essential comfort foods. When prepared in a healthy way, white potatoes can be a nutritious food for humans, but can dogs eat potatoes?
The answer is: it depends. They do contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, and many other vitamins and nutrients that dogs need. But if you don’t prepare them properly, or you feed your dog too many, there could be adverse health effects.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes?
You should never feed your dog a raw potato. White potatoes belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which includes tomatoes; like tomatoes, raw potatoes contain solanine, a compound that is toxic to some dogs. However, cooking a potato reduces the levels of solanine.
If you do feed your dog a potato, it should be baked or boiled, with nothing added to it. Potatoes fried in oil, such as French fries or potato chips, or potatoes with butter or salt added to them are not healthy for dogs. If your canine companion has diabetes, they should not be given potatoes, which can cause blood sugar spikes.
A dog’s body is designed to get most of its nutrients from animal protein, so if you decide to feed your pup baked or boiled potatoes, it should be done in moderation. Giving a dog too many carbohydrates can result in obesity or other health problems.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are a healthier option than white potatoes because they are much more nutritious. They contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron, among other nutrients.
Every dog is different, so start with just a small amount of potato to make sure your dog has no problem digesting it. You should always consult your veterinarian before introducing a new food into your pup’s diet.
Here at the AKC, we field many queries from anxious dog owners about what is and isn’t safe for their canine companions to eat. Questions range from the obvious (“Can dogs eat cheese?”) to the trendy (“Can dogs eat avocado?”) Check out more “Can dogs eat…” articles on AKC.org to see which foods are harmful to your dog, including cherries and onions.