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Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes? | Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Dogs?

can dogs eat sweet potatoes

Can dogs eat sweet potatoes?  Sweet potatoes are a very popular side dish amongst humans, as they are a healthier alternative to a typical, white russet potato.  Whether they’re baked, mashed, or made into fries, they’re a delicious addition to any dinner—but what about for your dog?  Are sweet potatoes good for dogs? Let’s find out!

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Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes? (The Short Answer)

A few years ago, the answer would’ve been a resounding “yes!”  However, recent research done in 2018 by the UC Davis School of Medicine has linked dog foods containing potatoes to Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy.  As a result, the AKC suggests that sweet potatoes may no longer be a good choice as a staple of a dog’s diet.  However, as an occasional treat you should be more than ok sneaking your fluffy friend plain, cooked sweet potatoes here and there!

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat sweet potatoes?” Now, let’s learn about the benefits of feeding your dog this food! Are sweet potatoes good for dogs?

Sweet potatoes are a “whole food” and give dogs as well as humans a host of health benefits.  While it is a carbohydrate so it shouldn’t be eaten excessively, it is low in fat and rich in vitamins A, B6 and C.  Vitamin A helps with keeping muscles, skin, nerves, and eyes healthy.  Vitamin B6 helps with heart health and overall mood.  Vitamin C is incredibly important for a good immune system.

In addition to vitamins, sweet potatoes contain substantial amounts of calcium, potassium, and iron.  Finally, they are second on the list of top vegetables high in fiber.  Fiber is very important as it helps the digestive system, lowers the risk of heart disease and can even help prevent certain types of cancer.

Are Sweet Potatoes Bad For Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat sweet potatoes?” Now, let’s learn about the dangers of feeding your dog this food! Are sweet potatoes bad for dogs?

Sweet potatoes are not poisonous or toxic to dogs.  However, they don’t come without risk.  As mentioned earlier, while not conclusive, commercial dog foods containing sweet potatoes have been linked to Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy.  This disease decreases the ability of the heart to create the pressure needed to pump blood throughout the body.  Again, nothing is definitive and this has more to do with it being fed daily in dog food than sparingly as a treat.

When fed every so often as a treat the risks diminish significantly.  The main things you should be worried about is making sure you avoid feeding the skin and making sure the sweet potato is cooked beforehand.  Raw sweet potatoes and sweet potato skin contains trypsin inhibitors which can impact your dog’s ability to properly digest proteins.  The other thing to consider is making sure sweet potatoes are completely plain, or the additional ingredients are also safe for dogs.

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Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes Raw?

No, you should not feed your dog raw, uncooked sweet potatoes.  Raw sweet potatoes have trypsin inhibitors which are bad for your dog as they can eliminate or reduce their ability to digest proteins.  Cooking sweet potatoes eliminates this risk.  In addition, raw sweet potatoes can be a choking hazard to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato Skin?

No, sweet potato skin should not be given to dogs.  Like raw sweet potatoes, sweet potato peels can contain trypsin inhibitors.  We don’t want to hider our dog’s protein digestion, so we should avoid giving them sweet potato skins or peels.

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato Fries?

Typically, sweet potato fries are made with oils, butters, and seasonings that can be harmful to dogs.  It’s best to avoid giving your dog sweet potato fries if you don’t know every single ingredient to make sure it is dog-friendly.

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes Cooked?

Yes, you can absolutely give your dog cooked sweet potatoes as long as they are plain with the skins ideally removed.  If they are cooked with other ingredients, make sure to check that all additions are dog-friendly.  One common but NOT dog-friendly sweet potato addition is marshmallows which should be avoided at all costs.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Sweet Potatoes?

Canned sweet potatoes can be high in sugars and preservatives which can upset a dog’s stomach so it is recommended to opt for fresh, plain sweet potatoes instead.

Is Sweet Potato Pie Safe for Your Pup?

Sweet potato pie likely contains too much sugar to be good for dogs as well as other potentially harmful ingredients.  Especially be sure to avoid marshmallows as they contain xylotol which is an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?

As an occasional treat, plain, cooked sweet potatoes are a tasty and healthy snack for your dog.  As long as you steer away from serving them raw, serving the skins, or using dangerous additions/toppings like marshmallows, your dog will be healthy and happy!

Want to Learn More?

Check out these related articles from our “Read Before You Feed” series for more advice on safe foods for dogs!

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.