Mashed potatoes are a staple at every Holiday gathering. There is just something about them that tastes like home. But can you share this side dish with your dog without feeling any guilt about it? Or would it be better to avoid it? Let’s find out together the answer to the question — Can dogs eat mashed potatoes?
Because let’s face it, it’s hard to say ‘No’ to our pups when they are looking at us with their begging eyes. There definitely are some foods that aren’t safe at all to be shared with our pups. But are mashed potatoes one of them? Or can dogs eat mashed potatoes without any issues?
Well, the answer to that question isn’t simply yes or no. That will largely depend on how the potatoes are prepared, and of course, how much you plane to share. So let’s start from the beginning…
Are potatoes even good for dogs?
Even though they are mostly carbohydrates, potatoes are still surprisingly healthy! They contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium. All of these are absolutely incredible for your dog. And in addition to that — they will also give them a boost of energy.
However, you still have to be careful when feeding potatoes. And absolutely never, and we mean NEVER feed your dog raw potatoes. Their digestive system wasn’t made to process raw potatoes, and to be clear — neither was yours. However, raw potatoes contain solanine, which is especially toxic for dogs. When you cook a potato, you remove most of the solanine which is what makes them perfectly safe.
In addition to that, the FDA is doing research into increased reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This research has shown so far that dogs who eat food containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients are at a higher risk for contracting DCM. That’s why we don’t recommend making potatoes a significant part of your dog’s diet.
Now, we will go over the most important things to consider when feeding your dog mashed potatoes.
Moderation is key
This goes for any other food too! Because too much of anything just isn’t good. Keep potatoes as a special treat and do not overfeed your dog. Too much potatoes could upset your dogs stomach, leading to diarrhea or vomiting. In addition to that, they are also rich in calories. That means that over time, your dog could even gain weight.
Don’t add salt or seasoning
Mashed potatoes usually contain a lot of sodium, and more often than not also other spices or herbs. Dogs are incredibly sensitive to high levels of sodium, and some spices like garlic powder could even be toxic for them. So if you plan on sharing mashed potatoes with your dog — prepare some without any added salt or spices.
Carbs are good, but protein is better
While carbs are part of everyone’s diet, protein is still superior when it comes to dogs. Therefore, to balance out all of the carbs from the mashed potatoes, pair them with a protein like grilled chicken, turkey or another lean meat.
No butter or vegetable oil
Now that we have carbs and protein, all that there is missing is fat, right. Well, right. But that doesn’t mean that you should add sticks of butter to your dogs mashed potatoes. This isn’t in any way health and can additionally also lead to weight gain.
Homemade is always better
Don’t feed your dog the pre-made supermarket cheap mashed potatoes. These are full of preservatives and suspicious ingredients that your dog could potentially be very sensitive to. So make sure that the mashed potatoes that you share with your canine are made from actual potatoes and don’t come from a plastic bag.
Conclusion: Should I feed my dog mashed potatoes?
Well, in short — yes! However, only in small quantities and only if the potatoes were prepared without any additional spices or fat.
However, based on everything we know and all of the studies that are still going on — we would rather not. There are a lot of other carbohydrate alternatives that are better for your canine. Research on why dogs are getting DCM is still being conducted and in the coming months and years, more data will be available.
But if you do decide to give some mashed potatoes to your dog, make sure that the quantities are limited. Potatoes are rich in carbs and calories, and you don’t want your dog becoming obese.
Unsure about some other foods as well? Then these articles may help you out: