- Sweet potatoes are generally safe for dogs to eat as long as they are given in moderation.
- According to a recent FDA warning, dog foods that contain a significant amount of sweet potatoes can increase the risk of pets developing canine dilated cardiomyopathy. Sweet potatoes are also high in sugary starches, which can pose health risks for your pet.
- At the same time, this vegetable is high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, making it a healthy treat or food supplement for your pet.
- If you want to give your dog sweet potatoes, make sure to boil, mash, or bake them first. Never give raw, commercially processed, or fried potatoes to dogs.
Many dog owners love sharing their food with their pets, and dogs love eating bits and pieces of their owners’ meals. But while most of us are well aware that some products such as chocolate, onions, garlic, etc., are extremely dangerous to dogs, the situation may not be so simple and clear-cut with other human foods. This article will explain everything you need to know about the benefits and dangers of giving sweet potatoes to your dog.
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Sweet Potatoes May Not Be So Good For Dogs
Canine dilated cardiomyopathy
For a very long time, veterinarians and canine nutrition specialists have said that sweet potatoes are an excellent addition to a canine diet and that their frequent consumption in moderate amounts can bring about multiple health benefits. But this perspective was recently challenged when the US Food and Drug Administration has released a warning regarding canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). According to the agency, research has shown a link between DCM and pet foods rich in potatoes, legumes, lentils, and peas. Dogs who eat diets rich in these foods are more likely to develop DCM, which results in an enlarged heart and reduced blood pumping capacity. This condition can eventually lead to conditions such as congestive heart failure or even death. Luckily, these cases are rare and sweet potatoes still have many health benefits for dogs. However, if you choose to feed sweet potatoes to your dog, you should ensure that sweet potatoes, legumes, and peas make up only a small part of its diet.
High carbohydrate content
In addition to increasing the risk of your pet developing DCM, sweet potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, just like white potatoes and yams. Once those carbohydrates get digested by your pet’s body, they turn into sugar. What’s even worse, sweet potatoes cause your pet’s blood sugar to spike very rapidly. This results in a rapid release of insulin by the pet’s body. If these insulin spikes happen regularly, the dog may eventually develop thyroid disease, insulin resistance, diabetes, and even cancer.
Immune system issues
Carbohydrates can also have an adverse effect on the pet’s immune system. It’s widely known that yeast and good bacteria that live in the intestines play a huge role in maintaining a healthy immune system. Unfortunately, sugary starches promote the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast, resulting in a reduction of good microorganisms in the gut. This can lead to your pet developing various health conditions, including:
- Skin itchiness
- Chronic bowel issues
- Heart, liver, and kidney problems
So if you ever notice that your pet has started itching more or developed chronic ear infections that didn’t present a problem in the past, you might want to lay off sweet potatoes and see if these conditions improve. You might also need to have a vet examine the pet.
Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes For Dogs
While we’ve already talked a lot about the dangers of feeding your dog a lot of sweet potatoes, giving the vegetable in small amounts can allow your pet to take advantage of many health benefits of sweet potatoes. Here’s a list of some advantages of consuming sweet potatoes:
Rich In Nutrients
Sweet potatoes have an extremely high content of iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamins C, A, and B6. These nutrients have essential functions in your pet’s body. For instance, vitamin C promotes a healthy immune system, while vitamin A is important for eye, skin, and nerve health.
High In Dietary Fiber
Sweet potatoes have one of the highest fiber contents of all vegetables. Fiber can help your pet have regular bowel movements, prevent constipation and diarrhea. Plus, products high in fiber will make your dog feel full quicker, which can be helpful for dogs that need to lose weight. Regular fiber consumption can also lower your dog’s risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.
High In Beta Carotene
Beta Carotene is a powerful antioxidant that gives sweet potatoes their unique orange color. Once a dog consumes beta-carotene, its body uses the compound to create two molecules of vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for maintaining the pet’s reproductive system, vision, and skin. This antioxidant can also decrease the risk of your pet developing some types of cancer and heart disease.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Sweet Potatoes?
It’s never a good idea to give your dog raw sweet potatoes, as the vegetable is quite dense and difficult to chew. Plus, it can easily upset your dog’s stomach and even cause intestinal blockage. This is why it’s vital to cook sweet potatoes you’re trying to give your dog and remove their skin. The best ways to prepare sweet potatoes for your dog are to boil, bake, or mash them. If your dog has never had sweet potatoes before, you should start by mixing a small amount of mashed sweet potato into its kibble to ensure that the pet likes the vegetable and doesn’t have any adverse reactions to it. Keep in mind that you should never give fried or processed sweet potatoes to your dog.
How Much Sweet Potatoes To Feed A Dog?
If you want to take advantage of sweet potatoes’ health benefits for your dog, you should make sure that you give this food in moderation. Sweet potatoes should never be your dog’s primary food source. Instead, give them occasionally as a treat or supplement. It’s also a good idea to consult your veterinarian before starting to give your dog sweet potatoes. The specialist can advise you on what portion is appropriate for your pet, as this will depend on its breed, size, weight, and health condition.
How much sweet potatoes can I give my dog?
This will depend on your dog’s size and age. If you have a toy breed dog, an appropriate portion of sweet potatoes is 2-3 teaspoons. In any case, you shouldn’t feed your dog more than 1-2 ounces of sweet potatoes at a time.
Which is better for dogs, pumpkin or sweet potato?
According to a recent FDA warning, a diet high in sweet potatoes can increase your dog’s risk of developing canine dilated cardiomyopathy. So while sweet potatoes are higher in fiber and protein than pumpkin, it’s better to opt for feeding your pet pumpkin due to its lower carbohydrate content.
Can sweet potato kill dogs?
No, sweet potatoes are safe for dogs to eat, so they will not kill them. However, you shouldn’t feed your dog large amounts of the vegetable.
Does sweet potato help dogs poop?
Yes, sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, so they can improve your pet’s digestion and help it have regular bowel movements.
How do I make sweet potatoes for my dog?
The best way to prepare sweet potatoes for your pet is to boil, bake, and mash them. Don’t give your pet raw, fried, or commercially sweet potatoes or vegetables cooked with seasonings that contain onions or garlic.