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Sweet potatoes are an excellent food choice for humans, but you may wonder if your four-legged canine friends can eat them, too. The long-standing answer to the question “can dogs eat sweet potatoes” is yes, but recent research shows that sweet potatoes may not work as part of a dog’s regular diet.
Find out more about the pros and cons of feeding your dog sweet potatoes. Also, learn more about how and when to offer up this vegetable to your dog.
Are They Safe?
The biggest concern and the likely reason you asked can dogs eat sweet potatoes is whether this is a safe food. Until recently, professionals and experts thought sweet potatoes were as good for dogs as humans.
However, the Food and Drug Administration began an investigation into reports that foods containing certain ingredients, including sweet potatoes, may link to canine dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. Canine dilated cardiomyopathy is a serious health issue. It can lead to an enlarged heart and affects the heart muscle. Potential outcomes of DCM include heart failure and cardiac death.
The issue arose due to grain-free dog foods, including such ingredients in high amounts and an increase in DCM in dogs eating these foods.
While the FDA has not reached a final ruling about the safety of these ingredients, there is an alert that dog owners should be cautious in feeding their pets any of the ingredients listed in too high of a quantity.
The FDA assumption is that multiple factors are coming together to lead to the increase of DCM in dogs eating grain-free foods. It does not believe that the individual ingredients are unsafe on their own and when eaten in small quantities.
In addition to these concerns, sweet potatoes are not ideal for dogs who are overweight or have diabetes because they have a high glycemic index.
The overall recommendation for any dog is that sweet potatoes should not be part of a regular diet. You can offer them as a treat from time to time so that your pup can get the health benefits from them without the potential harmful effects.
What Are the Benefits of Sweet Potatoes?
While the FDA alert may concern you and make you not want to give your dog sweet potatoes, this food item does offer many health benefits that are good for your dog. As a treat, they are a fantastic choice that you shouldn’t be afraid to give your furry friend.
The American Kennel Club explains that sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fiber that helps aid in digestion. They are also low in fat while being high in vitamins A, B6, and C. Sweet potatoes contain high levels of iron, potassium, and calcium as well.
Giving your dog sweet potatoes is often a much better choice than many of the packaged dog treats on the market. These treats usually are high in fat and calories. Even a common treat choice, such as peanut butter, can be harmful when you give it too often due to the fat and calorie content.
Since obesity is a severe issue with dogs, you want to be mindful of that when giving a treat. Treats are a significant factor contributing to weight gain.
Since you give treats sparingly, it works to substitute sweet potatoes for your regular choice of treat. Your dog will not get too much to suffer from the potential risks but will get enough to benefit from the vegetables’ healthy aspects.
How Much Should I Give My Dog?
You should stick to giving sweet potatoes in small quantities. For toy or small breeds, aim for a quarter to half an ounce. Larger dogs can have as much as up to two ounces.
You should give the smallest amount possible at first so you can watch for adverse reactions. As with any food you give your pup, sweet potatoes can upset the stomach. So, make sure your dog tolerates sweet potatoes well before giving them again.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t want to give your dog sweet potatoes too often. This makes a great once in a while treat that you can give as a special food item.
How Do I Prepare Sweet Potatoes for My Dog?
You may have a lot of questions about feeding your dog sweet potatoes, such as “can dogs eat sweet potatoes raw” or “can dogs eat sweet potato skin.” These are excellent questions because you do want to be sure to give sweet potatoes safely.
You should never feed your dog raw or unpeeled sweet potatoes. Sweet potato peels are too difficult for your pup to digest and will create stomach issues. Raw sweet potatoes are a severe choking hazard.
You’ll want to peel and cook the sweet potato so that it is soft and easy to chew, which will help to avoid choking risks. You can also give dehydrated sweet potato chews to your dog, which you can find at pet stores. The chews have a design to prevent choking.
Many homemade dog food recipes also use sweet potatoes. Just remember not to feed this to your dog too often.
Cooked sweet potato is an excellent substitute for peanut butter. You can put it inside treats, such as a Kong, or feed it to your dog off a spoon.
The Verdict on Sweet Potatoes
When it comes down to it, sweet potatoes can be safe for your dog, but you need to use caution when offering them as a treat or food. You want to avoid giving them too often and too large qualities because there may be a link between them and serious canine heart disease. In addition, you want to offer them safely by ensuring they do not have skin and that you cook them until soft.
You can offer sweet potatoes as a treat every once in a while. They are a good substitute for high fat, and high calorie treats that are prevalent on the market.