Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes? A Veterinarian’s Point of View

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Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Dogs are omnivores, which means they eat various meats, fruits, and vegetables. Most dogs love human food, and some owners may wonder, can dogs eat sweet potatoes if it’s on the human menu for the night?

There are a few pros and cons to serving up the delicious tuber, but if prepared correctly and fed in moderation, sweet potatoes have much to offer from a nutritional standpoint.

Our Top Pick for Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Dogs?

Sweet potatoes are popular in dog treats, raw diet formulations, and dry dog food. They are an excellent carbohydrate source and also contain lots of fiber. If pet owners purchase products from reputable vendors or take the time to bake, boil or dehydrate their sweet potato treats, then sweet potatoes are a great vegetable to add to your pet’s diet.

The Benefits of Sweet Potatoes For Dogs

There are several sweet potato benefits to including them in a dog’s daily meals. The low-fat, carbohydrate-rich starch also boasts a  variety of nutrients that will benefit your dog. 

Listed below are a few essential nutrients your dog can benefit from:

  • Fiber:  Dietary fiber supports regular bowel movements and effective digestive system functions. 
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties greatly support a dog’s immune system, especially if they are immunocompromised or recovering from an illness. 
  • Potassium: The electrolyte supports heart conduction and muscle function. 
  • Calcium: This essential mineral is crucial to musculoskeletal health, nervous system conduction, and growth. 
  • Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene metabolizes into vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient that aids in the maintenance of healthy eyes, muscles, nerves, and epidermal integrity. 
  • Vitamin B6: This nutrient aids in producing proteins, hormones, and neurotransmitters. 

The low-fat content of sweet potatoes also works well in moderation for dogs with decreased activity levels and obesity.

Possible Risk Factors When Feeding Dogs Sweet Potatoes

Introducing any new food risks upsetting your dog’s normal gut microbiome. Always remember to introduce any new food gradually into your dog’s diet. Small portions over three-five days will allow your dog’s gut to adjust to the novel food. 

If owners introduce sweet potatoes and the dog develops gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or increased flatulence, it is best to discontinue feeding them. Owners should also consider adding some probiotics to help the dog recover better.  The high fiber content may cause these symptoms if provided in excess. 

Sweet potatoes have a high glycemic index which is not ideal for dogs with diabetes, so moderating intake is vital to ensure they do not experience glucose spikes.

The risk of intestinal blockage is a serious consideration when feeding sweet potatoes. The peels and raw vegetables will cause severe complications if the mobility of the gut grinds to a halt because of a blockage. Owners must schedule a vet visit if they suspect their dog has consumed raw sweet potatoes, especially in high, unsupervised quantities. 

Manufacturers often include sweet potatoes in grain-free diets. Owners must note that the FDA is investigating a correlation between grain-free dog food and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). DCM is a rare condition that has become alarming and more prevalent in certain breeds, especially those on grain-free food. 

The carbohydrates found in traditional dog pellets usually originate from grains like rice, wheat, and corn. These carbohydrates help the pellet hold its shape better, but as allergies and grain prices increase, some manufacturers turn to vegetables with high carbohydrate content as substitutes. 

Current investigations by the FDA suspect that diets high in pulses, which include legumes such as peas and lentils, are most likely the diets associated with DCM. Some grain-free diets that include potatoes and sweet potatoes show links to some incidences of DCM, but there is still a lot of debate surrounding the investigation. 

How Can I Prepare Sweet Potatoes For My Dog?

It is crucial to properly prepare sweet potatoes by washing off all dirt and peeling them. There are several ways to cook them, so take your time and ensure they are a good consistency for your dog to enjoy them and all their benefits. 

The easiest way to cook sweet potatoes is to boil or steam this. Whether you use the microwave or over a stove, remember not to add salt or other seasoning containing garlic or onion powder. This cooking method retains the most nutrients in the sweet potatoes. 

Roasting or dehydrating sweet potatoes is also a great way to serve them to your dog, but just remember to feed them in moderation and introduce them gradually. A good guide is to start with one teaspoon and then up to two tablespoons daily. 

