Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
A sweet potato for your sweet potato 🧡
Sweet potatoes might be the perfect vegetable — they manage to be sweet and savory all at once. But as you’re enjoying your snack, you might be wondering: Can dogs eat sweet potatoes, too?
It turns out that dogs can eat sweet potatoes safely as long as they’re served the right way, according to Dr. Zach Marteney, a veterinarian and medical director at Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey.
Are sweet potatoes good for dogs?
There are a couple benefits to giving your dog sweet potatoes.
“Sweet potatoes are a source of dietary fiber and several vitamins — they are an especially good source of vitamin A,” Dr. Marteney told The Dodo.
But sweet potatoes should only be an occasional tasty treat for your pup and shouldn’t replace his normal food.
“They don't offer any nutritional benefits over a high-quality commercial diet,” Dr. Marteney said.
Can dogs eat raw sweet potatoes?
Dogs shouldn’t eat white potatoes raw because they contain solanine, which is toxic to dogs. (Cooked white potatoes are OK because the cooking process significantly reduces the amount of solanine.)
Uncooked sweet potatoes, however, are perfectly fine.
“Dogs can eat raw sweet potatoes, though they may [not] enjoy the texture as much,” Dr. Marteney said.
Can dogs eat sweet potato skins?
The skin of the sweet potato is OK for your pup to eat, too, as long as you prep it properly.
“Just make sure it has been thoroughly cleaned,” Dr. Marteney said.
To do this, just rinse them under running water. (You can even use a vegetable brush to be extra sure you get all the dirt off.)
Risks of feeding your dog sweet potatoes
While sweet potatoes are totally healthy for your dog to eat, be mindful of how much you’re giving him — those calories can add up quickly.
“The high fiber content carries with it a relatively high calorie load as well,” Dr. Marteney said. And consuming too many calories can cause your pup to gain weight.
“Just like us, weight is a lot easier to gain than to lose,” Dr. Marteney said.
And, like any change to your dog’s diet, introducing sweet potatoes can give him diarrhea, so only give him a small bite at first.
“Some dogs will have diarrhea when new foods are added to their diet,” Dr. Marteney said. “And some dogs will have diarrhea with the high fiber load that sweet potatoes offer.”
How can dogs eat sweet potatoes safely?
The key to feeding your dog sweet potatoes safely is to make sure you’re only feeding him completely plain ones. Some types of seasonings, like garlic, for example, are toxic to dogs and can cause health problems.
And because of the high calorie count in sweet potatoes — there are 86 calories in a 3.5-ounce serving, according to Healthline — it’s especially important to make sure you’re only feeding your BFF small amounts.
“Sweet potatoes fall into the ‘table food’ category,” Dr. Marteney said. “Like treats and other table scraps, these ‘discretionary calories’ should make up less than 10 percent of the total calorie intake each day.”
For example, a 5-pound dog should be eating around 138 calories per day, according to this chart. That means he should only eat 13.8 calories of treats per day (aka about half an ounce of sweet potato).
The good news is that dogs can eat sweet potatoes, as long as they’re clean and unseasoned. Just make sure to watch how much you’re giving your pup, and introduce them into his diet slowly.