Canine parents around the globe, more often than not, have toyed with the thought of whether their pets could, or should, eat human food.
But have we ever stopped to think if dogs can actually eat mashed potatoes?
And the simple answer is…YES!
Without much beating around the bush – or should we say dog bowl; mashed potatoes actually make a wholesome snack for dogs, when prepared correctly.
We’ll cover everything you need to know in the article, so keep scrolling!
Table of Contents
- 1 Is It Bad for Dogs to Eat Mashed Potatoes?
- 2 Types Of Potatoes That Are Unsafe for Dogs
- 3 Should Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes?
- 4 The Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Mashed Potatoes
- 5 How to Incorporate Mashed Potatoes into Your Dog’s Diet Safely?
- 6 How Much Mashed Potatoes Can Dogs Eat?
- 7 How to Stop Dogs from Eating Mashed Potatoes
- 8 What Are Some Dog-Safe Alternatives to Mashed Potatoes?
- 9 FAQs
Is It Bad for Dogs to Eat Mashed Potatoes?
Potatoes in general are not harmful or toxic to dogs and shouldn’t make up for more than 10% of your pet’s total daily calorie intake.
Potatoes rank high on the glycemic index and cause blood sugar levels to spike.
This can be deadly for dogs who suffer from diabetes, as these carbs turn to sugar in the bloodstream to provide energy.
Furthermore, dogs with diabetes cannot process a large number of carbohydrates or sugar in their diets, making potatoes a no-no to eat.
Not to mention, too many of the carbohydrates present in potatoes can lead to unwanted weight gain, being a bugger to try and lose in the long run (side note to myself included!)
Gastrointestinal upsets from eating mashed potatoes can flare up in the form of;
Added salt, dairy, and spices may lead to irritation to our dog’s digestive tract, especially those who are lactose intolerant.
Canines that develop food allergies, like an allergy to garlic mashed potatoes, or dairy from the added milk, can experience inflamed and itchy skin and are prone to developing chronic conditions such as;
- Runny tummies
- Ear infections
Types Of Potatoes That Are Unsafe for Dogs
Generally speaking, potatoes are usually safe for dogs to consume if prepared correctly.
White potatoes are part of the Nightshade family, as are eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes. When raw, they are toxic to animals and humans because of the solanine, found in their roots, skin, stems, and leaves.
The cooking process reduces and eliminates these toxins, making potatoes safe to eat.
Potatoes that have been exposed to sunlight, kick start a chain reaction where chlorophyll is released – causing the skin of the potato to turn green.
No amount of cooking or peeling will reduce the amount of solanine in these green bad boys, so they are better off in your compost heap than on your plate (or God forbid your pet’s bowl!)
Never feed your dog raw potatoes or raw potato skin, as they can be at risk of contracting solanine toxicity.
Symptoms show up in the form of;
- Gastrointestinal upsets – severe vomiting and diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
Always prepare and serve cooked, unseasoned potatoes to your dog.
Mashed potato that is cooked with onions or chives is extremely toxic to canines, causing red blood cell damage that could lead to anemia. Garlic – fresh or powdered- also contains highly harmful toxins.
Should Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes?
Dogs receive all the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins they need from well-balanced, good-quality dog food and rarely need the addition of ‘human food’ to supplement their diets.
This being said the odd tit-bit of leftover mashed potatoes wouldn’t hurt.
However, if your pet suffers from obesity, diabetes, or cancer – DO NOT give them potatoes.
You Shouldn’t Feed Mashed Potatoes to These Dogs…
I would not recommend feeding mashed potatoes to dogs who suffer from diabetes, skin allergies, cancer, or obesity.
The high content of carbohydrates, which are converted to sugar in the bloodstream, is extremely harmful to dogs with these chronic conditions and should be avoided at all costs!
Lactose intolerance, in a nutshell basically means that the ‘lactase’ enzyme is unable to break down properly in our pet’s digestive system, causing discomfort and an adverse effect on their normal bodily functions.
These symptoms may present themselves in the form of;
- Upset stomach
- Redness of the skin (ears and anus)
- Itchy skin/skin rashes and
- Lack of appetite
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog after consuming mashed potatoes, call or visit your vet right away.
Ever wondered if your dog should eat grain-free? Visit our homepage for more information.
The Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Mashed Potatoes
When dogs eat potatoes it can improve their overall health.
Potatoes are cramped with nutrients and provide a healthy dose of;
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin A,
- Vitamin C
All of these vitamins and minerals promote:
- Heart health
- Cell growth
- Bone growth
- Kidney function
- Metabolic functionality
- Helps to fight cell oxidation
- Boosts our pet’s immune and nervous systems
- Aids the fight against the effects of cognitive aging
Fiber is another health benefit from potatoes, providing our four-legged friends with enough roughage to help the digestive tract move smoothly.
