Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato?
Is sweet potato something you can share with your dog or should you ignore your dog's begging look? This article will give you a detailed answer.
Humans can’t imagine their diet without potatoes. You can prepare them in a million different ways and they will still be delicious! And if we love potatoes so much, the chances are that our furry friends will love it as well. Actually, we know that they love them, but should they? Read on and discover how suitable potatoes really are for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato?
The short and sweet answer is – yes, but in moderation. In addition, you should never serve your dog a raw sweet potato. After all, there are many kinds of potatoes, and in most cases, they could be found in regular dogs food. After all, dogs don’t need additional nutritional value if they intake enough vitamins and minerals through their regular meals.
So, you can feed your dog, adult, and puppy as well, with sweet potatoes and white potatoes as well, but never as the main part of their diet. Sweet potatoes are just a nice addition to your dog’s regular diet.
Good to know: Avoid feeding your dog with green skin potatoes.
What Is Sweet Potato?
Sweet potato originated in the Americas during the 15th. With the arrival of Christopher Columbus sweet potato become a staple crop. Columbus loved this vegetable so much that he brought the orange potato with him, back to Spain. And that was the start of potato popularity.
So, by the end of 16th-century potato dominated European gardens. Sweet potatoes can be found in orange-fleshed tuber with copper-brown skin. Or, you can see them with a soft and pale flesh with golden-skin. If you are not a huge sweet lover, you can go for a golden option as it tends to be less sweet.
Also, sweet potato is a great source of vitamins, potassium, iron, and carbohydrates. All together, sweet potato is great for your dog. All in, it will give your puppy more energy.
The reason why you shouldn’t give your dog a raw sweet potato lies in the fact that sweet potato contains a toxin called solanine, that’s based in green peels.
Sweet Potato Vs. Yams
People often confuse sweet potato with yams. Actually, the number of people that can distinguish these two is extremely small, and you need to know the difference if you are planning to feed your dog with sweet potato. Yams are usually found in specially equipped stores as they are mostly imported.
In addition, they are mostly imported from Africa, as 95% of yams are grown there. Their skin is dark and rough opposite to sweet potato, and pilling them is never easy. Also, yams skin can range in colors from white to reddish.
Long story short, yams are cylindrical and less sweet.
Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes For Dogs
There are many benefits when it comes to your dog eating sweet potato. In general, the proper amount of sweet potato can lead to many benefits, including sharp vision and even cancer-fighting antioxidants. Interestingly, sweet potato comes with natural anti-inflammatory properties, which makes a great choice for dogs with food allergies.
Here are three reasons why the sweet potato is good for your dog:
1. Sweet Potato Is A Great Source Of Beta-Carotene
Sweet potato is a powerful antioxidant that gives the tuber it’s yellow, orange, or gold color. In addition, it converts vitamin A in a dog’s body. Also, its thought to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and even provide protection when it comes to fighting heart disease. All in, Beta-Carotene is extremely important when it comes to a building block for the immune system.
Basically, both the first and secondary line of defenses can be improved by providing Beta-Carotene to a dog’s diet. And introduction sweet potato to your dog is a good way.
2. Sweet Potato Is A Great Source Of Minerals
Surprisingly, sweet potato is a great source of manganese, potassium, and magnesium. As we know, minerals have many vital purposes in the dog’s body that are mandatory for good doggy health. Moreover, each mineral has a specific role.
Furthermore, sweet potato contains additional minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, and its low in sodium. Altogether, these are the minerals that can balance fluid in the body, and preserve nerve transmissions and muscle function.
Benefits Of Potassium For Your Dog
In order for dogs body to function properly, potassium is mandatory. Actually, in order for humans body to function normally, potassium is mandatory. Also, potassium is called an electrolyte because it has high reactivity with water. This means that when potassium gets dissolved in water, it produces positively charged ions that allows it to conduct electricity.
Even 90% of total body potassium store is found in the body’s cells. Basically, this means that in order for potassium to play its role in the body, it has to be in great balance. Otherwise, the way cells work is highly affected which could lead to the strong and fast development of chronical health conditions.
So, by incorporating sweet potato in dogs diet you will increase his potassium level or keep it balanced until all functions start working properly.
Benefits Of Calcium For Your Dog
In order for your dog to have healthy teeth and healthy bones calcium is mandatory. So, your dog needs to get a balanced diet and a significant amount of calcium in order to maintain healthy bones. Calcium is extremely important during and after pregnancy, and in the production of milk for the newborn puppies.
The best way for your dog to intake calcium is to absorb it together with the right amount of vitamin D and phosphorous. Actually, when calcium is mixed with phosphorous your dog gets the most from it. Interestingly, if your dog’s diet is heavily based on the meat some calcium imbalance may be present, and even cause bone deficiencies. In addition, vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium.
