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Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Grant Piper

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

VET APPROVED

Dr. Lorna Whittemore  Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

Learn more »

Potatoes are a ubiquitous food that has made its way into almost every facet of modern life. Potatoes make up some of the most popular sides and snacks in the modern world. They are also present in numerous popular dishes. White potatoes are especially popular. With potatoes seemingly lurking around every corner, it is prudent to wonder if they are safe for dogs. The good news is that potatoes are safe for dogs, and dogs can eat potatoes in small quantities. In fact, potatoes are often used as an ingredient in dog foods.

Here is everything you need to know about dogs and potatoes, including facts, nutritional information, and answers to some frequently asked questions.

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Dogs Can Eat Potatoes

Potatoes are generally safe for dogs. If your dog eats a few cooked potatoes, you should not have to worry. Dogs have been eating potatoes for years with very few issues. There are scores of dogs in the world that have eaten potatoes from their owners plates and suffered no repercussions. However, not all potatoes are safe, and they aren’t always healthy. Potatoes are nightshade plants, and there are some species of potato without much data behind their safety.

If you are worried about your dog eating a few bites of cooked potato or stealing a few potato chips, you can relax. However, potatoes should not be fed to your dog regularly, and potato products like chips and fries are not healthy for dogs to eat regularly or in large quantities, with the exception of dog food containing potatoes.

White Potatoes
Image Credit: Pixel1, Pixabay

Dangers of Potatoes for Dogs

Potatoes are plants in the nightshade family, so they are not without some inherent risks. Common potatoes are the species Solanum tuberosum, which basically means solanine tuber. Nightshades contain solanine which is toxic above a certain dose. Solanine is present in other nightshades like eggplant. Solanine can be dangerous in large quantities. Boiling, frying or baking potatoes doesn’t destroy much solanine, but removing the peel or skin does lower the levels significantly. Solanine is also present in higher amounts in raw and unripe green potatoes, green parts of the potato, and potato extrusions. It would take a large amount of potatoes to induce solanine poisoning. Dogs don’t generally like raw potatoes, so this is an uncommon occurrence but it has been known to happen. Still, you should be wary about feeding your dog too many potatoes at once and avoid raw and green potatoes.

The signs of solanine poisoning include:
  • Gastrointestinal issues- salivation, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Nervous system problems- weakness, inco-ordination, tremors

If you suspect that your dog has eaten too many potatoes and is suffering from solanine poisoning, you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

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Safe Potatoes to Feed

There are 5,000 different varieties of potatoes. This number includes both different species and cultivars. Not all potatoes are safe for dogs to eat. The good news is that the two most common types of potatoes, white and sweet, are both safe for dogs to eat.

White Potato

White potatoes are what most people consider to be standard or regular potatoes. These potatoes have plain brown skin and a white center. White potatoes are safe for dogs to eat as long as they are peeled, green parts removed and plain cooked. You should not feed your dog raw or green potatoes.

potatoes
Image Credit: Hai Nguyen, Unsplash

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are also safe. In fact, they are safer than white potatoes because they aren’t in the nightshade family. They are actually in the morning glory family and don’t contain solanine at all. Standard sweet potatoes have a soft orange interior. Many people like to add things like brown sugar to their sweet potatoes. If you let your dog eat sweet potatoes, you should not add anything to them. Feed them plain. You should only feed your dog basic white or common sweet potatoes. Other potatoes might not be entirely safe or healthy for your dog.

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Nutrition Facts

One Potato (White / 5.3 oz)
  • Calories: 110
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
  • Total Sugar: 1 g
  • Protein: 3 g

How Best to Feed Potatoes to Your Dog

If you want to feed your dog potatoes, the best way to do it is to peel and cook the potato first. Then you should cube the potato and feed a few chunks to your dog at a time. You should not season the potatoes. Do not add salt or any other type of seasoning. Unseasoned, cooked potatoes are safe for dogs. Do not add anything else, such as butter or sour cream.

Still, potatoes are not a great source of nutrients for dogs. Potatoes should not be fed to dogs in large quantities. It is okay to let your dog eat a few small bits of potatoes off your plate every once in a while, but you should refrain from making potatoes and feeding them to your dog as a primary source of food.

dachshund dog eating from elevated bowl
Image Credit: marialevkina, Shutterstock

Can Dogs Eat Potato Chips & French Fries?

Yes. Dogs can eat plain potato chips. However, potato chips are not healthy for dogs. You shouldn’t worry if your dog eats a few chips, but you should not give your dog potato chips on a regular basis. Potato chips are chocked full of fat and salt. You don’t want your dog to ingest too much salt or fat.

Dogs can also eat french fries. But you shouldn’t give your dog too many fries for the same reason as potato chips. Fries are high in both oil and fat. Neither is good for dogs. While dogs can eat french fries, you shouldn’t be giving your dog heaps of fries on a regular basis.

Maintain a Balanced Diet

While dogs can eat potatoes, it doesn’t mean that they should eat them regularly. Potatoes are high in starch and provide little nutritional benefit for dogs. Dogs should be getting their nutrients from properly formulated dog foods. Dog food is designed to provide dogs with the best possible nutrient balance. It is okay to give your dog the occasional french fry or potato chip, but you should not be cooking potatoes for your dog and feeding them as a primary source of food or nutrition.

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Conclusion

Dogs can eat potatoes. If you catch your dog eating chips or fries or sneaking a bite of your baked potato, you don’t need to worry about it. However, potatoes should not be given to your dog as a regular source of food or nutrition. Potatoes are starchy and contain solanine. Potato products are often fatty, oily, and contain empty calories that your dog does not need. If your dog got into a bag of raw or green potatoes then it is best to call your veterinarian for advice.


Featured Image Credit: Val_R, Shutterstock

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