4 min read

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?


By Kevin Hughes

Published: 05/10/2024, edited: 06/14/2024

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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Think about how often us humans consume the humble potato, which has to be one of the most, if not the most, versatile of foods around. Potatoes come in a few different forms — including mashed, roasted and fried — and us Americans absolutely love them; it’s been reported that the average US citizen consumes around 120-124 lbs pounds of potatoes every year. That’s quite a lot.

So, there’s a fair chance at least one — if not more — of your weekly meals is going to involve potatoes, whether that’s a handful of roasties beside a roast turkey, or a bowl of fries as an accompaniment to a juicy burger. The question is, can dogs eat potatoes? If you wanted to share some of your dinner with your pup, are potatoes safe for dogs to eat?

Let’s peel back the truth and find out if dogs can have potatoes.

Can dogs have potatoes to eat?

Yes, dogs can eat potatoes, though there’s a ‘but’ in the answer and it’s a fairly big ‘but’, at that. How the potato is cooked, prepared, and served, is really important. So, while your dog can have potato, he or she can’t really eat it in the same way we do.

The good news is that there’s nothing particularly harmful in potatoes — they won’t be on the ‘avoid completely’ list like onions, garlic, grapes and raisins. All of these are toxic and therefore considered poisonous to dogs and shouldn’t be consumed.

Potatoes are relatively safe — providing your dog is given them in small quantities and in a plain format.

How should my dog eat potatoes?

As with a lot of human foods, potatoes can be fed to a dog, but equally only if they have been cooked plainly. If you’re cooking potatoes with lots of salt, or preparing them heavily seasoned, or made with lots of butter, then you shouldn’t feed any to your dog.

All of those extras can upset a dog’s sensitive stomach, so be careful what you give your pup, and how much, too.

Can dogs eat mashed potatoes?

A small serving of mashed potato should be fine to give to your dog, but again, it depends on how it has been made. Some people simply boil potatoes until they’re soft, and then mash them up. That’s fine; your dog can have a spoonful of this mash.

However — salt, pepper, lashings of butter, milk and even garlic can all go into some mashed potato recipes; all of this will make it too rich to give to your dog. Some people also like to swap out milk for thick double cream. That may make it super tasty and creamy for us, but it won’t do your dog any favors and it’s likely to be high in calories too. Not good for helping to prevent canine obesity, and these fatty ingredients could even trigger pancreatitis in your furry friend.

Can dogs eat roasted potatoes?

Roast potatoes are another hugely popular type of spud, especially served alongside meat and typically a staple part of many Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. So, can your dog get in on the act and snaffle a few roasties?

It all comes down to how those roast potatoes have been cooked. If the potatoes have just been roasted without any additional seasoning, a very small amount should do no harm. But, as we usually roast our potatoes in oil — and sometimes quite a lot of oil — salt, pepper and even some types of spices, these won’t be suitable for dogs. If your dog loves a roast potato, it might be worth cooking one separately, totally plain.

Can dogs eat sweet potatoes?

Can dogs eat sweet potatoes? Well, we’ve covered that in a lot more detail right here. Sweet potatoes do contain certain health benefits — they’re packed with fiber, antioxidants and a range of vitamins, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Manganese and Potassium

If you’re feeding your dog sweet potato, it’s best to give it as plain mash, with no extra seasoning. Make sure you’ve removed the outer skin, which could be a possible choking risk. Your dog shouldn’t eat the skin of any potato.

Can my dog eat fries?

We don’t advise giving your dog fries, though the odd one probably won’t cause your pup any issues. Fries are usually either cooked in oil, which could upset your dog’s digestion, or have a high salt content, which is going to cause a certain level of dehydration if too much is consumed.

Fries aren’t healthy either — which is partly so we find them so irresistible — and so eating these regularly can see your dog gaining weight.

Can dogs eat raw potatoes?

No — dogs definitely can’t eat raw potatoes. Why? Well, raw potatoes contain something called solanine, which is a lectin, that can upset a dog’s stomach; they can do the same with people, too. Solanine can prove toxic to dogs, and is sometimes called potato poisoning, or green potato poisoning. A dog would have to eat a reasonable amount of raw potato to suffer a reaction, but why take the risk?

Apart from anything else, raw potato just really isn’t pleasant to eat — it’s flavorless, a bit watery, and crunchy. Steer clear!

Are potatoes good for dogs?

Potatoes do provide some important nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and fiber, so in small amounts, potatoes can deliver some benefits. However, your dog should be getting everything they need in their diet from his or her regular dog food.

Remember that potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates. This can be a positive as it is an energy source, but a carb-heavy diet is likely to result in some weight gain, so again, be mindful of how much potato your dog eats.

The best rule with potatoes and most ‘human’ food is to only give minimal portions occasionally.

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© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.