But, if the amount of vitamin D is too high, it can be toxic to dogs. The proper dosage of vitamin D for your dog depends on the dog’s age, health condition and breed. Always talk to your veterinarian first if you feel that your dog should be on any supplement.
Benefits Of Iron For Your Dog
Iron is the key mineral in your dog’s diet. Furthermore, iron is crucial for the proper formation of healthy red blood cells. In addition, the two major oxygen-carrying proteins found in blood and muscle tissue – hemoglobin and myoglobin, depend on a central core of iron.
Interestingly, these proteins cannon be made by the body without the proper intake of iron-containing foods. In general, dog food contains a significant amount of iron, but if an owner insists on feeding his dog vegetarian or vegan diet, there is a possibility of lack of iron.
Also, if an owner feeds dog raw diet he should make sure that there is a proper balance between iron and other minerals. Lack of iron can contribute to health problems including anemia.
3. Sweet Potato Is High In Fiber And Low in Fat
Sweet potato is low in fat which makes it a great snack even for dogs that may suffer from obesity. In addition, sweet potato is high in fiber which is great for digestive health. So, being high in fiber and low in fat makes sweet potato great for dog’s diet.
Sweet Potato For Dogs: Possible Side Effects
According to Modern Dog Magazine sweet potato is one of the top 10 ‘people’ foods for dogs. Regardless of that fact, sweet potato comes with a few drawbacks.
1. Keep Your Dog From Sweet Potato Vines
Although sweet potato is safe for your dog, vines are a different story. Sweet potato vine is known for being full of toxic ingredients. Moreover, these toxic ingredients have similar characteristics like LSD. So, eating vines can cause numerous problems in your dog’s organism and even have poisonous effects. Long story short, potato vines are extremely toxic and can affect the brain, heart, liver, and kidneys.
2. Gastrointestinal Issues
Make sure that you don’t serve your dog too much of sweet potato. Bear in mind that moderation is the key, regardless if you serve baked or cooked sweet potato. And, remember, too much of fiber leads to gastrointestinal issues. So, what’s the right sweet potato portion for your dog? Well, this depends on many different factors, such as the dog’s overall health, activity level, and dog’s size.
Again, moderation is the key, as too much of good food can cause bone and muscle weakness. Why? Due to excessive vitamin A. In general, carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes, should be just a daily part of a dog’s diet. So, when you are introducing, any new food make sure that you first spare few minutes of your time and talk with your veterinarian.
If your veterinarian gives you a green light, make sure that you start with ultra-small bites and build up from there. In addition, it’s a great way to see your dogs reaction and if he’s gonna have some side effects. If you notice any strange behavior, contact your veterinarian again.
3. Itchy Skin
How can something that is so tasteful and yummy, like sweet potato lead to something irritating like itchy skin? Well, the reason for it is actually pretty simple. Carbohydrates, including sweet potato, have a tendency of transforming into sugar in your dog’s body.
But, if you are feeding your canine sweet potato for a longer period of time and he shows no signs of itching, it means that you are balancing right and understand that moderation is the key.
Fast fact: To avoid diarrhea, pain, or vomiting never feed your dog raw sweet potatoes or a lot of potatoes at once.
How To Serve Sweet Potato To Your Dog?
Now that you know that moderation is the key for dogs happy and full belly, you should know how you can serve sweet potato to your dog, what is acceptable and what you should avoid.
So, if you are going to feed your dog sweet potatoes you are having a pretty easy job ahead of you, as you can do it in a variety of ways. As mentioned earlier, do not serve raw sweet potato as it can lead to upset and inflamed stomach. So, the best way you can serve your dog sweet potato is to bake it or boil it, with nothing added to it.
Another interesting option is to try dehydrated sweet potatoes for dogs. There are many available DIY ideas for this healthy snack. Preparing sweet potato is fast. The easiest approach is to put slices sweet potatoes into the oven at a low temperature until they become soft.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato – Key Takeaways
So, sweet potato is safe for your dog. However, you should never feed him with a raw form of this vegetable. But, if you serve it to your dog properly he will love it, and moreover, he will extremely benefit from it. In addition, don’t forget that dogs actually don’t need salt or any spice for better taste. Canines are found of sweet potato baked or cooked, and that’s the best way to serve them.
Sweet potato is a nice source of calcium, potassium, and many other minerals that can only bring benefits when it comes to the health of your dog. But, make sure not to serve him too much as it can lead to non-desirable moments. Start with a bite or two and if you don’t notice any change in dogs behavior or eating habits you are free to make sweet potato a regular addition to your canine’s diet.