Your dog’s lifelong happiness and health lie in your hands. You thus have to be a respon
sible and loving owner and not risk harming your four-legged friend.
Nutrition is the number one concern from the days your dog is a puppy all the way to his or her old age. If you are a first-time dog-owner, planning a well-balanced and 100% safe diet for your best canine friend is not an easy task at all.
Deciding what is or isn’t safe for our furry companions to eat can be overwhelming even for the more experienced pet owners, especially when dogs would eat anything off their owners’ plates.
We bet that you, too, have at least a few questions that start with “can my dog eat…”. We have a plethora of such dilemmas resolved already, and today we will address one more: Can dogs eat raw potatoes?
If you are an anxious owner searching for the right info to keep your dog healthy and tail-wagging, stay with us! We have tried our best to offer you only the truest information you can trust.
Are Potatoes Poisonous For Dogs? Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes Too?
We all enjoy eating potatoes in all its forms – from french fries to hash browns and puree; potatoes are on almost every daily menu in most houses in the USA. If you prepare them in a healthy way and do not use too much grease during the process, potatoes can be a beneficial and highly nutritious addition to your balanced and healthy diet.
What about your pet? Can dogs eat potatoes off your plate? Are they as good for our four-legged friends as they are for us humans?
The answers to these questions are not simple. It all depends on many factors. One thing is certain; potatoes are rich in nutrients that both our canine friends and we require to be healthy. The list is long, but most of all, potatoes bring valuable vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, and minerals like iron and magnesium to our table.
When prepared properly and served in a reasonable amount, potatoes should not harm your pet. On the other hand, when you feed your dog too many potatoes or the ones that are not prepared correctly, he or she can have adverse health effects.
The good news is that according to recent research, potatoes are not poisonous to canines. Still, they are not the best choice you can make when planning your dog’s diet.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has alerted the public that certain pet food containing potatoes, lentils, peas, and other legume seeds as its main ingredients, significantly increases the risk of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This disease weakens your dog’s heart muscle and reduces normal heart pumping function. As a result, your dog’s heart increases in size, and that can have terrible consequences. Your beloved friend can suffer from congestive heart failure or even die due to a sudden cardiac arrest.
So, Should Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes At All?
No, your dog should never eat raw potatoes. Cooked potatoes in small amounts will not harm your pet, but raw potatoes are a whole different story. Namely, they contain solanine, a compound that can be toxic to your dog. When you cook the potatoes, the level of solanine drops significantly, and that is why cooked potatoes are ok and raw are out of the question!
Solanine is present in many plants, including tomatoes and potatoes. Its role is to defend the plant by deterring insects. Unfortunately, it can harm your pet when ingested even in small amounts.
How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has Ingested Solanine?
Usually, your dog will have symptoms similar to food poisoning. Solanine inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in your dog’s body. As a result, there will be a reduced function of the nervous system and the body’s organs. It can build up in your dog’s liver but also his or her brain, lungs, heart, and kidneys.
Humans can get sick from too much solanine too, but it would take a lot of potatoes for that to happen. Dogs are thus in greater danger. Avoid giving any raw potatoes to canines but especially those with green skin or growing sprouts. The latter should be avoided even when cooked.
How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has Green Potato Poisoning?
If you suspect your dog has ingested raw or green potatoes, potato skin, or foliage of the potato plant, look for the following symptoms:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, abdominal pain, or nausea)
- Difficulty breathing
- Excess drooling
- Swelling of tongue or lips
- Dilated pupils
- Burning of the throat
- Cardiac dysrhythmia
- Slow pulse
- Slowed breathing
- Loss of sensation
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
These symptoms greatly depend on how much solanine was in the potatoes or potato skins your dog ate, as well as the size of your dog and his or her current health. Luckily, more often, the symptoms are mild. Be very careful, though, if your dog is very small or already sick. If you know that your pet has had many potatoes, you should best consult your vet immediately.
Your veterinarian will have to know how much of raw potatoes or potato plant foliage your dog has eaten and how long ago it happened. Inform the vet of any symptoms you have noticed as well as your dog’s medical history.
How Is Potato (Green) Poisoning Treated?
Your vet will most probably treat your dog with apomorphine and induce vomiting. Activated charcoal is also often prescribed as it absorbs any toxin that may be left in your dog’s stomach.
Some dogs will be sedated and provided with IV fluids and oxygen therapy. Sometimes a dog also receives treatment that helps boost his or her nervous system.
The quicker the treatment is given, the sooner your dog will recover. It is important to secure a quiet and peaceful place for your dog to rest at home until he or she gets better. Continue to monitor your dog’s condition and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
What About Sweet Potatoes? Can Your Dog Have Those?
Sweet potatoes are even more nutritious than regular white potatoes, making them a better choice for both humans and dogs. Of course, they need to be cooked first as well.
Sweet potatoes are rich in valuable vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. They also contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron, and other nutrients.
How To Introduce Your Dog To Potatoes?
Some dogs will eat anything you give them, but some are much pickier. If you want your dog to eat a food he or she does not like, try mixing it up with his favorite meal.
The bottom line is – if you insist on feeding your dog potatoes, you need to bake or boil them first. It would be best not to add anything to them – not even salt. French fries or potato chips are fried in a lot of oil and contain high sodium levels, which makes them an unhealthy diet option for both us humans and our best friends – the dogs.
Dogs are not omnivorous by nature; we made them that way. Their bodies are designed for digesting animal proteins, and we should thus try to feed them that way, at least predominantly. If you want to include some veggies such as potatoes in your dog’s regular diet, at least do it in moderation.
There is a so-called “5% rule,” and you should try to follow it if you want your dog to be as healthy, happy, and energetic he or she can possibly be. This rule actually means that veggies, fruit, or herbs should make up about 5% of all the food your dog eats daily.
Dogs that suffer from diabetes should not be fed potatoes at all. Being high in carbohydrates and sugar, potatoes can cause blood sugar spikes. Besides, too many carbohydrates can also cause weight issues and other health problems. Potatoes are quite high in calories as well, as you can see in the following chart:
It would be best if you were careful when you first introduce potatoes to your pet. Make sure they are well cooked and start with a small amount so that you can make sure your dog will not have any problems digesting them.
Dogs generally have a hard time digesting non-protein food. We have already explained why – they are naturally carnivorous. Still, every dog is different, and some will have no issue digesting other types of food.
If you do notice some issues such as vomiting or diarrhea, stop giving your dog potatoes. If problems persist, consult your vet.
The Bottom Line
Dogs will take almost any food from you – this is one of the ways they express their loyalty and affection. No matter how tempted you feel to share every meal with your four-legged best friend, it is not always a great idea. Some food that is good for humans can be very bad for dogs.
Raw potatoes are not good for us nor our pets. Due to the high content of solanine, they can be toxic. The good news is that once cooked, the level of this harmful compound is reduced, and you and your pooch can enjoy the potatoes in moderation.