Everyone likes to eat potato treats, from a child to a young men. They are tasty and satisfying. They add a lot of nutrients to the diet. Besides simply baked potatoes, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato chips, they are added to a variety of other dishes to make them mouth-watering. It also shows the versatile use of this vegetable. Before feeding potatoes to their furry friends, dog owners must know if they are safe for them. Let’s find out raw potatoes or cooked potatoes; which one is safe for them?
Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes?
Just like tomatoes, potatoes belong to the nightshade family and are not safe for dogs. Vegetables belonging to this family are not a great choice to be added to the dog’s diet. Following are the reasons that make a raw potato unsafe for dogs:
Our canine friends don’t need many carbohydrates in their diet. To state the facts, their digestive system is not designed in such a way to digest carbohydrates in large amounts. They produce very little amylase (the enzyme required to digest carbohydrates) in their saliva. Though their pancreas produces amylase, it is not sufficient to digest large amounts of carbohydrates. It is the reason they mostly ingest fats and proteins.
Potatoes are high in carbohydrate content comprising about 66 to 90% of the dry weight. This amount of carbohydrates can result in weight gain and diabetes in dogs.
Solanine is a chemical that belongs to the family of steroidal saponins. This chemical is actually a glycoalkaloid which is toxic for both dogs and humans. Most of the plants of the Solanaceae family (nightshade family) contain this harmful chemical, but it is particularly abundant in the potato plant. This is because the green portions of the potato plant, potato peels, and sprouts are considerably rich in this alkaloid.
When ingested by dogs, solanine causes gastrointestinal upset and can also harm the dog’s immune system; this condition is called solanine poisoning. The majority of cases of solanine poisoning in dogs have been associated with the consumption of raw green potatoes. Talking of which, roasted and mashed potatoes have a little amount of this saponin because roasting removes the chemical to a great extent. Solanine in potatoes has also been studied to pose mutagenic and cardiotoxic hazards to many animals, including dogs.
Potatoes Can Cause DCM
DCM stands for canine dilated cardiomyopathy. The heart enlarges, valves leak, and the chambers dilate in this condition. Due to the change in morphology, the heart feels difficulty in pumping blood. As a result, dogs can even develop congestive heart failure. Symptoms of DCM include rapid breathing, loss of appetite, weight loss, coughing, weakness, fainting, and the dog might die suddenly.
Though rare, dogs can develop this disease after eating potatoes. Most of the time, it occurs due to genetic disorders. But still, to keep the dogs safe from this disease, avoid feeding them raw potatoes.
Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes?
Raw potatoes are a big NO to dogs, but you can let them eat mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are often prepared by boiling the raw ones. But boiling does not reduce solanine much, making mashed potatoes bad for dogs. Fried or roasted potatoes have less amount of solanine in them. Dogs cannot have oils, and fried foods are not safe for them; hence go for the roasting option.
Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes With Dairy?
Mashed potatoes having milk and other dairy products like butter and sour cream are loved by everyone, but they are not safe as dog food. It is not like dairy products are toxic or unhealthy for them; they are just unable to digest the milk sugar, also called lactose. The enzyme that digests this sugar is absent in many dogs. Suppose lactose intolerant dogs ingest any dairy product. In that case, they suffer the negative reaction of the carbohydrate in the body resulting in diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal pain, dehydration, excessive thirst, and weakness. These symptoms are collectively called lactose intolerance.
Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes With Certain Ingredients?
Your furry friend is not allowed to have mashed potatoes with different ingredients in them. Though it makes a healthy snack as human food, dogs are not allowed to consume it. Most ingredients are harmful to them, but they are toxic enough to become the cause of a fatal health conditions. Let’s have a look at the major ingredients used in mashed potatoes.
There are tons of recipes for creamy garlic mashed potatoes online. Whatever the recipe, you are going to try to have either fresh or roasted garlic chunks in its ingredients list. If not, it must be making use of garlic powder for the same purpose. Just for your information, none of these recipes should be shared with your dog. Yes! Garlic is safe for us, but it’s toxic for our furry friends. No matter in which form it is used, it’s toxic for the dogs and can cause a severe form of hemolytic anemia in them.
