Can Dogs Eat French Fries?

April Saylor
By April Saylor. Reviewed by Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP on Feb. 14, 2024
elderly pit bull about to eat a french fry

Adobe Stock/Jennifer

NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be OK for one

Most pet parents who’ve taken their dog through the drive-thru window have been tempted to share a French fry with their pooch. But can dogs eat French fries safely, or should they steer clear?

While potatoes themselves are not toxic for dogs, French fries don’t quite make the “safe” list of foods dogs can eat. The high-fat, high-sodium content of fries can make your dog sick and should be avoided. That said, sniffing out an occasional fry from the floor likely won’t cause your dog serious harm.

Read on to learn more about why French fries and dogs don’t mix, and discover some safer alternatives your pup can snack on instead.

Are French Fries Bad for Dogs?

Tasty as they are, French fries are not a healthy choice for our canine friends, and there are several risks you should be aware of before offering a fry to your dog.

The oil used to cook French fries can give your dog an upset stomach or trigger pancreatitis. Over time, consuming too much fried and fatty foods can lead to serious health issues like obesity.

Most French fries also contain additives like salt, garlic powder, or other seasonings that can be very harmful to dogs. If your dog eats several fries and experiences any vomiting or diarrhea, call your vet right away.

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato Fries?

Sweet potato fries might be a healthier alternative to regular fries (at least there are a few extra vitamins compared to regular white potatoes), but they’re still not considered a safe treat for dogs. Like regular fries, sweet potato fries are typically cooked in fatty oils and seasoned with salt, making them a no-go for dogs.

If you’re cooking sweet potato fries at home and want to offer a bite to your pooch, opt for making them without any harmful seasonings or toppings. Or skip the fry form altogether and offer your dog the healthy alternative of plain, cooked sweet potatoes—boiled or steamed, not fried.

My Dog Ate French Fries. Now What?

Potatoes themselves aren’t necessarily bad for dogs—it’s how they’re prepared when cooked as French fries that makes them unhealthy. A bite of plain potatoes (boiled or baked) is typically fine. The addition of oil and salt is where dogs can get into trouble.

That said, your dog eating one or two fries probably won’t warrant a visit to the vet. While they’re certainly not healthy, your pet will likely be fine if they snag a few French fries—especially plain, unseasoned ones. If your pooch does eat a fry or two, watch for any adverse reactions (vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy) or other signs of discomfort. Call the vet if they appear sick. 

If your dog ate a lot of fries or fries that were seasoned with garlic salt, contact your vet. Whether a trip to the clinic is necessary depends on a number of factors, including how the fries were prepared, how many were eaten, and your dog’s size and relative health. Your vet can help determine if it’s an emergency.

What To Feed Your Dog Instead of French Fries

While it may be tempting to share fries with your furry companion, there are plenty of dog-friendly alternatives that can satisfy their snack cravings. Here are some healthier options to consider instead:

  • Carrot sticks: Crunchy and packed with vitamins, carrots are an excellent low-calorie alternative to French fries.

  • Sweet potato bites: Baked or air-fried sweet potato bites offer a similar texture and flavor to French fries without the added risks. Just make sure they’re not seasoned with salt or garlic, and feed in moderation.

  • Green beans: Steamed or raw green beans offer fiber and are low in calories. Win-win.

  • Pumpkin: As long as it’s plain, cooked or canned pumpkin can be a healthy treat for dogs. Try freezing it in a Kong® toy for a “pupsicle” or add a dollop to their regular food dish.

  • Zucchini spears: Slice a few bites of zucchini into fry shapes and sauté for a healthy snack option.

  • Apple slices: Sliced apples are a crunchy, fiber-rich treat for your pooch. Just remember to remove the seeds and core, as they can cause your pup harm.

  • Blueberries: These little superfoods are packed with antioxidants and can be given as a healthy and safe alternative to fries.

  • Air-popped popcorn: Plain, air-popped popcorn (without salt, butter, or any seasonings) are a low-calorie snack many dogs enjoy. Just don’t offer too much!

  • Frozen banana slices: Slice and freeze bananas for a refreshing dog-friendly treat that’s easy to snack on.

As with any human foods or new treats—even safe ones—start slowly, offering your dog only a few small bites at a time. Watch for signs of an upset stomach before offering more.

Always follow the 10% rule: Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s calories. Their primary nutrition should come from a well-balanced dog food that’s made specifically to meet their nutritional needs. 

Talk to your vet about whether certain foods are safe for dogs or if you have questions about your pup’s nutrition needs. They can help you choose new foods that are safe for your particular pooch to eat.

April Saylor


April Saylor

Freelance Writer

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