The sweet potato is a very appealing food for dogs because of its natural sweetness and the great variety of benefits it offers.
This tuber, serves as a snack or a natural and nutritious complement to your best friend’s diet, helping to improve its digestion and providing it with the vitamins and minerals your dog needs.
But be careful, although it sounds like an ideal food for dogs, you should take certain precautions when including it in its diet, because its quantities should be limited so that it is safe.
What Are Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are edible tubers that originate in the tropics of Central and South America. They come in different shapes and colors, like yellow, orange or white depending on the crop.
These potatoes are generally orange in color and their sweet flavor could be compared to a mixture between a potato and a pumpkin.
They are grown in warm climates, are able to reproduce in any type of soil, and are used for culinary and healing purposes.
Are Sweet Potatoes Good for Dogs?
The short answer is yes. Sweet potatoes are good for dogs… but in moderation.
Sweet potatoes are delicious and a fresh food that offers many benefits to your dog’s diet. Including, being packed full of vitamins and minerals.
But they should be served in small quantities, as it is known that foods with starchy carbohydrates, which it possesses in large amounts, can be counterproductive for dogs.
It is for this reason that veterinarians recommend foods like sweet potato as a complement or appetizer and that it does not occupy more than 10% in the dogs’ diet.
Benefits of the Sweet Potato for Your Dog.
As we have mentioned, in adequate quantities and preparations, the sweet potato can bring good benefits to your dog due to its high nutritional value. These are some of its benefits:
Improve Its Digestion.
Thanks to its high fiber, content and low fat helps improve the digestion of dogs. Fiber helps to regulate bowel movements, works very well for dogs with constipation or diarrhea to promote the replacement of water, nutrients, and energy.
But keep in mind; too much dietary fiber in a single meal can also be counterproductive and can put dogs at risk for digestive distress.
Keep your dog’s daily fiber at less than 10% of its diet.
Antioxidants help fight cell aging and promote skin and coat care for dogs. They will also help protect its heart and being high in amino acids will help your dog to have strong, high-performing muscles.
Beta-carotene, which can also be found in carrots, an organic antioxidant pigment that acts as a precursor to vitamin A. Dogs can convert beta-carotene to vitamin A, unlike other animals such as cats, for example.
This is one of the most powerful antioxidants and is what gives that particular color to the sweet potato, along with vitamins C produces a combination that favors the natural treatment of various types of cancer such as colon cancer and intestinal cancer. At the same time, it provides protection against some heart diseases.
Vitamins and Minerals.
The sweet potato is rich in vitamins A, B, and C, also in beta-carotene. This strengthens the sight and promotes healthy skin, coat, nerves, and muscles.
Thanks to their content of beta-carotene plus vitamin C and magnesium, the sweet potato has anti-inflammatory properties.
It also contains vitamin B6, which prevents nerve deterioration and helps form red blood cells, which are essential for the transport of nutrients and oxygen.
Also, sweet potatoes contain minerals such as:
Potassium, which is an important nutrient in your dog’s heart health.
Magnesium, which is essential for the proper functioning of nerve transmissions and muscle contractions.
Calcium, an important element for the formation of bone structure and teeth. It also contains zinc, iron, and sodium. Each of these minerals contributes to the overall good health of animals.
Related Article: Are Potatoes Bad for Dogs?
How Much Sweet Potato Can a Dog Eat?
The number of sweet potatoes a dog should eat should be proportional to a variety of factors. Not all dogs are the same and they do not react equally to the same foods, so the diet may vary according to breed, age, size, caloric expenditure level, activity level, health, etc.
Still, sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates and starch, so they should not be a dog’s primary source of nutrition.
In general, in case of big dogs, you should not offer more than one or two ounces per portion of food, although if they tolerate this food well, you can give them a little more. And as for smaller dogs a quarter or half ounce (like two or three teaspoons approximately).
How Can I Prepare Sweet Potatoes For My Dog?
If you want to add the sweet potato to your dog’s diet, you have to give it to it as an occasional treat, snack, or a small part of its regular food ration.
To offer sweet potatoes to your dog, you should take the following precautions:
- When you buy them, make sure that they do not contain any additives or chemical products.
- Always give your dog small quantities.
- They must be cooked; baked, boiled or mashed.
- They must be the right size to avoid suffocation.
- They cannot contain any kind of salt, seasoning, fat, garlic, onion, butter, etc.
- Offer only potatoes that are completely ripe.
- They must be peeled and take out the perfections you find.
- You can get dog food that has sweet potatoes among its ingredients, although something more organic will always be better.
How to Include the Sweet Potato in the Meals.
Cook, bake, or boil the sweet potato, without skin, imperfect parts, green parts, salt, or some extra ingredient, and add a small portion, either in small pieces or in a puree of no more than one or two ounces to its food plate.