Nevertheless, there are some drawbacks to these starchy spuds.
And if your dog is suffering from diabetes, obesity, cancer, or any other chronic condition, it is best to totally avoid potatoes in their diet completely.
How to Incorporate Mashed Potatoes into Your Dog’s Diet Safely?
Research shows that 90% of our dog’s daily calorie intake should come from their usual dog food pellets. The remaining 10% can be made up of ‘treats’ – which include dog biscuits and nibbles of food.
To safely introduce mashed potatoes into your dog’s diet, do not exceed the 10% daily ‘treat’ limit.
Here are a few safe ways to include mashed potatoes for dogs:
Consider homemade mash vs instant mashed potatoes
The key to success, when preparing mashed potato is always the homemade option (this goes for sweet potatoes too!).
This method has far fewer additives and preservatives compared to store-bought instant mashed potatoes.
Remember to always peel the skins off of the potatoes and cook them thoroughly.
Ideally, peeled and boiled potatoes that have been mashed with a fork or pureed are best.
Serve it plain
Do not be tempted to add salt, dairy, garlic, onion powder, or spices.
Keep it as plain as possible.
Do all preparations on clean surfaces
Always take extra care when preparing food, even for your pet – that includes washing your hands before preparation, working on a clean surface, using clean equipment, and dishing up meals into a clean dog bowl.
These good practices will also prevent the spread of bacteria, disease, and cross-contamination.
Feed them in moderation
Any treat should be a minor part of your dog’s diet, and mashed potatoes are no exception.
Use mashed potato (or mashed sweet potatoes) as a tasty extra rather than a significant portion of your pet’s diet.
Check your pet’s reaction
Whenever giving your dog something new to eat, pay close attention to their reaction. Allergic reactions can happen when dogs eat potatoes and if their behavior, breathing, or overall demeanor change, take them to the vet for a checkup right away!
A Few ‘Do Not’ Tips
- give your pet raw potatoes (including the skins!)
- give your pet green potatoes
- serve deep-fried potatoes to your dog (yep, that means french fries)
- add onion or garlic when cooking
- use additional salt, spices, or dairy
How Much Mashed Potatoes Can Dogs Eat?
Mashed potatoes should be regarded as a ‘treat’ for your pup and should not replace their usual diet.
Mashed potatoes should be totally avoided for dogs suffering from obesity, diabetes, or cancer, and do not give puppies potatoes of any kind.
That being said though, for adult dogs, a bit of potato here and there should not cause any significant harm.
Overindulgence – of any treat, including too many potatoes – could lead to digestive irritations, such as bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight gain.
How to Stop Dogs from Eating Mashed Potatoes
If you want them to stop eating potatoes – then stop giving it to them.
End of story.
But should you have a veggie patch on your property, it’s advised to fence off your potato plants (and any other nightshades) to prevent your dog from digging them up and eating them raw!
Also, if you store potatoes on the lower shelf of your pantry at home – keep them out of reach to your dog and store them in a dark cupboard.
What Are Some Dog-Safe Alternatives to Mashed Potatoes?
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of mashed potatoes are creamy, smooth spuds squished into a velvety liquid dream of happiness with spices and butter.
The reality is, even though they may taste good, they are not safe for our pets to eat.
Safe alternatives for your dog for this glorious, creamy goodness, however, are peeled, boiled, and unseasoned potatoes that have been mashed with a drop of water to a smooth consistency.
Tasty alternatives can be:
- When dogs eat sweet potatoes they benefit from one of the best dietary sources of Vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes healthy skin (and therefore a healthy coat), eyes, and muscles. It’s no wonder that sweet potatoes make a great alternative to white potatoes and they do not contain solanine in their skins! (Win-win situation, if you ask me)
- Fresh fruit, such as bananas and watermelon are a great, hydrating snack – but do make sure to remove the seeds and rind beforehand.
- Homemade croutons are another delicious option.
On a side note, ever wondered if dogs can eat deer antlers? (We were curious too.)
Can dogs eat instant mashed potatoes?
No. Never give your dog instant mashed potato from a bag. It’s just nasty and contains a ton of hidden additives and preserves that can be harmful to your pet. The best way to serve mashed potatoes is the good ol’ fashioned home-cooked way!
Can dogs eat cheesy mashed potatoes?
Again no. Do not add extra seasoning, salt, onion, garlic, or cheese (dairy) when preparing mashed potato for your dog. The excess of these flavors can cause intestinal discomfort, and can often be harmful, if not deadly for your pet.
Can dogs eat raw potato skin?
When dogs eat raw potatoes, they could be in for some serious consequences. Raw potatoes contain a natural pesticide called solanine that protects the potato plant from insects. If raw potatoes are consumed in large amounts, the solanine can be toxic and cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.