The potato is just one of those basic staples that grace most meals. An essential comfort food, the potato is rarely looked at as a toxic ingredient, but it can be for a dog. So, can dogs eat potatoes? While they can contain many important nutrients, you need to prepare them correctly, or you can make your dog sick.
Should a Dog Eat Raw Potatoes?
Potatoes are enjoyed in many different forms from hash browns to French fries and are typically found on the menu of most homes in the U.S. When prepared in a healthy manner without using too much grease in the cooking process, a potato can be a very nutritious and beneficial addition to a healthy and balanced diet.
Potatoes do contain important nutrients that dogs need to live a healthy life that includes Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, iron, and magnesium. Dogs can eat potatoes as long as they are served correctly and are given in small amounts. The reason that raw potatoes or potatoes that are incorrectly prepared can be dangerous for a dog is that it increases your dog’s ability to get canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). With this disease, your dog’s heart muscle can weaken, and it can reduce his normal heart pumping function. This can cause your dog’s heart to increase in size, which can have horrible consequences on your pup causing him to suffer from congestive heart failure and even die as a result of a sudden cardiac arrest.
So, Should a Dog Eat Potatoes At All?
Only when the potato has been prepared correctly. Otherwise, no, a dog should not eat raw potato, potatoes that are cooked incorrectly, or large amounts of potatoes. Remember that a raw potato will contain a compound called solanine, which may be toxic to a dog. When a potato is cooked, then the solanine level will drop significantly, which is why a cooked potato is fine, but a raw potato is not.
You will find that solanine is actually present in many plants like potatoes and tomatoes. The role of solanine is to deter insects and defend the plant. But, it can harm a dog if he ingests even just a small amount.
How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Eaten Solanine?
Typically, a dog will have symptoms that are similar to food poisoning. This compound will inhibit his body’s breakdown of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter in your pup’s body. When your dog can’t break down acetylcholine, there will be reduced function of his body’s organs and nervous system. Plus, it can result in a buildup in a dog’s liver as well as his kidneys, brain, lungs, and heart.
It’s also possible for a human to get sick from ingesting too much solanine, however, that would require eating a lot of potatoes for it to happen. Dogs have a higher potential of getting sick, so make sure not to give your dog raw potatoes. Especially potatoes with growing sprouts or green skin, even if they have been cooked.
What is Green Potato Poisoning?
If you think your dog has ingested green or raw potatoes, the foliage of a potato plant, or potato skin, it is important to look for the following symptoms:
- Slowed breathing
- Slow pulse
- Cardiac dysrhythmia
- Burning of the throat
- Dilated pupils
- Swelling of lips or tongue
- Excess drooling
- Difficult breathing
- Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain
- Hypothermia or low body temperature
- Loss of sensation
All these symptoms will depend on how much of the solanine was in the potato that your pup has eaten as well as how large your dog is and what his current health is. Typically, symptoms are mild, but you want to be careful if your dog is already sick or small. And, if your dog has eaten a lot of potatoes, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
The vet will need to know how much of the plant foliage or raw potato your pup has eaten as well as how long ago that it has happened to make a determination. Make sure to let your vet know of any symptoms you may have noticed as well as your dog’s complete medical history.
How Do You Introduce a Dog To Potatoes?
There are some dogs that will eat pretty much anything that you give them, however, some are pickier. When you want a dog to eat the food he doesn’t like, it’s helpful to mix it up with something he loves like his dog food. When it comes to potatoes, you will need to boil or bake them first, and remember not to add anything to them, even salt. Potato chips or French fries are fried in a ton of oil and include high levels of sodium making them unhealthy for their diet for both dogs and humans.
A dog is not naturally an omnivore since their bodies were designed to digest animal proteins, so this is how we should feed them. But, if you want to add vegetables like potatoes to a dog’s typical diet, do it moderately.
It’s important to follow the “5% rule,” which will keep your dog happy, energetic, and healthy. Basically, it means that herbs, vegetables, and fruit need to make up about 5% of your dog’s diet each day. Dogs that suffer from something like diabetes should never eat potatoes since they are high in sugar and carbohydrates, they can cause spikes in a dog’s blood sugar. Also, too many carbohydrates may cause your dog other health issues like weight issues.
It’s best to be careful when you are first introducing potatoes into your pet’s diet, so you need to make sure they are cooked well. Also start with small amounts to make sure your pup won’t have any issues when digesting them. A dog typically has a hard time when digesting non-protein food since they are naturally carnivorous.
But each dog is different, and there are some that won’t have an issue with digesting other food types. If you do notice that your dog has issues like diarrhea or vomiting, make sure you stop giving your pup potatoes and consult your vet if the issues persist.
What happens if a dog eats raw potatoes?
It’s important that you never give your dog a raw potato to eat. White potatoes contain a compound called solanine that can be toxic to some dogs. But a cooked potato will reduce the level of solanine making it a little safer to feed your dog.
If you feed a dog a potato, then it needs to be boiled or baked and have nothing that has been added to it. A potato that is fried like potato chips or French fries as well as potatoes that have salt or butter added is not a healthy choice for a dog. If your dog has diabetes, then he shouldn’t be given any potatoes since they can cause a dog’s blood sugar to spike.
Animal protein is where a dog’s body is designed to get most of its nutrients, so if you do give your dog a boiled or baked potato, it should be done moderately. Remember that giving any dog a lot of carbohydrates may result in health issues like obesity.
How many potatoes can a dog eat?
It all depends on how large your dog is and how much sugar he is already being fed in his diet. If a dog doesn’t have a lot of sugar in his diet already, it should be fine to give him up to ½ cup of potatoes that are mixed with his meals approximately two or three times each week.
Are raw potatoes poisonous?
Similar to a tomato, a raw potato contains solanine, which is a compound that can be toxic to some dogs. But, if you cook the potato it will reduce the level of solanine. Remember that if you do feed your dog potatoes, make sure they are boiled or baked with nothing like butter or salt added to it.
Can dogs eat raw potatoes in the UK?
No, like in the United States, a raw potato contains a compound called solanine, which may be toxic to some dogs. So, it is important to give your dog cooked potatoes in order to reduce the amount of solanine, which makes them safer for a dog to eat.