Greyhounds looking at a cooked potato.

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Fact Checked By Our Vet

Written By Eloisa Thomas | Canine Coach, Double M.A in Anthropology.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 10th January 2024

Fried, baked, or even boiled, we love potatoes around here. But can dogs eat potatoes? Is dog food with potatoes healthy? Today, our experts are doing a deep dive into whether potatoes should be part of your dog’s diet.


Are Potatoes Dangerous To Dogs?

It depends. Potatoes have solanine, a poisonous chemical that can be toxic to dogs if eaten in large quantities. The high carbohydrate percentage in potatoes can also be risky if your dog suffers from diabetes or obesity. This is particularly important if your pup isn’t following a balanced diet.

Too much potato can also cause constipation, particularly if your dog has a low-fibre diet. Skinless potatoes are low in fibre, and a big serving can cause constipation and discomfort due to blocked anal glands. You’ll know if your dog deals with these issues if they have a hard time pooping or if they “scoot” on the floor.

Related: What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?

On the other hand, a small number of cooked potatoes will usually be harmless and cause no health issues.

Keep in mind that it’s the potato plant, rather than the potatoes themselves, that has a higher concentration of toxic compounds. Most of the time, keeping your dog away from potato plants will significantly lower any health risks.


Can Potatoes Cause Solanine Poisoning In Dogs?

Solanine is a common chemical found in plants from the Solanaceae family. All potatoes are high in solanine when green or unripe; potato skins and leaves are also rich in this compound.

If a dog eats too much solanine (from whatever source), it can cause poisoning. While in general solanine poisoning isn’t a concern, if your dog has access to a garden where potatoes are grown this might be an issue.

Related: The Best Vegetables for Dogs.

If you suspect your dog has eaten raw green potatoes, look out for these signs:

  • Severe gastrointestinal upset
  • Drowsiness
  • Excess salivation
  • Lack of appetite
  • Mood changes
  • Weakness and lethargy

To prevent solanine poisoning, it’s important to NEVER give green or unripe potatoes to your dog. The skins and leaves of potato plants should also be kept out of reach.

Finally, the best option is to only give cooked potatoes to dogs. The cooking process significantly lowers solanine levels and will make risks minimal.

PRO TIP: Potatoes aren’t the only vegetables rich in solanine. All plants in the nightshade family have it, including tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and tomatillos. Be careful if you have a garden!


The Benefits Of Potatoes For Dogs

Even though potatoes can be risky if your dog eats them in large quantities, these tubers have a few health benefits that could be interesting. Here’s what research has discovered about the health benefits of potatoes:

  • High in vitamin C: Did you know potatoes have as much vitamin C as lemons? Fortunately, unlike lemons, potatoes don’t have a high acidity level. Vitamin C in potatoes can help strengthen your dog’s immune system, lower inflammation and help repair muscle tissue [1]
  • Promotes brain health: This tuber is also high in vitamin B6, a nutrient that supports brain development in puppies [2]. Potatoes can provide the vitamins and carbs needed for puppies to grow strong and healthy!
  • Potatoes are prebiotic-rich: Although they aren’t super high in fibre, potatoes have a specific type of starch that directly feeds your dog’s gut microbiome [3]. Healthy and diverse gut bacteria are key to your dog’s long-term health, so a small serving of potato can help support their gut microbiome.
  • Great for active dogs: Potatoes are relatively high in carbohydrates, which boosts your dog’s energy. While sedentary dogs usually don’t need more carbs, very active dogs can benefit from the extra sugar in potatoes. The high potassium content in potatoes can also benefit active or working dogs: it’s a micronutrient that encourages muscle cell growth and prevents cramps.

How To Give Potatoes To Your Dog

So, you want to add potatoes to your dog’s diet? Here are a few guidelines:

  • Consider it a treat: This means limiting extra potatoes to 1 or 2 times per week max, and only a couple bites each time. When looking at your dog’s weekly diet, treats should only represent around 10% or less of their intake.
  • Always peel potatoes: As we mentioned above, potato skins are relatively high in solanine, which can cause digestive upset. Never give your dog potato peels!
  • Cook your potatoes before offering them to your dog: Raw potatoes are harder to digest and are higher in solanine. Cooking them makes them more digestible and lowers the risk of stomach upset.
  • Only offer plain potatoes: Although potatoes themselves are fine, they should be cooked plain. No salt, sugar, oil, milk, cheese or butter. This means giving leftover potatoes from a family dinner is usually a big no.
  • Cut them up: Don’t give whole potatoes to your dog, even if they’re cooked. Whole potatoes can make your dog choke, so cut them up into bite-sized pieces before offering them to your pup.

Final Thoughts

In general, potatoes can be a safe treat for dogs if eaten in moderation. And, while they are high in carbs, this tuber can be a nice extra if you have a very active or working pup.

On the flip side, your dog shouldn’t eat chips. Even if they beg, they are too salty and greasy for them!

Have you ever given potatoes to your dog? Let us know if they like them down below!

Are you wondering if your dog can eat other common foods? Check out our full list below:

FAQ

Are raw potatoes dangerous to dogs?

While usually not life-threatening, raw potatoes can cause some health problems in dogs. The main issue with raw potatoes is their higher solanine concentration: if eaten in large quantities or if your dog is small, it could lead to poisoning and a costly trip to the vet.


Raw potatoes are difficult to digest, which means they usually cause intestinal upset and vomiting. Because they are tough, they can also cause intestinal blockage, which is a life-threatening condition. If your dog is showing signs of abdominal pain or vomiting after getting into raw potatoes, get them to the vet ASAP.

Are potatoes dangerous to diabetic dogs?

Although not inherently dangerous, potatoes can be too high in carbs for a diabetic dog. This tuber has a relatively high glycaemic index, which can raise your dog’s blood sugar levels.

If you have a dog diagnosed with diabetes, it’s best to consult with your vet before giving them potatoes or any other treat with a high glycaemic index.

References

  1. Barceloux D. G. (2009). Potatoes, tomatoes, and solanine toxicity. Disease-a-month. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.disamonth.2009.03.009  
  2. Panasevich et al (2013). Potato fibre as a dietary fibre source in dog foods. Journal of animal science. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2013-6842
  3. Panasevich et al. (2015). Modulation of the faecal microbiome of healthy adult dogs by inclusion of potato fibre in the diet. The British journal of nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114514003274

Eloisa Thomas


Eloisa Thomas is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach & Anthropologist.

With a double master's degree in Anthropology and awarded a Chancellor's International Scholarship to pursue a PhD in History at the University of Warwick (UK), she's well equipped to write well written and factual canine information that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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