Hill's Grain Free Dog Treats, Soft-Baked Naturals with Beef & Sweet Potatoes, Soft Healthy Dog Snacks, 8 oz. Bag
Sweet Potato Slices For Dogs - Single Ingredient Grain Free Dog Treats, Best High Anti-Oxidant Healthy 100% Natural Thick Cut Dried Sweet Potato Dog Treats With No Added Preservatives (2lb)
Canidae Pure Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog 12 LB
Product name
Hill’s Grain Free Dog Treats, Soft-Baked Naturals with Beef & Sweet Potatoes, Soft Healthy Dog Snacks, 8 oz. Bag
Sweet Potato Slices For Dogs – Single Ingredient Grain Free Dog Treats, Best High Anti-Oxidant Healthy 100% Natural Thick Cut Dried Sweet Potato Dog Treats With No Added Preservatives (2lb)
Canidae Pure Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog 12 LB
Price
$7.78
$40.98
$21.99
Hill's Grain Free Dog Treats, Soft-Baked Naturals with Beef & Sweet Potatoes, Soft Healthy Dog Snacks, 8 oz. Bag
Product name
Hill’s Grain Free Dog Treats, Soft-Baked Naturals with Beef & Sweet Potatoes, Soft Healthy Dog Snacks, 8 oz. Bag
Price
$7.78
Buy Now
Sweet Potato Slices For Dogs - Single Ingredient Grain Free Dog Treats, Best High Anti-Oxidant Healthy 100% Natural Thick Cut Dried Sweet Potato Dog Treats With No Added Preservatives (2lb)
Product name
Sweet Potato Slices For Dogs – Single Ingredient Grain Free Dog Treats, Best High Anti-Oxidant Healthy 100% Natural Thick Cut Dried Sweet Potato Dog Treats With No Added Preservatives (2lb)
Price
$40.98
Buy Now
Canidae Pure Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog 12 LB
Product name
Canidae Pure Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog 12 LB
Price
$21.99
Buy Now

Treats That Have Sweet Potatoes

BRUTUS & BARNABY Thick Cut Sweet Potato Dog Treat Full Slices 

About This Item

Brutus & Barnaby is a dog-loving family that believes in all-natural products, which makes it our top pick for the treats department. Moreover, they don’t even use glycerine as a preservative (did you know this is the most common preservative?)! Another reason they are our top pick is that they source all their sweet potatoes only from the US and Canada, and they use facilities that have the highest food facility standards in the industry!

Their thick-cut dried sweet potato chips offer dogs a satisfying chew as a treat or training snack

The treats are low-fat and do not contain additives like sugar or preservatives,  so they are a super option for diabetic dogs, dogs fed raw diets, or pets with skin allergies. The treats are an excellent choice for dogs of all ages ranging from puppies that are teething to geriatrics in their golden years.  

Features

  • Single-ingredient treat
  • Gluten-Free and Grain-Free
  • No Preservatives
  • No Additives
  • Great for teething puppies or senior dogs with dental issues.

List of ingredients

  • Dehydrated Sweet Potato

The company focuses on healthy and natural ingredients, and as a small family business, they treat their customers like family.

Hill's Grain Free Dog Treats, Soft-Baked Naturals with Beef & Sweet Potatoes 

The single-ingredient dried sweet potato dog treats are low-fat and vegan. The all-natural treats are free of preservatives and manufactured with real beef. Hills is a trusted company that manufactures its products in the USA with internationally sourced ingredients, 

The treats work well as a snack or a training treat with lean proteins and no grains. Hills has such tremendous confidence in their products’ quality and palatability that they offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with your purchase. 

Foods That Have Sweet Potatoes

There are several commercial foods available that include the benefits of sweet potatoes. Let’s explore some of our top picks.

Wag Dry Dog Food Salmon & Sweet Potato 

Wag dog food is a family owned-facility from California and is a reputable Amazon brand that uses a variety of animal and plant protein sources. Their recipe formulation undergoes extensive collaboration with veterinarians and pet nutritionists.

The food contains sustainably-raised salmon as the primary ingredient with no added grains or artificial additives, making it an excellent option for dogs with allergies or sensitive skin. The food contains average-fat, reduced carbohydrates, and higher than typical protein content. 

Merrick Dry Dog Food, Real Texas Beef, and Sweet Potato Grain Free Dog Food Recipe 

Merrick Dry Dog Food, Real Texas Beef, and Sweet Potato Grain Free Dog Food developed its recipe from a whole foods principle. It provides high-quality protein sources from naturally deboned beef. 