Take precautions, start giving your dog a small taste to see if it likes this new food, and observe for 24 – 48 hours any adverse reaction before you move on to give it regularly, so you’ll know if it could cause it harm.
This will give your dog the nutrients it needs plus a different flavor to its normal daily food. Never offer your dog this raw food, as they are difficult to digest and could cause intestinal obstruction.
Sweet potatoes can be a good healthy snack when baked in small pieces or in dehydrated slices. They serve as a good snack, besides being healthy, they are super crunchy and your dog will love them.
In addition, you can offer them as part of the positive reinforcement in the education of your dog, or simply as a snack for being a good dog.
Precautions When Giving Sweet Potatoes In Excess to Your Dog.
Although, as you will notice, sweet potatoes provide many benefits to your pet’s diet, there are some precautions you should take into account, because giving your dog more than it needs can affect it and cause health problems.
Some aspects to take into account are:
Beware of sugar.
The organism of the dogs is more sensitive than ours as far as certain foods, in the case of the sugar; this can bring problems like diabetes, obesity, dental problems, and even problems in the pancreas.
The sugar of the sweet potatoes is natural, even so, in some cases, it can be more sugar and calories than the dogs are used to process and digest, for this reason, the rations must be controlled.
Excess consumption of carbohydrates.
These potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, and although this provides energy for your dog, there are already the necessary carbohydrates in the normal dog food.
An excess of carbohydrates, especially when derived from plant material, can cause obesity, pancreatitis, and diabetes in dogs.
Raw potatoes, potatoes that are not sufficiently ripe, even their leaves and stems have a toxin called solanine, this substance has negative effects on the digestive system of dogs depending on the amount.
If your dog consumes this toxin, it can suffer problems that can affect its sight, cause digestive disorders and reduce its heart rate.
To avoid your dog consuming solanine, you should be careful and keep away from this type of potatoes already mentioned. Even if they are small parts, they are not safe for dogs.
Also, keep in mind that the rough texture of the skin of sweet potatoes can be a problem at the time of digestion.
Sweet potatoes are not in the Solanaceae family, but depending on where they grow, they may or may not be toxic to dogs. However, this toxin is eliminated when they are peeled and cooked well.
What do you do if your dog eats too much sweet potato or raw potato?
If you find that your dog has eaten more sweet potatoes than its diet indicates, it may have symptoms such as loose stools, flatulence, dull hair, exhaustion of the pancreas, vomiting, diarrhea, bad breath, and many other symptoms.
Care should be taken with overweight, inactive, or diabetic dogs when consuming this type of food without supervision.
The digestion of these carbohydrates would cause a large increase in blood sugar, which for a diabetic dog can cause serious problems.
In addition to additional snacks from the sweet potato, diets rich in these foods should also be avoided for dogs with diabetes.
If you suspect your dog may have eaten raw potatoes, it may have negative reactions such as digestive disorders or symptoms of poisoning in more severe cases.
This is due to solanine poisoning, which usually presents the following symptoms: abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, problems associated with the stomach and intestines.
More serious signs may also be seen such as excessive salivation, dilated pupils, altered heartbeat, difficulty in motor coordination, difficulty breathing.
In either case, it is recommended that you go to the veterinarian immediately and report the case.
Consult your vet.
If you notice any reaction or symptoms of gastrointestinal problems as mentioned above, do not continue to include this food in your dog’s diet and consult your veterinarian.
When it comes to natural foods, and including new foods in your dog’s diet, the help of a professional is indispensable. Your vet will be able to inform you about the ideal and necessary amounts of nutrients your dog needs.
Other Foods your dog cannot eat.
Make sure you keep your dog away from French fries or processed potatoes, these types of potatoes are usually cooked in a lot of oil, salt, are very greasy, and harmful to the dog’s health.
White potatoes are cheaper, which is why many people include them in their pets’ diets, but white potatoes do not have the same level of nutritional value as sweet potatoes.
In fact, potatoes have a higher glycemic index than sweet potatoes, which can cause dogs to have insulin and blood sugar problems in the case of diabetic dogs. In addition, they are high in carbohydrates, which can lead to obesity.
This type of potato offers zero nutritional value and does not contain vitamins or minerals of any kind. Instead, they contain processed oil, high levels of fat, carbohydrates, sodium, and artificial flavors.
As you can see, the sweet potato is a low-calorie food that promotes the gain of muscle mass, helps the digestion of pets and at the same time is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
It will be a very beneficial food for your dog if you decide to include it in its diet. It can help it from better digestion to maintaining a healthy coat.
Even so, you should control the quantities to avoid any inconvenience, and if your dog suffers from any particular condition, first consult your vet.
Now that you know all the benefits that sweet potatoes will bring to your dog’s health, what are you waiting for to include it in its diet?