Ok, so it was thanksgiving dinner and I made a batch of mashed potatoes and while everyone enjoyed it (thank the lord) my dog kept looking at me like “Come on you guys don’t you have a heart, I am staring at you since the dinner began where’s my share”.
I was in a dilemma – having heard so much good and bad about potatoes I wasn’t sure what to do while my dog kept looking at me like that (all the while completely ignoring the food already present in his bowl).
I knew if I gave my dog a small helping of the mashed potatoes he would enjoy it all the way to Christmas and still end up being on the nice list while I ended up on the naughty one.
Oh, so often we wonder of these choices of giving or not giving, that making up our mind about certain human food for our pets lands us on the internet (the answer to almost all our problems).
But wait that’s not the end of it, it’s just the beginning – the virtual debate of whether it’s good or not keeps our head going in circles.
So to end this whole going around in circles, I am going to get to the basic facts about these potatoes whether they are good, bad or just within the boundaries of both, is all here for you to decide.
There are so many dog foods available on the market that as a dog owner your options are limitless. But despite our best choices and their good interest in our hearts our beloved dogs still, eye the food we eat.
I know that dogs have acute sense of smell, but sometimes I wonder how can it sense me opening a bag of chips in the middle of the night while I am working and whoosh it comes bounding into my room hanging it’s tongue out all the while eyeing the bag like I am sneaking his doggie treats.
Anyways as amazing our pets are so is their appetite and as a dog owner, it’s our duty to keep a check on our furry buddies.
Read more: Are nuts bad for dogs
So here is what I found out about Can dogs eat potatoes? I want to start with the bad part, let’s just get over with it.
The most talked about issue related to potatoes are the Glycoalkaloids, and surely most of us don’t know what that is (I too didn’t know this once) Glycoalkaloids are nerve toxins, they are found only in the shoots, stems and the green part of the potatoes and the most interesting thing – “It’s not good for either human or dog” so better stay away from it.
To prevent this development always store your potatoes in dark as glycoalkaloids are found in potatoes which are exposed to light for a long period of time (no wonder they are found below the ground).
Make sure you always remove the shoot, stem or the green parts of the potato before consuming or serving it.
Find more: Can dogs eat apples everyday
Secondly, Potato plants that are not mature enough contain solanine, a defensive poison so if you live on a farm or around one and own a dog too, then make sure your dog doesn’t consume any unripe or raw potatoes.
Solanine can affect your dog’s nervous system and cause health issues like Indigestion, Vision problem, Slow heart rate. Sure as an owner you won’t let your dog consume a lot of potatoes in a day but it’s always better to keep an eye on them as they are very sneaky when it’s about food.
Finally, let’s get to the good part. For humans, potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates and quite tasty too.
Potatoes are packed with nutrients which are good for your dog’s growth like Vitamin B3, B6, C, Manganese, Phosphorous & Other Minerals, Antioxidants along with Iron, Copper, Potassium, Fibre.
Other than that the best thing is the white part of the potatoes i.e. flesh of the potato (excluding the shoot, stem and green part) does not contain glycoalkaloids. Always make sure you get your potatoes from the best source that are organic to prevent any chemicals or toxins.
Learn more: Can dogs eat cantaloupe seeds
The Good and the Bad, actually both:
Now the Biggest question arises – Should I or Should I not give my dog potatoes?
Potatoes are not totally bad for your pets as long as the necessary things like the green part, shoot and stem are removed. Like with all other human foods that are ok for dogs, if potatoes are fed to your pooch in moderation then it’s fine.
But don’t feed you dog potatoes if you notice any signs of allergies or if your dog can’t tolerate them, always consult your Vet or a professional regarding any changes made in its daily diet.
Also, keep in mind to never feed your dog raw or unripe potatoes, always make sure you cook or boil it well before feeding it to your dog.
Is it necessary to include potatoes in my dog’s diet?
Absolutely not, it all depends on whether your dog likes it or not and also if you want to give it to your pet. Since potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates, it makes a less likely treat to be give to your pet as a dog doesn’t really need potatoes for carbohydrates.
Despite being used as an ingredient in dog food, potatoes are way down in the list of essential food required by a dog. A mix of vegetable would be a far better choice but if your dog eyes some potatoes on your plate then you can share it.
So why shouldn’t you give potatoes to your dog?
Well as I mentioned Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates (something which provides energy) and consuming an unnecessary or excessive amount of carbohydrates may cause obesity and diabetes in your dog.
While potatoes may seem harmless they may cause some health issues in your dog. Potatoes if consumed raw can be a bit risky.
Sure some dog foods contain potatoes and vegetables as an ingredient but always remember that the percentage of their quantity is limited plus you are always advised to give only a limited amount to your dog.
While it’s true that dogs are born carnivores but these days they are adapting more to our lifestyle and enjoying human foods once in a while, and that includes vegetable and fruits.
Is there any specific kind of potatoes that I should give or avoid?
The source of the potato is an important note that you should keep in mind. Not all white potatoes are bad so you just need to look out for them. But if it’s about sweet potatoes then you can surely give some to your dog.
Some experts highly recommend giving sweet potatoes to your pet but it’s still advised to check the source of your sweet potatoes before you even think of giving some to your dog.
Sweet potatoes also have its own blend of good and bad while it doesn’t possess same risks as white potatoes, it still needs to be given in small amounts to you dog. Sweet potatoes like white potatoes are rich in carbohydrates and starch which can lead to obesity in your dog.
Digestion becomes the main problem with potatoes and sweet potatoes in a large amount may lead to trouble in digesting or an upset stomach in your pets.
Now if you have made up your mind whether you would give your dog potatoes or not let me tell you some things that you should do before and after your dog has consumed potatoes.
- If you are planning to give your dog some potatoes, make sure it’s from the right source and has no green parts. Clean it well, then boil it before serving your pooch.
- Make sure not to give a large amount to your pet and avoid making this a daily habit, if it’s like a treat for your buddy then it’s ok but don’t replace doggie food with this.
- Whether it’s sweet potatoes or white potatoes the rule remains the same.
- Don’t feed your dog potato chips or other items made from potatoes that are for human consumption as they might contain salts, artificial flavour or colours which might be harmful to your pet.
- Now if you have fed your dog some boiled potatoes then make sure to look out for any signs of discomfort or reaction from it, usually, dogs are totally fine but if your pal had some allergies from consuming potatoes then you need to check for signs.
- If your dog has accidentally consumed a lot of potatoes whether ripe or boiled, then immediately contact your vet for necessary guidance.
- Always consult an expert or Vet before including or excluding anything from your dog’s diet.