Garlic contains a chemical compound, n-propyl disulfide, which causes the red blood cells of the dogs to burst due to oxidative stress caused by it. The common signs of this hemolytic anemia include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, incoordination, loss of appetite, drooling, and increased heart and breathing rate. Garlic belongs to the allium family of the plants; all the members of this family contain this chemical and are toxic to dogs, but garlic has 10% more concentration as compared to the other plants.
Onions belong to the same family of plants as do garlic. As mentioned earlier, the allium family is toxic for dogs. Therefore, never feed your dog mashed potatoes that either have freshly chopped onions or onion powder in them. Onion powder is more concentrated in n-propyl disulfide and thus more potent in causing hemolytic anemia in dogs. All types of onions, white, green, purple, and yellow, are harmful and may cause toxicosis in your pet. The signs of this toxicosis have already been mentioned above.
Our breakfasts are usually incomplete without chives. They go well with everything, whether it be a fried egg or mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes with chives and sour cream turn out to be extremely amazing. But! you should not let your dog eat mashed potatoes which have chives in their ingredients. Chives are also an allium family herb and have been listed among the hazardous foods for dogs by the Animal Poison Control Center ASPCA. These herbs cause upset stomach, gastrointestinal irritation, and anemia when consumed by the dogs.
Our biology teacher must have taught us about solutes, solvents, and the body’s osmotic balance. Dogs also need to maintain this balance in their body. Eating too much salt can decrease the cells’ solvent (water) concentration, leading to dehydration. If a dog drinks plenty of water after consuming salt, then he will be completely fine. In another case, the dog suffers from salt poisoning. Severe dehydration occurs that can damage the brain cells, resulting in headaches and dizziness. If too much salt gets into the blood, muscles will lose moisture and become inflexible. Other symptoms of salt poisoning include convulsions, increased heart rate, swelling in the tongue, nausea, and weakness.
Adding black pepper to dog food brings no benefit. Though a small amount is safe, dogs don’t like to eat it. When dogs come in contact with large amounts of this pepper, they start sneezing. They are unable to digest it well and end up with stomach cramps, bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Can Dogs Eat Instant Mashed Potatoes?
Instant mashed potatoes are designed for human consumption. Therefore, they have a lot of seasonings and salts in them. As described earlier, they are not safe for dogs. Furthermore, these instant mashed potatoes have food additives and preservatives to maintain their color and flavor and to prevent them from spoilage. Many of these additives have been labeled as potential carcinogens, while others cause temporary hazards like shortness of breath, nausea, and digestive disorders.
It is completely fine if a dog has licked the plate or bowl in which you prepared your instant mashed potatoes. A single lick probably won’t harm them as you are not going to eat instant potatoes daily. Still, keep an eye on the pooch and visit a vet as soon as you feel the dog is not feeling well.
Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes From KFC?
If you are a KFC lover, you must be wanting to let your pup taste their famous “KFC mashed potatoes and gravy,” but you shouldn’t. First of all, KFC mashed potatoes are not actual potatoes but instant potato flakes that are full of salts, MSG, and other food additives. Secondly, their recipe contains a lot of butter which should not be fed to a pup. Its high-fat content can put your dog at risk of obesity.
Thirdly, they are high in salts, and too much salt can lead to sodium ion poisoning in dogs. Finally, the seasonings used in these mashed potatoes are not safe for canine consumption either. Moreover, the gravy contains a large number of spices and onion and garlic powder which are all harmful to dogs. In short, if you want to serve mashed potatoes to your dog in KFC style, you can try different recipes at home but use dog-safe ingredients and fresh potatoes.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes don’t belong to the family nightshade. Unlike white potatoes, they pose no harm to dogs and are perfectly safe for them. Though raw sweet potatoes can upset the stomach and cause abdominal pain, it is better to give them cooked ones. Make sure to take off the sweet potato skin and cut it into small pieces to avoid choking hazards. Like regular potatoes, you can also boil and serve your dog mashed sweet potatoes in moderation but keep the seasonings and salts away.
Some dogs are allergic to sweet potatoes. Even they don’t know and end up eating them, showing ill-health symptoms. Veterinarians advise feeding new food in small amounts at the start. Then, if the dog doesn’t seem comfortable after eating it, stop feeding him more and take him to a clinic for a check-up. But if a dog seems perfectly fit and healthy, you can add a bit more to his food.
