NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be OK for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.
Potatoes are a staple food in kitchens all over the world. Hungry humans have been incorporating taters into meals for centuries, and there are countless ways to enjoy them—chopped, sliced, diced, boiled, mashed, fried, baked ... the list is endless. Such a popular food makes it easy to wonder if dogs can eat potatoes, too.
Good news: It’s safe for dogs to eat potatoes; they’re actually a popular ingredient in commercial dog food and treats. But even though potatoes are considered a safe “human food” for dogs to enjoy, there are a few things to keep in mind about how to safely share this starch with your pooch.
Are Potatoes Good for Dogs?
Dogs have specific nutritional needs that must be met through their diet, and that includes carbohydrates. Potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and some vitamins and minerals. They are safe for dogs to eat when prepared correctly and fed in moderation.
What Potatoes Can Dogs Eat?
How you prepare potatoes makes a big difference on whether they're OK for dogs to eat. Generally speaking, cooked plain potatoes are fine for dogs. But potatoes that are fried or prepared with other ingredients like butter and cheese are not a good option.
When prepared without harmful ingredients such as garlic or butter, mashed potatoes are safe for dogs to eat. You can add a small serving of plain mashed potatoes to their regular kibble as a food topper the next time you make a batch for yourself. Just set aside some of the plain mashed taters before you add butter, salt, or cream to your own serving.
Like mashed potatoes, baked potatoes are safe for dogs to eat if they're plain and have not been topped with any harmful ingredients (hold the cheese and sour cream!). Potato skins can upset your dog’s stomach, so it’s best to peel them off before sharing.
Don’t let your dog have raw potatoes. Raw potatoes contain solanine, which can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large amounts. If your pooch tries to dig them out of the garden, consider adding a fence to keep your pup away—or else they’ll likely end up with an upset stomach or diarrhea.
Sweet potato is safe for dogs to eat and is a great source of nutrition for your furry friend. Sweet potato is rich in fiber, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. This tasty root vegetable can help regulate digestion and promote a healthy immune system. Boiled, mashed, or baked sweet potato in small amounts is a healthy treat for dogs, but steer clear of giving your dog sweet potato fries.
Fries aren’t good for dogs, since the salt and oil they’re prepared with can make your dog sick. If he sneaks one or two off the floor, your pooch will probably be fine. But too many fries could lead to pancreatitis or other long-term health issues, so be careful.
Potato skins are difficult for dogs to digest, so remove the skin from any potato you share with your dog. If he gets into any peels from the trash or compost pile, call your vet, as the solanine in the skins can be toxic in large quantities.
Potato chips are not good for dogs. They’re high in salt, fat, and other harmful ingredients that can make your pooch sick if he eats too many. That said, if your dog sneaks one or two chips from your plate, he’ll probably be fine. Just don't give him chips as a regular treat—especially if your dog has any health issues.
How to Safely Prepare Potatoes for Dogs
If you want to share a few spuds with your dog, keep these tips in mind to ensure the potato is safe for him to eat:
Never feed your dog raw potato, potato skins, or any green or uncooked parts.
Always wash and peel the potatoes before cooking.
Avoid adding harmful ingredients like garlic, onion, butter, or salt.
Mashed, baked, or boiled potatoes are fine. Fried potatoes are not.
Only feed your dog potatoes as a treat or food topper, not as a main component of their diet. Dogs have specific nutritional needs that must be met, and potatoes alone don’t cut it.
How Many Potatoes Can Dogs Eat?
Potatoes are a common ingredient in dog food and treats, so it’s OK to offer your dog cooked, plain taters as a treat or occasional food topper. As with any new ingredient, start slow. See how your hound reacts before giving him a full serving size.
Extra-small dog (2–20 pounds) = 1 teaspoon of cooked, plain potato
Small dog (21–30 pounds) = 1–2 teaspoons of cooked, plain potato
Medium dog (31–50 pounds) = 2–3 teaspoons of cooked, plain potato
Large dog (51–90 pounds) = 1–2 tablespoons of cooked, plain potato
Extra-large dog (91+ pounds) = 3–4 tablespoons of cooked, plain potato
Remember: These are just general guidelines for how much potato is safe for dogs to eat. Always check with your vet before making changes to your dog’s diet.
What Other Foods Can Dogs Eat?
Cooked, plain potatoes can be a tasty addition to a dog's diet in small amounts. Some other common “human foods” that are considered safe for dogs to eat include:
Featured Image: Adobe/JAVIER LARRAONDO
Help us make PetMD better
Was this article helpful?