Can dogs eat sweet potato? Yes, they can! So long as they’re served up plain — sorry, pups, no sweet potato fries for you! — your dog can enjoy this starchy, yet sweet vegetable cooked, boiled, steamed, baked or even dehydrated. And the best part is that sweet potatoes are available at most grocery stores year-round, inexpensive, and easy to prepare.
We spoke with Dr. Katrin Ventocilla, DVM, owner of PACK Animal Care in Lorton, Virginia, for tips and advice on how to include sweet potatoes in your pup’s diet.
Benefits of Sweet Potato for Dogs
Are sweet potatoes good for dogs? Yes! When fed in moderation, sweet potatoes can be a nutritious addition to your dog’s balanced diet. Dr. Ventocilla says sweet potatoes:
- Are high in fiber, promoting good digestion and helping your dog’s overall digestive health.
- Are high in beta-carotene, which is a fantastic antioxidant. Dogs can convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, which boosts the immune system and supports your dog’s vision and skin.
- Also contain protein along with vitamins C, B6, and B5, manganese and potassium, all of which are good for your dog.
Risks of Feeding Sweet Potato to Your Dog
While dogs can eat sweet potato as a treat or mixed in with their regular food, Dr. Ventocilla has a few things to keep in mind before feeding your dog sweet potato:
- Dogs should only eat cooked sweet potato. Raw sweet potato can be difficult to chew and become a choking hazard or obstruct the gastrointestinal tract.
- Only feed your dog plain sweet potatoes. That means no added milk, cream, butter, oil, salt or other seasonings.
- Start small. If your dog has never eaten sweet potato, start by feeding them a small amount to see if they have a negative reaction, like an upset stomach or allergic reaction. Then you can slowly increase the quantity over time. Dr. Ventocilla says a small dog can eat about 1 teaspoon of cooked sweet potato per day and a larger dog can eat 1 tablespoon daily.
How to Feed Sweet Potato to Your Dog
You should always consult with your vet before serving sweet potato to determine the right portion size for your dog. Even a healthy treat like sweet potato should be factored into your dog’s optimum daily balanced diet. Dr. Ventocilla says sweet potato can be:
- Cooked, boiled, steamed, baked or dehydrated. Any of these ways of serving up sweet potato to your dog is OK!
- Peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes, making sure the cubes are appropriate for your dog’s weight and size.
- A small snack. Treats should never be more than 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake. And too much sweet potato, which is high in fiber, can cause gastrointestinal upset.
- Mixed in with their regular food. Try hiding the sweet potato under your dog’s regular kibble to make them work for this yummy treat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:Can dogs eat sweet potato skin?
A:No. Sweet potato skin can be difficult to digest, so Dr. Ventocilla does not recommend feeding your dog sweet potato skin.
Q:Can dogs eat sweet potato fries?
A:No. While your dog would probably enjoy them just as much as you do, sweet potato fries contain seasoning like garlic, sugars and oils that make them not dog-friendly.
Q:Can dogs eat sweet potato pie?
A:No, sweet potato pie should be off limits for dogs. It contains fillers, sugar and spices that can be toxic to dogs.
Top Dog Food & Treats with Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a common ingredient in dog food and treats, especially ones made for sensitive stomachs and hypoallergenic diets. Here are some of our favorites:
Ideal for dogs with food sensitivities, this dry food is made with easily digestible carbohydrates like peas and sweet potatoes.
Before incorporating any new foods into your dog’s diet, always consult with your veterinarian to make sure it’s a safe addition to your pet’s diet given their health, diet needs and current medications. Your vet will tell you if your dog can eat sweet potato and the appropriate serving size. If you suspect your pet is sick, please call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your regular veterinarian when possible as they can make the best recommendations for your pet. (If you need help finding a vet near you use this link.)
Expert input provided by Dr. Katrin Ventocilla, DVM, owner of PACK Animal Care in Lorton, Virginia.