As much as we like to think we train our dogs, they’ve trained us just as much. For instance, when was the last time you were eating dinner and your dog looked up at you with those big beautiful puppy dog eyes, and you told them they couldn’t have “just a bite”?
It’s okay; you’re among friends. We’ve all done it — we want our dogs to feel like they’re just as much a valued member of the family as any of the humans who live under the same roof.
But what if giving your dog that bite could harm them? Not all the food we eat is safe for our dogs, so knowing what you can and can’t feed them can be a matter of life or death. We all know chocolate is bad for our canine friends, but can dogs eat sweet potatoes? Let’s take a look!
How Do I Feed My Dog Sweet Potatoes?
We don’t want to worry you, so let’s answer the question before we dive deeper into the hows and whys — yes, in most cases, it’s absolutely safe to let your dog have a bite of your (cooked) sweet potato. Many commercial dog foods even have sweet potatoes built into their ingredient list.
However, that doesn’t mean your dog can have free range to eat their own basket of sweet potato fries. If you do choose to give your dog sweet potato, there are a few ways to go about it in a safe and healthy way:
- Stick with plain boiled, steamed, or baked preparations. Avoid giving your dog sweet potato that has been fried or covered in butter or brown sugar. Many premade sweet potato snacks made for humans also have garlic as a main seasoning, which can be very dangerous for dogs.
- Make sure they don’t eat the peel. Although a little peel is okay, too much can upset your dog’s stomach. Dogs cannot digest sweet potato peel normally, and it contains a large amount of fiber which can cause other types of gastrointestinal distress.
- Don’t feed it to your dog in its raw form. Raw sweet potato is much harder to digest and may even be a choking or obstruction hazard (depending on the size of the piece). Your dog should only eat pieces of sweet potato that have been cooked first.
What Are the Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are full of nutrition, especially when fed to your dog in moderation.
For instance, did you know sweet potatoes are full of fiber? Fiber is excellent for the GI tract, helping to reduce the risk of diarrhea by promoting healthy, regular bowel movements. However, too much fiber can backfire, so it should always be used cautiously.
Sweet potatoes are also rich in multiple vitamins and minerals, like beta-carotene, vitamins B5, B6, and C, manganese, and potassium. Together with a healthy, well-balanced diet, these nutrients help to promote healthy skin and coat, maintain a strong immune system, and support many important bodily functions. Plus, they’re naturally low in fat!
Remember that even though sweet potatoes have plenty of nutritious properties, you should still only give them to your dog in moderation — between a teaspoon and a tablespoon daily (depending on their weight). Veterinary nutritionists recommend that no snack makes up more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Monitoring your pet’s diet and ensuring they get plenty of exercise can help them get to and stay at a healthy weight.
Talk to your veterinarian if you’re unsure about your dog’s nutritional status. They can give you specific advice about what your dog does and doesn’t need in their diet and what is safe for them to eat.
Can Dogs Be Allergic to Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, although rare, dogs can be allergic to sweet potatoes. If your dog has never eaten sweet potato before, it’s worth taking it slowly. Try feeding your dog a small bite and then monitoring them for a day or two.
An anaphylactic reaction would likely occur within minutes, resulting in trouble breathing, hives, and swelling of the face and muzzle. This is a medical emergency, and your dog will need immediate care.
More likely, you’re watching for any signs of gastrointestinal distress or symptoms of a less severe allergy, like itching or yeast in their paws or ears. If you do see a reaction, discontinue and keep an eye out for that ingredient in foods and treats in the future.
Can dogs eat sweet potatoes? If you give them to your dog in their plain, baked, or boiled form, sweet potatoes can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your dog’s regular, well-balanced diet.
Remember that no snack, no matter how healthy, should take up more than 10% of your dog’s caloric intake. Happy snacking!
Table: How Can Fiber Help with Diarrhea? | Merck Veterinary Manual
Effects of age and dietary beta-carotene on immunological variables in dogs | PubMed
Treat Options for Dogs and Cats Without Unbalancing Their Diet | Tufts