Allow Us to Answer the Popular Question: Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?

We know you love your pet dog, which is why you want to share pieces of your human food with your buddy! 

While it might be tempting to let your dog have some ice cream or marshmallows, you’re better off finishing that yourself.

A Shiba Inu looking at a sweet potato
Mellow, a Shiba Inu, can’t take her eyes off that sweet potato – Image source

However, if what you’ve got is a piece of baked sweet potato without any seasonings, go ahead and throw it to Rover.

If you’re interested in learning more, read on to find out how to prepare sweet potatoes for your furkid and how much you can give them. 

If Dogs Can Eat Sweet Potatoes, Are They Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Sweet potatoes are not toxic to dogs and can be safely consumed in moderation. The best kind of sweet potatoes for your dog should come from your own garden or be fresh from the market. 

They should never have any sugary additives or seasonings. 

A Cockapoo being offered with sweet potato
A Cockapoo about to get a taste of sweet potato – Image source

Is sweet potato healthy for dogs? What are the benefits of sweet potatoes for dogs?

As mentioned above, sweet potatoes offer the same health benefits to dogs as they do to humans. 

Since dogs do not have much dietary fiber, sweet potatoes can give them that boost they need to keep everything running smoothly. 

Fiber can help lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. 

On top of that, whole foods do not commonly cause autoimmune responses. In layman’s terms, unprocessed foods don’t usually cause an allergic reaction. 

However, in rare cases, some dogs may have an allergy to certain foods. While true food allergy is rare, you should always keep an eye on your dog whenever you offer them new food. 

Sweet potatoes are high in sugar but low in fat. Diabetic dogs should avoid this tasty treat due to its high glycemic index, as it could raise your dog’s blood sugar.

However, it is rich in vitamins and minerals, each of which has its own benefits to the dog’s body.

Orange-colored vegetables are filled with the antioxidant beta carotene, which can aid the development of vitamin A, which is helpful in both muscle, eye, and cognitive function development and maintenance. 

There is also ample vitamin C to keep the immune system strong, along with trace amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, and magnesium.

Iron and vitamin B6 keep red blood cells healthy and functioning. Sweet potatoes have almost the same amount of potassium as bananas, with 337 mg of potassium per 100 grams, whereas bananas would have 358 mg.

Potassium helps optimize muscle, kidneys, and heart function. As for magnesium, it is key in helping your dog convert energy.

According to the USDA, one medium baked sweet potato with skin contains:

  • 103 calories
  • 2.29 g of protein
  • 23.6 g of carbohydrates
  • 0.27 g of fat
  • 3.8 g of fiber
  • 7.39 g of sugar

What Kind of Sweet Potatoes Can Dogs Eat?

An Italian Greyhound looking at dried sweet potatoes
Miroku, an Italian greyhound, eyeing on some dried sweet potatoes – Image source

All sweet potatoes hail from the morning glory family and are more or less the same.

The purple-fleshed sweet potatoes have the most antioxidants and are considered to be the healthiest but are the hardest to track down. 

Both orange- and white-fleshed sweet potatoes are common in America, but since the white-fleshed variety is the least nutritious, you’re more likely to come across the orange type. 

What parts of a Sweet Potato can dogs eat?

An Australian Shepherd being offered with a sliced sweet potato
Radar⁣, an Aussie, wants that slice of sweet potato – Image source

If you want to offer your dog a piece of your sweet potato, you only want to give him the flesh without any potato skins because the skin can be difficult to digest.

The vines of a sweet potato plant are toxic to dogs, so if you’re planting these in your garden, keep your dogs away from chewing on the plant! 

How to Add Sweet Potatoes to Your Dog’s Diet

You can mash them or serve them baked. However, you should never give a dog raw potatoes as it may cause an intestinal blockage or pose a choking hazard. 

You’ve most likely come across sweet potatoes in your pet food’s ingredient list, especially in grain-free dog food, and wondered if it’s really a safe ingredient. Well, it’s complicated.

Sweet potatoes offer doggos health benefits that they won’t get from meat. However, according to recent research, sweet potatoes along with legumes are inappropriate for a dog’s regular diet, but we’ll get to that in a bit. 

How many sweet potatoes can you give your dog? 

