The sweet-tasting potato is a superfood that originated in Central America about 5000 years ago. You may have noticed that sweet potatoes are also a common ingredient in dog food to add extra fiber to a well-balanced diet.
In humans, the sweet potato promotes gut health, a strong immune system and it helps improve your hair and skin. But for what reason are we adding it to our dog’s food and could you feed your dog sweet potato with skin and all?
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato Skins?
Sweet potato, in general, is really beneficial for your dog and provides him with essential dietary fiber that mainly comes from the peel. Unlike corn or unhealthy fillers, sweet potato is a whole food with high-quality fiber and benefits such as better digestion or healthy weight.
The skin of a sweet potato packed with essential nutrients and minerals that support the well being of your dog. Most of the nutrients from fruits and vegetables come from the skin, therefore, removing it will decrease the intake.
Sweet potato skin contains:
|Vitamin A||Maintains muscle, healthy skin and eyes|
|Vitamin C||Boosts the immune system, aids in recovery from an illness|
|Vitamin E||Slows aging process and increases cell life|
|Protein||Builds tissue and maintains muscles, skin and bones|
|Fiber||Aids healthy digestion and lowers the risk of heart diseases and diabetes|
|Potassium||Controls blood sugar levels and regulates muscle contraction|
|Antioxidants||Act as radical scavenger|
|Magnesium||Needed for calcium absoprtion to maintain bone health|
|Calcium||For healthy heart, muscles, bones and nerves|
|Iron||Boosts immune system, reduces fatigue and treats anemia|
|Phosphorus||Helps kidneys, repairs tissue and builds strong bones|
When preparing sweet potato skin for your dog, make sure to thoroughly scrub it with warm water and look out for any mold or dirt. Preferably choose organic sweet potatoes or buy them directly from the farmer.
If you have a home garden and decide to plant your own sweet potatoes for the best quality then make sure to keep them away from your pets. The vines of a sweet potato are extremely poisonous to dogs.
Even small amounts can lead to severe reactions like hallucinations, seizures or vomiting. If your dog has been around sweet potato vines and is displaying any symptoms, bring him to the vet immediately.
All in all, sweet potato skin comes with many benefits but some dogs may find it harder to digest. So start by feeding tiny amounts to see if your dog has any negative reactions to them.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Sweet Potato?
Dogs should never eat raw sweet potatoes. They are more difficult to chew and may cause blockage if swallowed in whole. The containing trypsin inhibitors will give your dog a hard time digesting protein.
During the cooking process, the dietary fiber and starch are broken down for easy digestion. So always ensure that the sweet potatoes are well cooked and without any additives.
How to Cook Sweet Potato for Dogs
This applies to everything you prepare for your dog: never add any butter, oil or seasoning to the food. Those things are only suitable for human food and will cause severe digestive upset in your dog.
You can either boil or bake a sweet potato with the skin on or removed. Boiling sweet potatoes in water will take about 10-12 minutes or until they are soft and edible. Let them cool down completely before offering them to your dog.
Sweet Potato Dog Recipe
There are plenty of dog treat recipes that either contain or completely consist of sweet potato which makes it very difficult to choose one. So here are some of my favorites:
- Easy DIY Sweet Potato Dog Chews
- Super Simple Sweet Potato Dog Treats
- Sweet Potato and Leftover Turkey Homemade Dog Treats
If I am not in the mood for baking then I will treat my dog with her absolute favorite Wholesome Pride Sweet Potato Chews. They are 100% pure sweet potato and taste amazing.
How Much Sweet Potato Can I Feed My Dog?
You can actually overfeed a dog with fiber, leading to health issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence and weight loss. Therefore sweet potato skin should only be fed in moderation.
Start by adding small amounts to your dog’s daily meals and feed them occasionally. You can either throw a few sliced pieces of boiled sweet potato to your dog’s meal or you can give him the chews as a treat.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato Fries?
Store-bought sweet potato fries are definitely not suitable for your dog as they contain so much oil, fat and salt. But you can definitely make some DIY dog fries.
For this recipe you will need:
- organic honey
- 2 sweet potatoes
- Preheat the oven at 400° and lay out baking paper on a tray.
- Slice the sweet potatoes into strips, spread them on the baking tray and drizzle over the honey.
- Give them a good mix with your hands and place them in the oven for about 30 minutes or until crispy.
- Flip the fries over in between to bake them evenly.
Sweet Potato Alternatives
But what if your dog doesn’t seem to like the taste of sweet potato or he may have issues digesting it. One of the main fiber alternatives is pumpkin. It has similar nutritional benefits to the sweet potato and depending on your dog’s needs it might actually be the better option.
I know that many dog owners struggle with their pet’s weight. Pumpkin has significantly fewer calories compared to the sweet potato but they are not available all year-round. So you either have to go with the canned version like the Nummy Tum Tum Pure Pumpkin For Pets or you will have to opt for another alternative.
Carrots are an even better source of fiber and nutrients with fewer calories than the sweet potato. In higher doses, this amount of fiber may cause stomach upset so make sure to add a little bit of coconut or fish oil for better absorption.