Can Puppies Eat Potatoes?

One of the biggest challenges of being a new puppy parent is learning about all the foods your puppy can and can’t eat. Yes, you could feed them puppy chow only, and they would likely be just fine if you choose one of the better brands. However, I think we can all agree that very few people don’t give their puppy, and adult dog, snacks.

Snacks are a natural part of being a human, and, as we humans love to do, we share our love for snacks with our pets, especially puppies. That’s all good and well, as long as the snacks you give your precious pup are healthy. That’s the trick, of course, because most snack foods aren’t what one would call ‘healthy.’

Many new puppy parents look for healthy fruits and veggies in their quest to find snacks that they can safely give to their pup. Many of my readers do too, and ask me a question I hear frequently; can puppies eat potatoes?

The answer to this puppy snack question is that yes, your pupper can eat potatoes, but they should be fully cooked and served plain, with no salt, butter, south cream, and all the other things we humans love to slather on our potatoes.

While plain, fully-cooked potatoes are OK, raw potatoes are not. They contain solanine, a natural compound found in nightshade plants like potatoes and tomatoes. Solanine is highly toxic for puppies and dogs and is only reduced through cooking. Raw potatoes have also been known to cause intestinal blockages in puppies, which can be very painful. In short, don’t give your puppy raw potatoes.

Now that you know that, yes, your puppy can eat potatoes that are plain and well-cooked, I’m betting you have more questions about pu[pies and potatoes, including how many potatoes a puppy should eat. For the answer to those questions and several more, read on.

Can Puppies Eat Cooked Potatoes? 

Yes, puppies can eat cooked potatoes. In fact, cooked potatoes are the only kind they should eat, as raw potatoes have a high amount of the chemical solanine (which I mentioned earlier). When giving your puppy cooked potatoes, you should ensure they are plain, with no butter, salt, sour cream, and all the other condiments typically slathered on potatoes.

The reason for this is that the extra salt, fat, and calories of those condiments can, in time, pose a health problem for your puppy, predominantly obesity and high blood pressure. (Just like in humans!) So, yes, puppies can eat cooked potatoes, as long as they’re plain (and not too hot, which could burn their little mouth).

Can Puppies Eat Raw Potatoes? 

No, never. As I mentioned already, raw potatoes contain a chemical called solanine which is toxic for puppies and dogs (as well as other pets). Solanine is very harmful and can cause various health problems, including some that are quite severe. 

Raw potatoes and their skins also have another toxic chemical called chaconine which is almost as dangerous and causes several other health problems for your puppy. Both of these naturally-occurring chemicals can cause health problems for your puppy, which is why you should never give them raw potatoes or raw potato skins. 

The Dangers of Puppies Eating Raw Potatoes 

There are, to be sure, several health problems that eating raw potatoes can cause, and all of them will negatively affect your precious pup’s wellbeing. Some are worse than others, but avoiding all of them is essential. Some of the health problems solanine and chaconine cause include:

  • Heart problems
  • GI tract upset
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Nervous system problems, including tremors
  • Problems with kidney function

What Are the Symptoms of Raw Potato Poisoning in Puppies?

Any symptoms that your puppy might show after eating raw potatoes will be determined by how many they ate, your puppy’s size and age, and their overall health. For example, Bulldog puppies already have plenty of health problems due to over-breeding. If a Bulldog puppy eats raw potatoes, they might have a far worse reaction than a mixed-breed pup in perfect health.

The good news is that, in the vast majority of cases, the symptoms of raw potato poisoning will be mild and clear up in several hours as your puppy’s digestive system flushes the potatoes, and toxic chemicals, out of their body. If your pup is exceptionally small or eats a whole bunch of raw potatoes, though, they might present with the following symptoms, including:

  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Dilated pupils
  • Paralysis
  • Fever
  • Excess drooling
  • Jaundice
  • Vision changes
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding
  • Diarrhea 
  • Seizures 
  • Trembling
  • Swelling of their lips and tongue
  • Significantly slowed breathing
  • Shock
  • Hypothermia
  • Abdominal pain
  • In severe cases, death.

How Many Potatoes Can a Puppy Eat?

If you’ve been reading my other blogs about puppies, you likely have come across the 10% rule. This rule states that treats should make up no more than 10% of your puppy’s daily food intake. For example, if you have a Great Dane who eats 2 lbs of food per day, you should limit their snack intake to .2 lb or about 3.2 oz. That’s about ½ of a large potato, which I think you’ll agree isn’t much at all.

By the way, if your puppy has been diagnosed with diabetes, you should avoid giving them potatoes altogether, even if they’re cooked. The reason is that potatoes can cause dangerous spikes in your puppy’s blood sugar, just like a human who has diabetes.

How Do Vets Treat Puppies Who Have Eaten a Lot of Raw Potatoes?

If your puppy has eaten many raw potatoes, your veterinarian will typically give them apomorphine which induces vomiting so that they vomit the potatoes back up. That way, the chemicals solanine, and chaconine don’t have the chance to get into their digestive system and get dispersed throughout their body.

Your vet might also give your puppy activated charcoal, which will absorb any solanine and chaconine left behind. Depending on how severe their case is, your veterinarian might also give your puppy oxygen therapy and hook them up to an IV to provide fluids. They can also give them gastrointestinal protectants and laxatives, which will help them to defecate faster,  removing the potatoes from their gastrointestinal tract and the toxic chemicals along with them.

Final Thoughts 

Can puppies eat potatoes? The answer is that, yes, they can eat potatoes as long as they’re fully cooked and plain. (No condiments like butter or sour cream and no salt.)  you should never give your puppy raw potatoes as they have toxic chemicals that can cause health problems for your puppy, sometimes severe.

Did you enjoy today’s blog about puppies and potatoes? I hope you did and that it answered all of your questions about this typically human food that you can give to your puppy as an occasional snack. If you have more questions or would like to learn about other facets of being a puppy parent, please see my other blogs on the subject. They can help you raise a healthy, happy, and well-adjusted puppy.