Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes? Yes, but ration the amount. – Pumpkin®

Thinking of sweet potatoes conjures up thoughts of holiday dinner garnishes topped with toasted marshmallows and brown sugar. most people don’t think of them as anything more than a gooey, sweet addition to a holiday meal. however, for us and our dogs, they offer many health benefits.

Nutritionists consider sweet potatoes to be a complete superfood. These orange-colored ground tubers, or tubers, are rich in nutrients. They’re packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, a nutritional punch that few root vegetables can match. they are also low in calories and fat. Ultimately, sweet potatoes add nutritional and flavorful value to your dog’s diet.

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Many manufacturers of dog food and treats include sweet potatoes in their products. they are also found in some grain-free or limited-ingredient kibble formulas for dogs with allergies. there are some concerns with this, and we’ll look at those concerns later in this article.

For now, let’s take a closer look at sweet potatoes to see why they can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet.

the humble sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are a starchy root vegetable grown around the world. Often confused with yams, most American grocery stores carry sweet potatoes and only specialty stores carry the real yam.

what is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

Sweet potatoes are sweeter and contain more nutrients than yams. You would think that these two vegetables are related, but they are not.

Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family. yams are from the lily family. both are ground tubers, with yams being much larger than sweet potatoes with a rind-like pulp and a drier, starchier flesh. sweet potatoes have a smoother, thinner skin with less starch but more nutrients.

White potatoes are also not related to sweet potatoes. White potatoes are from the nightshade family, which makes them toxic if eaten raw. sweet potatoes are not toxic, but they can cause stomach pain if your dog eats them raw.

nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes

Considered a whole food superfood, sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals considered essential for the health of both dogs and their owners.

These are some of the benefits sweet potatoes provide:

  • Dietary Fiber: Sweet potatoes are one of the highest sources of fiber in vegetables, and most dogs love them. Fiber is essential to maintain the proper functioning of the digestive system. If your dog has diarrhea or constipation, the fiber in sweet potatoes will help correct these problems.

Obesity dogs can benefit from a diet rich in fiber. the fiber prolongs that feeling of fullness after a meal, helping your dog lose weight.

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Studies have shown that a diet rich in fiber can reduce heart disease and may prevent certain cancers in dogs.

  • Antioxidants: Sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals that cause cell damage from things like stress, disease, or environmental damage. the purple sweet potato (stokes sweet potato) has more antioxidants (anthocyanins) and the orange sweet potato contains more beta-carotene.
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vitamins:

  • Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant, this vitamin supports your dog’s immune system. finds and destroys free radicals that can damage cells due to stress, disease and environmental toxins. It is also reported to reduce cognitive aging issues in older dogs.
  • Vitamin A: In addition to supporting cell function, reproduction, and the immune system, vitamin A is what beta-carotene is converted to once inside the body. beta-carotene is responsible for the orange color in sweet potatoes and carrots and promotes healthy vision.
  • vitamin b6: supports healthy red blood cell function, the immune system, and provides support for glucose generation. this is an essential vitamin for dogs, especially those with diabetes who need constant blood sugar levels.

minerals:

  • Calcium: An essential mineral needed to support strong bone growth, healthy teeth, a strong heart, muscle growth and function, and a healthy nervous system.
  • potassium: This important mineral maintains the proper functioning of your dog’s kidneys. it also supports efficient heart function, muscle function, and a healthy digestive system.
  • Iron: Iron supports the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen throughout the body and produces energy. iron is an essential nutrient for dogs.

what about raw sweet potatoes?

White potatoes are from the nightshade family, which makes them toxic if fed to dogs raw. however, sweet potatoes, since they are not related to white potatoes, are not toxic.

Cooked sweet potatoes are great for your dog, but raw sweet potatoes can cause stomach pain or intestinal upset. for that reason, they are best served just cooked.

Can my dog ​​eat sweet potato skins?

The skin of a sweet potato is not toxic to your dog, but if eaten in large pieces, it could present a choking hazard. this is especially true for small breed dogs.

