Opinions are divided on sweet potatoes. Some people like them, others don’t, and some only like them in the form of fries. Yet sweet potatoes have some health benefits, so it’s not just sweet potato lovers who wonder if they can be fed to dogs.
Dogs are allowed to eat sweet potatoes, which are also part of many dog foods and treats due to their high fiber content and vitamins. Most dogs also like sweet potatoes. However, sweet potatoes are not suitable for dogs that have diabetes or have already had problems with bladder stones.
Aside from the rare cases with an allergy or health issues that speak against it, sweet potatoes are safe for most dogs.
Sweet potatoes are also used in many homemade dog food and treats recipes.
However, as with all foods, it depends on how often and how much you give your dog. And also on what other foods you offer him.
Are Sweet Potatoes Suitable for Dogs?
Sweet potatoes contain about 90 calories, 20 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of protein, and 0.2 g of fat per 100 g. They also contain 3 g of dietary fiber.
Sweet potatoes have a high beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, manganese, and potassium content. These ingredients are essential for body functions such as vision, hair and claw growth, and neurological functions.
Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes also contain large amounts of antioxidants. One of the types of antioxidants in sweet potato is anthocyanin.
In studies on mice, anthocyanin has been shown to slow down the growth of specific cancer cells.
Mice fed with sweet potatoes had lower colon cancer rates and less brain inflammation, better memory, and better learning ability.
However, this effect has not been shown to translate to dogs. But there is no doubt that sweet potatoes are full of essential nutrients.
Can Sweet Potatoes Make Dogs Sick?
Sweet potatoes are not suitable for all dogs, and some dogs should only be given tiny amounts.
For example, a diet that contains large amounts of oxalic acid derivatives can contribute to oxalate crystals in the urine. In addition to sweet potatoes, spinach, and wheat germ contain more significant oxalic acid.
These oxalate crystals can cause pain during urination and blood in the urine. They can also lead to bladder or urethral stones, which are painful and may require surgery to remove.
This type of stone is most common in Miniature Schnauzers, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, and Yorkshire Terriers.
If your dog belongs to these breeds, you should ensure he does not overeat oxalic acid. However, a small amount of sweet potatoes every now and then shouldn’t hurt.
However, if you feed your dog spinach regularly and add sweet potatoes, this may be too much for your dog.
If your dog has had bladder stones removed in the past, you should be very careful when making dietary changes. It is best to discuss any planned changes with your veterinarian.
In addition, every dog is different, which also applies to dietary habits. Although it is rare, some dogs cannot tolerate sweet potatoes.
In some dogs, sweet potatoes cause an upset stomach with vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. In others, they may cause a skin reaction and increased itching.
Therefore, giving your dog only a small amount of sweet potatoes first and observing for 1 to 2 days to see if any adverse reactions occur is advisable.
If your dog has diabetes, you probably know the diet should be highly stable.
Giving your dog sugary fruits or vegetables can throw the diabetes out of balance and lead to uncontrolled disease.
This is especially true for sweet potatoes, which contain many carbohydrates and have a high glycemic index. They don’t have the word “sweet” in their name for nothing.
Digestion of these carbohydrates causes a massive increase in blood sugar levels. This can lead to severe problems in a diabetic dog.
Therefore, in addition to treats made from sweet potatoes, dogs with diabetes should avoid foods that contain them as an ingredient.
Sweet Potatoes in Dry Food
It is not surprising that sweet potatoes are included in many dog foods. Sweet potatoes are often found in dog foods marketed for allergic or sensitive dogs.
Sweet potatoes are commonly seen as a great way to provide carbohydrates to a dog while improving digestion.
How to Feed Sweet Potatoes to Dogs
When giving sweet potatoes to your dog for the first time, try only a tiny amount at first. Wait 1 to 2 days to see how your dog reacts before giving him more.
If all goes well and your dog doesn’t get an upset stomach, you can add sweet potatoes to his diet.
Remember, however, that sweet potatoes contain calories as an addition to the regular diet and as a treat.
You should only provide up to 10% of your dog’s daily calorie needs through treats and additions to the regular food without upsetting the calorie intake from the main meal.
When in doubt, you can offset the extra calories by omitting some of the food at dinner.
Many dogs are considered overweight or obese. Such treats as sweet potatoes can easily be forgotten when calculating your dog’s daily food allowance.
Your veterinarian can use calorie calculations to advise how many calories your dog should eat. This way, you can ensure he is not eating too many calories.
If your dog is already overweight, you can still give him small amounts of sweet potato. However, it should be included in dry food suitable for weight loss.
Should Dogs Be Given Raw Or Cooked Sweet Potatoes?
Dogs can eat raw sweet potatoes in small amounts. Most dogs will probably enjoy them as a tasty chew.
It is suitable for your dog’s mental health to try new foods with different textures.
As with any other food, dogs should only be given small amounts. Ensure the pieces are small enough for your dog to swallow without gagging.
There is a simple way to ensure this. Give your dog thin, long, chip-like pieces that he can chew on, but that won’t get stuck in his throat as easily as large cube-shaped pieces.
If your dog does not chew his food, do not give him raw sweet potatoes. They can cause intestinal blockages if not chewed properly.
Also, make sure your dog doesn’t eat too many fried sweet potatoes or sweet potato fries, as they have a higher fat content and can cause problems in the long run.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes With the Skin On?
The skin of the sweet potato is safe for dogs as long as you feed it in moderation. However, you should check the skin for mold, as it can be toxic to dogs.
It is also essential to wash the sweet potato thoroughly before eating it to remove any residue of pesticides or other chemicals that may be present.
Do Sweet Potatoes Help With Diarrhea?
Whether sweet potatoes help with diarrhea depends on the cause of the diarrhea and on your dog itself.
Sweet potatoes are very high in fiber, which leads to firmer stools. For this reason, they are included in many high-fiber dog foods.
Unfortunately, diarrhea rarely results from a lack of fiber but usually has another cause.
It could be poisoning, a bacterial infection, or some other condition. Sweet potatoes will not help the diarrhea caused by these problems.
In dogs that don’t usually tolerate sweet potatoes well, sweet potatoes can upset the stomach even more and tend to worsen or prolong diarrhea.
However, in dogs with anal gland problems and chronic soft stools, extra fiber can help. Raw carrot is often recommended, but raw sweet potato is also suitable.
Remember to adjust your dog’s diet accordingly. Just 50 grams of raw sweet potato is equivalent to 5% of the daily caloric intake of a 15 kg dog.
This means that a dog that eats 50 g of raw sweet potatoes daily without adjusting its other daily food intake could quickly become overweight.
How Often Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Dogs should generally eat any food only in moderation. This also applies to sweet potatoes.
Eating a small amount of sweet potato should be fine for most dogs, even daily. However, you should not make sweet potato your dog’s primary food.
If dogs overeat sweet potatoes, it can make it harder for them to go to the bathroom.
Conclusion: Are Dogs Allowed to Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are suitable for dogs and are included in many dog food products and treats. They are also ideal for making homemade dog food and treats.
Sweet potatoes offer dogs some health benefits as they are high in fiber and contain various vitamins and antioxidants.
However, not all dogs can tolerate sweet potatoes. Dogs who suffer from diabetes or who have had bladder stones should not eat sweet potatoes. Some dogs may also have allergic reactions, but this is rare.
For overweight dogs, save the extra calories the dog takes in with the sweet potatoes elsewhere.
If unsure, you should always talk to your vet before changing your dog’s diet. He can advise you and also set up a diet plan.