|Barked: Thu Oct 25, '12 3:17pm PST |
|Potatoes that have been exposed to sunlight for extended periods, have been damaged, or are sprouting contain really dangerous alkaloids that can lead to severe illness and even death. They usually show the green coloration, which is from chlorophyl, but perfectly good potatoes can start to sprout and become dangerous, so it's good to be diligent if dogs have access to them.
Uncooked potatoes that have been properly stored and haven't developed alkaloids are definitely not as abjectly dangerous, but still not really the best thing you could let a dog eat, and could pose a danger to some.
Potatoes are starchy, and some of these starches are really hard or impossible to digest, especially when they haven't been rendered easier by cooking. They basically make it into the large intestine where they sit and ferment. Natural gut flora have a feeding frenzy and contribute their own metabolites in out-of-whack proportions. This can lead to gas, bloating, and discomfort very much the same way dairy products do, and for the same reason. Probably not a big problem in small amounts for dogs with a strong digestive constitution, but I'd avoid raw potato in any dog that has a history and/or predisposition to bloat.
Potatoes also contain a protease inhibitor which is in the highest amounts near the surface of the potato right near the skin. Again, this is mostly or totally denatured by cooking, so usually not a concern. Protease is an enzyme that "unzips" protein, an essential function in digestion. All in all, a little bit here and there probably isn't too much to worry about, but not really an ideal thing to introduce into the system. If complete and healthy digestion is already an issue, I wouldn't risk exacerbating the problem with potato peels.
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