Moderation is key. Too much of a good thing can turn harmful. Too much fiber may cause soft stools and dehydration. Vitamin A, when taken in excess, may cause muscle and joint weakness. 

Sweet potatoes are full of carbohydrates and unsuitable as a staple for a dog that’s largely carnivorous. You probably only want to give your dogs sweet potatoes no more than once or twice a week. 

A Corgi mix being offered with a slice of sweet potato
Echo, a Corgi mix, also wants a sweet potato slice – Image source

How should you serve sweet potatoes for your dog? 

You can give your doggo pieces of sweet potato as dog treats, or you can top off your dog’s food with a teaspoon or tablespoon of mashed sweet potato – depending on the size of your dog. 

There is also the option of getting kibble with sweet potato in the ingredients. 

However, if you’re adding sweet potato to your pup’s diet, always make sure to start small. If you’re changing kibble, you should also make the changes gradually so as not to upset your dog’s digestive system.

What Are Some Homemade Sweet Potato Treat Ideas for Dogs?

You can make sweet potato chews in a dehydrator or bake them into chips. Here’s a simple 3-ingredient dehydrated sweet potato chip recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato
  • ½ cup of coconut oil
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C)
  2. Slice sweet potatoes thinly
  3. Coat in coconut oil
  4. Lay flat on a baking tray
  5. Sprinkle on cinnamon powder
  6. Bake for 4-5 hours until completely dry
  7. Keep in an airtight container

When is Sweet Potato Harmful to Dogs? 

Raw sweet potatoes or feeding sweet potatoes in abundance may cause health problems to your pup. Excessive carbohydrates can cause obesity, chronic bowel disease, diabetes, organ failure, and even cancer.

Dogs with regular yeast infections should also avoid too much sweet potato as yeast feeds off glucose and would very likely trigger an infection.

There have been certain studies linking grain-free dog food to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), which causes the heart to enlarge and may be fatal in some cases.

It is worrying to some dog owners because many grain-free dog food either feature peas or sweet potatoes as a substitute for grains. 

The studies looked at breeds that did not have a predisposition to DCM, and the researchers discovered that 93% of them were on grain-free diets with lentils or potatoes as a primary ingredient

As there isn’t any solid evidence pointing to sweet potatoes as the culprit, and bearing in mind that kibbles are fed on a daily basis, one occasional sweet potato treat is unlikely to be substantial enough to trigger DCM, which is largely a hereditary disease.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A Greyhound sniffing a sweet potato
Valero, a Greyhound, says “sniff” first before “taste” – Image source

What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and potatoes?

Potatoes are root vegetables that are high in starch. Potatoes are higher in carbohydrates than sweet potatoes and offer less nutritional value.

White potatoes are from the nightshade family, which means that it is toxic to dogs when uncooked. 

Are yams and sweet potatoes the same?

Raw yam at a street market
Raw yam

Yams are tubers that look very similar to sweet potatoes. In the States, you might sometimes come across sweet potatoes mislabeled as yams.

True yams have bark-like skin and white flesh, which, when cooked, becomes dry and starchy instead of moist and sweet like sweet potatoes. 

Sweet potatoes also have higher nutritional value than yams, which are part of the lily family. 

What are other things to know about feeding your dog sweet potatoes?

If you’re planning to supplement your dog with sweet potatoes for its health benefits, you should know that there are other whole foods that might be a better option than sweet potatoes, especially since the amount you can safely offer your dogs is negligible at best.

Blueberries, carrots, and celery are fruits and veggies that provide high nutritional value to dogs and can be eaten regularly.

You can check out our Can My Dog Eat That series to learn more about what human foods are beneficial to your pup.

Conclusion: Sweet potatoes are Harmless in Small Amounts

A Shiba Inu sticking its tongue out at a sweet potato
A Shiba Inu mesmerized by a sweet potato – Image source

A rare sweet potato treat is fine, but it shouldn’t become a permanent fixture in your dog’s diet.

Sweet potatoes for dogs should be specially prepared, and not the leftovers scraped off your dinner plate, whether it’s mash or sweet potato fries.

Has your dog tried sweet potatoes? Let us know how your doggie responds to this sweet treat in the comment section.

Further reading: What other Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?

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