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Can Dogs Eat French Fries? Vet-Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Written by: Matt Jackson

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

fork on french fries

Can Dogs Eat French Fries? Vet-Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ

VET APPROVED

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

French fries are an incredibly popular human treat. The fried slivers of potatoes, typically covered in salt, are commonly served at fast food chains and takeaways, and it is also possible to buy packaged fries that have already been fried and just need cooking in the oven or microwave. While fries are made from potatoes, the cooking and seasoning process generally involved in the preparation of these little treats means they are not suitable for dogs to eat.

If your pup steals a French fry or two, they should be fine because French Fries aren’t toxic to dogs, but if they consume more than a couple, it can cause gastrointestinal upset or other issues.

Dangers of Feeding French Fries to Dogs

French fries are made from potatoes, which are not toxic to dogs, though they can be harmful when eaten raw. However, they are typically prepared by being fried in a lot of oil. Oil is not only high in fat and calories that can cause your dog to put on weight, but it can also cause gastrointestinal upset. Fries are usually covered in salt too, and eating large amounts of salt can lead to salt toxicity and dehydration.1

  • Fried in Oil — French fries are fried in oil, typically vegetable or canola oil. These are high in fats that can cause an upset in digestion in the body and a potentially serious condition called pancreatitis. Even a relatively small handful of French fries can give your dog diarrhea and vomiting, especially if your pup isn’t used to this kind of food. Oil is also fatty, and while a handful of fries shouldn’t affect a dog’s weight, if you feed this type of snack to your dog too often, it may contribute to weight gain and obesity, which is a serious problem for dogs that can substantially shorten their lives.
  • Salt and Other Seasonings — Most people consume fries with a liberal sprinkling of salt. Dogs, like people, need a small amount of salt in their diet, which is typically met by eating a balanced dog food. Excessive amounts of salt from consuming human foods can lead to dehydration or other complications. Again, a small handful of fries shouldn’t cause too much of a problem, as long as you encourage your dog to drink water, but too many can be dangerous.
  • Blood Sugar — Dogs with diabetes should avoid potatoes altogether. They can cause a spike in blood sugar, which is especially dangerous for diabetic canines regardless of how they are prepared, even if your dog only has a small amount.
french fries in deep fryer
Image Credit: FL FLPhotography.li, Unsplash

What to Do If Your Dog Eats French Fries

Although one or two fries are unlikely to cause major problems in your dog, you should monitor them if they eat more than these. Take the following steps to help ensure that they don’t have a negative reaction to eating this snack.

  • Give Them Water — The salt on French fries can cause mild dehydration, and you will need to counteract this by offering plenty of water. Take your dog to the water bowl, and try to encourage them to have a good drink. Ensure the bowl is refilled again, and monitor it to determine how much water they drink.
  • Monitor Them — Diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration are a few of the possible negative effects of a dog eating too many French fries. Watch for these signs. Salt poisoning can also occur if your dog consumes a lot of salt. The signs include spasms, nausea, and swelling of the tongue.
  • Let Them Out — If your dog has consumed more fatty oil than they are used to, they will likely need to go outside more frequently. Be prepared to let them out or take them for a walk, which can help move things along and clear their stomach.
beagle drinking water from bowl
Image Credit: ALEX_UGALEK, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes?

No, raw potatoes contain a toxic substance called solanine. Fortunately, cooking reduces the amount of solanine in the potatoes and can make them safe for canine consumption.

Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes?

Plain mashed potatoes by themselves should be fine for your dog to eat, but most people prepare mashed potatoes using butter, milk, salt, and other seasonings. Some dogs will have digestive upset when given dairy products like butter and milk, and certain seasonings can be dangerous if given in excessive quantities. Therefore, if you decide to give your pup mashed potatoes, be sure they are plain.

Can Dogs Eat Roasted Potatoes?

Plain roasted potatoes are considered non-toxic to dogs, but they do need to be plain. This means they should be roasted without oil or butter and free from any seasonings.

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are considered healthier alternatives to white potatoes and are often found in commercial dog food because they are a beneficial source of carbohydrates. Again, you need to consider the preparation method before giving any to your dog because a lot of sweet potato dishes use oil and seasonings to add flavor or texture.

Sweet potato
Image Credit: thitimon toiyai, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Although potatoes are not toxic for dogs, French fries are fried in a lot of oil, and they tend to be seasoned with salt and other potentially harmful ingredients. While one or two French fries are unlikely to have any detrimental effects on your pet, more than these can lead to problems ranging from diarrhea to salt poisoning.

If your dog does eat fries, monitor them for signs of illness, and if you are worried, speak to a vet and let them know of any changes in your dog’s health.

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