The food is grain free, high in protein, and healthy fats. The food is a natural and balanced complete food with several nutritional additives that benefit dogs—packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids that help to support a happy and healthy dog. 

The food also contains high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to support good joint health. The recipe was hand-crafted in Hereford, Texas, and production occurs in the USA. The food contains no soy, gluten, or artificial additives, 

Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food, Real Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe 

Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food, Real Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe  to meet the maintenance needs of dogs as set out by AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles—real Salmon pairs well with whole-food ingredients like sweet potatoes, menhaden fish meal, and peas.  

The formula includes additives that promote gut health and provide immune support with probiotics and antioxidants. Their ration is grain-free and hypoallergenic, which suits dogs with sensitive digestive tracts and skins. 

The protein included is high-quality and boasts a range of essential amino acids and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which support the skin barrier. The food producer strives to produce sustainably and responsibly sourced materials to uphold the company’s ideal of wholesome business values. The packaging is also eco-friendly. 

FAQ

Can Dogs Eat Raw Sweet Potatoes?

No: There is a considerable safety concern when feeding a dog raw sweet potatoes. The fibers break down when heat is applied, and if fed raw, the excessive fibers may build up and possibly result in gastrointestinal obstruction. An obstruction is a serious problem as it can cause severe infections. 

If your dog happens to ingest a significant amount of raw sweet potato, then they may require a vet visit, especially if they start to show the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting. 
  • Diarrhea.
  • Depressed appetite.
  • Painful or tense abdomen. 

Can Dogs Eat Purple Sweet Potatoes?

Yes: The purple varieties of sweet potatoes have a higher starch content, a more nutty taste, and a high concentration of anthocyanins. These phytochemicals occur naturally; research shows they reduce inflammation as an antioxidant. 

Can Dogs Eat Canned Sweet Potatoes?

No: Canned products often contain artificial additives and sweeteners that are unhealthy for dogs. Some companies offer organic, unsweetened sweet potatoes with water, which dogs can eat, but some essential nutrients often get lost during the canning process. 

Can Dogs Eat White Sweet Potatoes?

Yes: White sweet potatoes are sweeter with a milder flavor and contain fewer micronutrients than other sweet potato variants. They do supply a good source of fiber, carbohydrates, and potassium. 

Can Dogs Eat The Skin Of Sweet Potatoes?

No: The skin of any tuber is not considered a safe food to feed pets as it poses a choking hazard or has the potential to cause an intestinal blockage. Some may argue that the skin has health benefits, but we err on the side of caution, as prevention is much cheaper than a visit to the emergency vet. 

Peeling, washing, and cooking the sweet potatoes is recommended as the safest way to feed sweet potatoes.  

Can Dogs Eat Yams or Sweet Potatoes?

Yes: Yams and sweet potatoes are root vegetables that grow underground. The two vegetables are very similar, but a yam varietal is more of a specialty market food, which is also drier and more starchy than an ordinary sweet potato from a local grocer. 

Can Dogs Eat Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes

Yes: Dogs can enjoy treats that have undergone the dehydration process. Dehydration is a similar process to baking, but the sweet potato cooks in a dehydrator that bakes the vegetable at lower temperatures for an extended period. The dried-out vegetable is then safe for storage at room temperature and a quick and easy treat for your pet. 

Parting Thoughts

Most vegetables are great to incorporate into a pet’s diet, but if prepared correctly and sourced from a reputable supplier, feeding your dog sweet potatoes provides several nutritional benefits. 

If your dog is unaccustomed to eating sweet potato, introduce it slowly to their diet to avoid causing gastric upset. Start introducing new food by feeding small portions in moderation over three-five days. Adding a probiotic at the same time also helps to make the transition easier. 

Whether you bake, boil, or mash your veggies, cooking something special for your dog can enrich their mealtime experience. Or, if you prefer to purchase a delicious sweet potato treat, why not spoil your four-legged friend with Brutus & Barnaby’s Thick Cut Sweet Potato Dog Treats?  

Fresh, whole-food diets offer several health benefits, but always consult a veterinary nutritionist if you are concerned about your dog’s nutrition needs. According to current FDA research, grain-free diets pose health concerns for pets, but sweet potatoes are not an implicated risk factor.

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AUTHOR

Dr. Kaylee Ferreira, a South African vet from Johannesburg, excels in diverse veterinary roles. Founder of Kubuntu Veterinary Services, she's a dedicated animal lover and adventurer.