Many humans and dogs enjoy the taste of potato skins, but are they actually good for your pooch?
There are a few considerations to make before giving your pet this food. There are probably a number of things you didn’t know.
Potatoes and Dogs
Potatoes are known to cause digestive problems in dogs, which is why veterinarians do not recommend them as treats. There is also a decent amount of evidence that this food can cause problems with a dog’s kidneys and even nervous system.
Even raw potatoes with nothing on them can pose a major health threat to these animals. In fact, giving your dog potatoes on a regular basis can lead to pancreatitis, which is a very serious medical problem. This often requires surgery, which can be dangerous for your pet and expensive for you.
Can Dogs Eat Potato Skins?
The skin of the potato can have a toxic effect on your dog. This is due to the chemical in the skin of the potato known as solanine. While potato skins may not be fatal to dogs in small quantities, eating even a moderate amount can cause serious health problems.
Dogs that consume even a small amount of potato skins can quickly develop a heart arrhythmia. This is when the heart doesn’t beat normally, skipping beats or beating much slower than usual. If the problem is severe enough, it could lead to death.
Make sure that you only give your dog the white flesh from the potato and not the actual surface skin. This will prevent a potentially fatal toxic reaction.
How to Prepare Potatoes for Your Dog
If you want to give your dog potatoes, you should never give them any part of the food raw. Instead you’ll want to bake or broil them first. This will limit or even completely eliminate the potential for severe illness. Mashed potatoes are also acceptable, but you shouldn’t use any seasoning at all.
French fries or fried potatoes are not recommended for dogs, as they are too fatty. You should also avoid putting any salt, sour cream, cheese or butter on the potatoes that you give your pet.
Benefits of Potatoes for Dogs
Potatoes are packed with vitamins B and C, magnesium, iron, and tons of potassium. These nutrients can benefit your dog, but you’ll want to limit how much of this food you give to your pet. There is even some research to suggest that potatoes can decrease blood pressure levels.
A Good Potato Alternative
Sweet potatoes are safe for most dogs in moderation, and they are definitely less detrimental than potato skins. Many dog owners use this food to supplement their pet’s diet because of how potentially beneficial it is.
Just make sure that you don’t let your dog eat the vine of the sweet potato, as it is toxic for them. Toss this part of the potato in the garbage when you are preparing the potato for your dog. It can be fatal if they ingest even a little bit. Signs of a toxic reaction include vomiting, loss of balance, and problems swallowing.
It Depends on the Dog
Not all dogs that are given potato skins will react the same way, but you will be taking a fairly big chance. Make sure that you never give your dog a piece of potato that is too big for it to swallow, as it could end up choking.
Younger dogs can handle certain foods better than older ones, so you’ll need to keep that in mind as well. An older dog may not be able to handle the potentially toxic effect of potato skins. You should consider your dog’s size and overall health before making this decision.
While most dogs are not allergic to potatoes, an allergic reaction is certainly still possible. It is more likely for a dog to have this reaction if it eats a whole potato.
Some of the signs to look out for with a canine food allergy or negative reaction include:
- Itchy ears
- Inflamed/irritated skin
- Swelling of face, eyelids, lips, and ears
A severe allergic reaction requires immediate medical attention. If you notice any swelling on your dog after giving it the potato, you should get it treatment right away.
Tips for Giving Your Dog Potatoes
- If you do give your dog potato skins, it should be broiled or baked beforehand.
- You should only give your dog this food in small quantities once in a while.
- It is never a good idea to give your dog any potatoes if it has diabetes.
- Raw potatoes are very toxic to dogs.
- Clean any pieces of potato you give to your dog thoroughly before putting them in its bowl.
- While potatoes can supplement your dog’s diet, you should give them to your pet in moderation.
- Only the white flesh of the potato is acceptable, as the surface skin is highly toxic for these animals.
- Consider the age, breed and overall health of your dog before feeding it any of this food.
- If you do give your dog potatoes, make sure it is a piece that it can easily get down without the risk of choking.
- Sweet potatoes make for a healthy and safe alternative to potato skins for canines.
- Never give your dog potatoes in any form with seasonings, butter, sour cream, or salt.
- Pay close attention to how your dog reacts after being given any amount of potato.
- If you think that your dog is negative a severe negative reaction to the food, you should seek immediate medical attention for it.
- Boil or bake potatoes before giving them to your dog. You should never give them raw potatoes.
- If your dog eats an uncooked potato skin, you should try to make it throw up right away. This will minimize the toxic effect.