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Crispy and delicious, french fries are a key accompaniment for burgers or even a satisfying snack all on their own. But can your furry best friend share this tempting treat with you? The answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no.
Fries themselves aren’t toxic or dangerous, but the salt and fat content can certainly lead to issues. Dogs can’t have too much salt as it could lead to high blood pressure and water retention like it does with humans. In addition to those unpleasant conditions, too much salt can also lead to salt poisoning, which can be fatal if left untreated. The fat content in fries may also cause inflammation to the pancreas. Of course, as with all things that could be toxic, the danger is in the dose. Read on to learn more.
What About Sweet Potato Fries?
It’s best to avoid feeding your dog anything fried because of the added fat. Sweet potatoes themselves are wonderful for dogs, with their fiber content and anti-inflammatory qualities. (Though they have been known to cause some dogs digestive upset, so it’s best to only try out a small amount of sweet potato to start with and go from there.) They are rich in Vitamins A, B, and C which is great for both humans and dogs.
As long as you cook them without oil and no salt, they can be a fun way for you and your dog to enjoy a meal together. If you’re interested in adding sweet potatoes to your dog’s diet, you may be interested in our sweet potato jerky recipe or our sweet potato and flax dog treat recipe.
So is Poutine Out of the Question?
Unfortunately, this Canadian classic needs to stay above the table. Salt, garlic, and onion are all ingredients that could give your dog grief, while the cheese curds could upset the stomach of any lactose intolerant dog.
In addition, exposure to something delicious like gravy fries can cause your dog to lose interest in their normal food or become a picky eater. Dog foods, whether you feed your dog commercial, raw or homemade food, are specially formulated for your dog’s nutritional needs. Getting them used to the things humans eat can have some negative impacts on behavior and health. So it’s likely best to resist those sweet puppy dog eyes while you’re enjoying some pub grub.
But My Dog Loves Fries
Unfortunately, fries do not love your dog back. As we covered in our post about chips and other junk food, salt poisoning is a real danger when it comes to the salty snacks we love. A medium serving of fast-food fries can have up to 390 mg sodium, well above the 200 mg of salt allowed an average adult dog weighing 33 pounds. That doesn’t even cover the fat limit of 14g for a dog of the same size. (A medium fry can range anywhere from 14 – 40 grams of fat, depending on type and restaurant.)
Of course, these numbers are assuming your dog is eating the entire serving of fries. While 1 or 2 fries likely won’t damage your dog’s health, it’s still a risk regularly sharing these salty treats. Another option is to order your fries without salt, which most establishments are happy to do. The fat content is still problematic, but it’s at least better for your fry-loving dog.
One last option is to give your dog fries made for dogs. Some choices include sweet potato fries as well as straws. These treats are shaped like the little fried salty sticks we know and love but are formulated for your dog to enjoy safely. You can even get them a fun fry squeaky toy to satisfy their fried potato cravings.
What to Watch For if Your Dog Has Gone on a Fry Binge
You look over, and your dog has eaten the fast-food lunch you bought yourself. These are the symptoms you need to watch out for.
Symptoms to look for include:
- Loss of Appetite
- Lack of Balance When Walking
These symptoms may be early signs of salt poisoning or kidney damage. If you observe these symptoms, it’s recommended to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to make sure your dog has access to a source of fresh water right after you’ve discovered they’ve binged on your food. It could help prevent some of the damage mentioned above.
For More Information
We have many different articles on which types of food may or may not be safe for your dog to indulge in. Browse through our directory page with all the “Can My Dog Eat” articles here.
You may also be interested in “Can My Dog Eat Potatoes?”