In addition, the skin is difficult for them to digest. Peeling vegetables before feeding is a good idea, but if you leave the skins on the sweet potatoes, slice or cut them into small, thin pieces for easier eating and digestion.

Can my dog ​​eat canned sweet potatoes?

Most canned sweet potatoes have added artificial sweeteners and ingredients, making them a potential danger to your dog.

Canned organic sweet potatoes without sugar with just water as an additional ingredient are fine for your dog.

it should be noted that some nutrients are lost in the canning process.

can dogs be allergic to sweet potatoes?

yes and no. Sweet potatoes are considered a complete food, which means your dog is less likely to have an immune response or sensitivity to them. however, any time you offer your dog a new food, be on the lookout for any itching, difficulty breathing, or rash.

Because sweet potatoes are a starchy carbohydrate, dogs with yeast or candida problems (ear infections or excessive itching) should be monitored for flare-ups of symptoms. carbohydrates are converted to sugar in the body, and the sugar feeds yeast or candida.

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the best ways to feed your dog sweet potatoes

Dogs generally love sweet potatoes. I know mine does!

They are best boiled or baked, then mashed, sliced, or diced. These tubers make good workout treats because they are low in fat and calories. You can also occasionally add them to your dog’s regular food, such as a kibble or wet food for a tasty and nutritious addition.

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Human-made sweet potato fries and chips may have salts, sugars, or artificial additions to their content. these are not safe for your dog and may cause stomach or stomach upset. If you want to share your sweet potato fries or chips with your dog, try making them with a fresh sweet potato instead of processed or frozen items.

My dogs love dehydrated sweet potatoes as a healthy alternative to rawhide chews. They come out of the oven or dehydrator stiff, with a slight chewiness that satisfies your chewing needs. There are plenty of resources online for quick and easy sweet potato chews for those who prefer to DIY. this option is especially good for older dogs or puppies.

Mixing sweet potatoes with other fruits and vegetables is a great way to add a nutritional boost to your dog’s diet. Mix them with strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, bananas, add them to plain yogurt smoothies, or freeze them for a quick summer treat.

Can my diabetic dog eat sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are high in starch and are considered a medium glycemic load vegetable. that means it quickly changes to sugar and can raise blood sugar to high levels. it can also cause your blood sugar level to crash or drop quickly.

For this reason, dogs with diabetes should be given sweet potatoes as an occasional treat. If your dog has diabetes, ask your veterinarian about giving your dog sweet potatoes.

sweet potatoes and dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the enlargement of the heart, limiting its ability to efficiently pump blood throughout a dog’s body. this can lead to severe congestive heart failure and sudden heart attacks.

In recent years, there has been some concern and many studies about the role of grain-free or limited-ingredient diets in dogs diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. The studies were initiated due to concerns that dogs might be diagnosed with MCD in breeds that are not known to have a genetic predisposition to this disease. in many of the cases, the dogs were on a limited-ingredient diet.

Studies have not determined the cause of the increase in MCD cases, but have determined that in the cases of dogs diagnosed with MCD, 93% of them were eating food that contained peas or lentils as the main ingredient. Far fewer dogs diagnosed with CMD ate food containing potatoes or sweet potatoes.

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This means that sweet potatoes, as a treat, will not harm your dog or cause CMD. There are still more studies on this topic, but at this time, sweet potatoes are not considered to play a role in increasing DCM in dogs that are not predisposed to this disease.

Are sweet potatoes safe for my dog?

As with many other fruits or vegetables, sweet potatoes should be given to your dog in moderation and as an occasional treat, not as a regular diet. Too much of a good thing, even if nutritious, should be offered in small amounts first to avoid any allergic response or intolerance. A healthy diet for dogs includes scientifically formulated kibble or wet food, with treats and dietary supplements, such as sweet potatoes, added sparingly to their regular diet.

If you’re offering sweet potatoes this way, you’re not afraid of dilated cardiomyopathy. but we always recommend consulting with your veterinarian first before adding a new food or treat to your dog’s menu.

If your dog has kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, is overweight, or has a chronic ear or skin infection, it’s best to check with your veterinarian before offering sweet potatoes.

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