How to Prepare Mashed Potatoes for Dogs?
The best way to serve mashed potatoes to your dog is to simply boil a potato, take off the peels, mash it and add to the dog’s bowl. Plain mashed potatoes make great dog food. Not only will dogs like it, but it adds several nutrients to the dog’s diet and help in maintaining a balanced diet. Another method that you can opt for is that you can add some vegetables that are safe for dogs, like carrots.
How Many Mashed Potatoes Can Dogs Have?
Moderation is the key. Whatever you are adding to the dog food, keep the quantity moderate. For example, mashed potatoes should not make up more than 10% of their diet, though adult dogs can have a bit more than the juniors. If your dog already has enough carbohydrates, avoid potatoes altogether.
These meat-eaters are not allowed to have too many potatoes as they can cause stomach upset accompanied with vomiting and loose stools, and increase blood sugar levels. If a dog consumes more than he can digest, immediately take him to a vet.
My Dog Ate Mashed Potatoes. What to Do?
Eating mashed potatoes is safe for dogs as long as they have no dairy products and seasonings. If a dog has eaten a moderate amount, then there is nothing to worry about, but watch for him if you think he has consumed in a large quantity. If he shows signs of not being well after having this human food, take him to a vet.
Nutritional Benefits of Mashed Potatoes
A dog can eat a mashed potato as an occasional treat, considering the health benefits it provides.
Mashed potatoes turn out to be a healthy treat for an overweight dog. It is rich in fibers and can help dogs lose weight. Too much fat can cause diabetes and heart diseases, but a mashed potato in dog food now and then can help get rid of the risks of these diseases. They also help with the digestion process.
Fibers are converted into fatty acids in the intestines. Not only do they prevent the growth of bad bacteria but can also help recover injuries in the gastrointestinal tract.
This root vegetable does not provide many proteins, but it is a great source of amino acids, tryptophan, and lysine. Both of them fall in the category of essential amino acids, which means the dog’s body is not capable of producing them. Hence they need to be supplemented in the pet’s diet.
Tryptophan is associated with maintaining the moods during aggression, anxiety, and fear in dogs. This is because it acts by producing serotonin -- a hormone in the brain. This hormone has another name, “mood stabilizer,” thus explaining the function of tryptophan in the body. Similarly, lysine help in calcium absorption and maintain muscles, bones, blood, and skin. It can also fight viral infections. Along with other amino acids, these are important for healthy dogs. Hence mashed potatoes can be a part of their complete meal.
The presence of minerals makes mashed potatoes good for dogs. It has iron, which is an essential part of hemoglobin and helps to carry oxygen throughout the body via the blood. In addition, potassium is present in sufficient amounts in potatoes and maintains the nerve impulses.
Like humans, dogs need energy, from blinking an eye to walking and running. The amount of magnesium present in the potatoes can generate enough energy for dogs at the cellular level, helping them carry out their body functions.
Another reason why we should let dogs eat potatoes is the numerous vitamins it has. Vitamin C is present in large amounts and is a potent antioxidant. Vitamin C can neutralize the harmful free radicals protecting the cellular structures and molecules like DNA from damage. It also has vitamin B1, which helps digest carbohydrates. Other vitamins on the list are vitamin B3 and B6. The former has anti-inflammatory properties, while the latter is responsible for maintaining hormonal regulation, immunity, and brain functions.
Dogs can eat mashed potatoes. The only thing that needs to be taken care of is that it should be prepared without seasonings, and no dairy products are added to it. However, instant mashed potatoes are not recommended for dogs due to the risk of health hazards.
Similarly, don’t let dogs eat potatoes raw as they are high in solanine and carbohydrate. Boiling does not reduce these harmful contents, but roasting and frying can. Oil is not safe for dogs; hence roast the potatoes, take off the peels, and make a mashed treat for them. Feed moderate amounts. Dogs love such treats, and they add several nutrients to the dog’s diet as well.
Don’t confuse sweet potatoes with white potatoes. Both have different families. Sweet potatoes don’t have solanine and are safe for dogs.