Great Dane staring at sweet potato.

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato? 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: 9th January 2024

Sweet potatoes are nowadays considered a superfood. But are they a healthy addition to your dog’s diet?

Before sharing the sweetie goodness of this tuber, here’s what veterinarians have to say about it.


Are Sweet Potatoes Safe For Dogs?

Despite the name, sweet potatoes aren’t the same thing as potatoes. They come from the same plant family, but sweet potatoes are technically considered a “tuberous root”, whereas potatoes are a “normal” tuber (1).

Related: What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?

Luckily, both sweet potatoes and regular potatoes pose no threat to your dog. Both of these starchy vegetables are high in carbs and many micronutrients that can be a great addition to your dog’s diet.

Related: The Best Vegetables For Dogs.

Keep in mind only plain, unseasoned sweet potatoes are healthy for dogs. Any other ingredient might pose risk to their nutrition and overall health, so stick to the basics.

PRO TIP: Candied, glazed, or buttered sweet potato is a no-no for your dog. If you have leftovers, eat them yourself and don’t feed them to your pup. The extra sugar and oils will likely cause indigestion.


Is Sweet Potato Too High In Carbs For A Dog?

It depends. As a starchy vegetable, sweet potatoes’ main macronutrient is carbohydrates. Dogs are omnivorous creatures and they can digest carbs. However, their diet should be based on protein and carbohydrates should be added in moderation.

Many dog foods now use sweet potato instead of grains like corn or wheat, because the tubers are gluten-free. This is great! Generally speaking, dog foods with sweet potato prioritise ingredient quality over cheap fillers (our favourite dog food has sweet potato!).

However, if you choose to give sweet potatoes as a treat or as a topper, be careful with portions. Carbohydrates shouldn’t be your dog’s main nutrition source, and too much will put them at risk of obesity.

PRO TIP: If you’re giving your dog dehydrated sweet potato, the portion size should be even smaller. Dehydrated food is very concentrated and it’s easy to go overboard. Your dog doesn’t need the extra carbs!


How Often Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato?

As an ingredient in a complete and balanced dog food, dogs can eat sweet potato every day. Since prepared dog food has been formulated to include many ingredients, sweet potato here is a healthy addition.

If you want to give sweet potato as a treat, you need to consider it as such. Veterinarians recommend dogs only have treats once or twice per week. In general, treats shouldn’t represent more than 10% of your dog’s weekly caloric intake.

PRO TIP: Be careful with your toppers, even if they are homemade. Non-meat toppers are also considered a “treat” and should be served in moderation. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 teaspoon for small dogs, and 1 tablespoon for large pups if you add a topper to their bowl.


Possible Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes For Dogs

Even if too much sweet potato can be bad for your dog, it’s a very nutritious treat. According to veterinarian research, these are the benefits of feeding sweet potatoes to your furry friend:

  • Fibre-rich veggie: Like pumpkin, sweet potatoes are rich in soluble and insoluble fibre. This is great to keep your dog’s bowels working right, and can prevent problems with plugged anal sacs. A bit of boiled sweet potato on your dog’s plate will keep prevent constipation
  • Rich in vitamin A and B6 for senior dogs: These two compounds are nutritional powerhouses for your dog. Vitamin A is essential to keep your pup’s eyes and brains healthy, as well as improve skin health. On the other hand, a boost in vitamin B6 has been linked to improved cognition among older dogs. In 2019, researchers found that a blend of vitamin B, arginine, and Omega-3 fatty acids improved all cognitive dysfunction symptoms in senior dogs after 90 days of treatment (2).
  • Full of antioxidants: Often used in human cosmetics, antioxidants fight aging, chronic diseases and inflammatory conditions. The antioxidants present in sweet potatoes (flavonoids) boost their immune system, support eye health and lower inflammation (3). If your dog has chronic allergies or itchy skin, sweet potato Is probably a good option.

How To Feed Sweet Potatoes To Dogs

Step 1. Choose plain sweet potatoes

Processed food generally has more additives than homemade versions. Even plain canned sweet potato has additives that might exacerbate allergies or gas in sensitive dogs. We recommend cooking plain sweet potatoes at home by boiling or baking them.

PRO TIP: Boiling sweet potatoes can cause some of the nutrients to be lost in the water. If you want to boil them, we recommend boiling them whole, and then peeling them before giving it to your dog.

Step 2. Start small

If you’ve never given sweet potatoes to your dog, don’t give them a bowl full. Start by offering a small piece and see how they like it. If after a couple of hours they haven’t shown indigestion signs (like vomiting or diarrhoea), you can give them a bit more.

Step 3. Limit their intake

As we mentioned, sweet potatoes should only represent around 10% of your dog’s total intake. Consider it a treat, even if it’s a healthy option.

Step 4. Get creative

Many homemade sweet potato dog treats could be fun to make. It’s an easy way to bump up the fibre in your dog’s diet, so consider it if your pup tends to be constipated.

FAQ

Can dogs eat sweet potato fries?

While it won’t kill them, your dog shouldn’t eat fries of any kind. Fries have too much oil and offer no real nutritional value to a dog. Eating fried food will likely result in indigestion, vomiting and diarrhoea.

References

  1. What is a sweet potato? https://sweetpotatoes.eu/en/what-is-a-sweet-potato/
  2. Pan, Y. et al. (2018). Efficacy of a therapeutic diet on dogs with signs of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS): a prospective double blinded placebo controlled clinical study. Available here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2018.00127/full
  3. Hubert PA et al. (2014). Dietary polyphenols, berries, and age-related bone loss: A review based on human, animal, and cell studies. Available here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26784669/

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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