Potatoes are a favorite food at any time of the year, and with winter approaching, from holiday foods to cozy stews, most of us are eating more potatoes in these cold months. When you heap some roasted potatoes on your plate, you might be tempted to share a chunk with your canine companion. But is it ok for dogs to eat potatoes? What about potato peels and sweet potatoes?
Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?
Yes, but only when they’re cooked. It’s not a good idea for your dog to eat raw potatoes. They belong to the nightshade family, which means they contain a substance called solanine that causes problems for dogs. Dog owners with vegetable gardens should make sure their dogs stay away from potato plants, too.
However, cooked, plain potatoes are fine for your dog, and many popular dog foods contain potato as an ingredient.
Can Dogs Eat Potato Skins?
A little potato skin is ok, but it’s better to share potatoes with the skin removed. Potato skins are high in oxalates, and if your dog gets a lot of oxalates (like if he eats half his weight in skin-on potatoes) that might cause some kidney problems.
Are Potatoes Healthy for My Dog?
Just like for humans, too many potatoes can cause constipation in dogs. Also, they’re high in carbohydrates, so they shouldn’t form a staple in a dog’s diet.
Sweet potatoes are a healthy and popular alternative to potatoes. They are higher in vitamins and dogs often love the sweet taste. Sweet potatoes do not contain the same toxin, so it’s not dangerous for a dog to chew on a raw sweet potato, although they are easier to digest when cooked.
People love to eat potatoes with lots of butter or cheese, or fried and salty. YUM. However, those preparations aren’t ideal for dogs. If you share the occasional French fry with your dog, it’s ok. But the extra salt and fat that we love to add to potatoes aren’t healthy for your dog, so keep those treats to a minimum.
Serve potatoes to dogs cooked and plain, either baked, steamed, or mashed.
- Next time you make mashed potatoes, whip up a separate bowl for your pup. Toss in boiled potatoes and a scoop of plain Greek yogurt, mash them together, and voila!
- Birthday pupcakes! Mix up some meatloaf muffins with ground beef or ground turkey, egg, and shredded carrot. Bake in a muffin tin and top with mashed potatoes. Use colorful dog-friendly fruits and veggies like sweet peas, beets, bell pepper, apples, and mango to decorate the cupcakes for your next puppy party.
- Cut thick slices of potato and make shapes using bone-shaped cookie cutters. Bake them until soft in the middle and use as treats or toppers for your dog’s regular dinner.
- Cooked potatoes are a perfect combo with other dog-friendly cooked veggies like carrots and sweet peas.
Can Eating Potatoes Be Dangerous for My Dog?
Dogs should avoid raw potatoes and potato plants. If you grow potatoes, it’s best to keep your dog away from the plants with a fence or other barrier. In the years I’ve grown potatoes in my garden, my dog has been very excited to get in on the digging action at harvest time. Did she wolf down a few golfball-sized raw potatoes? Yes. Did she barf them up an hour later? Yes, she certainly did.
The toxic component in raw potatoes and potato plants is called solanine. It’s also present in tomatoes and eggplant (close relatives of the potato). Typically, when ingested by dogs and cats, it rarely results in toxicity.
Pet Poison Helpline reports that solanine rarely causes toxicity with eaten by dogs because a large amount needs to be ingested. If your dog eats raw potatoes, look for these symptoms:
- severe gastrointestinal distress (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea)
Call your vet if you’re concerned about solanine toxicity.
How Much Potato Can My Dog Eat?
Share potatoes with your dog as a treat and follow the 10% rule: up to 10% of your dog’s daily calories can come from treats. A golf ball-sized potato with the skin removed contains about 130 calories.
For More Information
Learn more about feeding your dog a varied diet while learning the limitations of a dog’s sensitive digestive system. We offer a collection of articles on foods that are safe, dangerous or even toxic for dogs to eat, including vegetables, dairy, bread, and junk food.