A pile of freshly grown potatoes.

Welcome to “Can My Dog Eat That?,” our series that answers some obvious (and not-so-obvious) questions about what your dog can and can’t safely eat. You can view some of the previous foods we’ve looked at in our “Can my dog eat that?” guide. Today we answer the question “Can dogs eat potatoes?” Read on!

Taters. Spuds. Pommes de terre. Whichever name you use, potatoes are a popular vegetable at the dinner table. That’s possibly because they’re such a versatile ingredient: we’ve got mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, baked potatoes, boiled potatoes, potato salad, potato soup, tater tots, French fries — the list goes on. With all of these options passing by their nose, there’s a good chance that your dog is going to beg you for a taste of your ’taters at some point. So should you give in? Can dogs eat potatoes?

The short answer is yes, it’s OK if dogs eat potatoes as long as the potatoes are cooked and plain. But there are a few more things you should know about potatoes before your dog slurps down a spoonful of spud.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Potatoes?

If you’re going to feed your dog potatoes, they should be cooked. As you’ll read later on, raw potatoes can cause an upset digestive system for dogs. Whichever method you use to cook potatoes, don’t add salt or butter to them because these aren’t healthy for dogs. You should feed your dog plain potatoes that don’t have any toppings or seasonings — especially if the seasonings are toxic to dogs (garlic and onion powder).

For example, if you’re making mashed potatoes, get a spoonful out for your dog before you put the butter, salt or other ingredients in that make it so tasty for you. Similarly, instant mashed potatoes are not good for your dog if they have seasonings mixed in with them.

Are Potatoes Good for Dogs?

Yes, potatoes are healthy for dogs if they are plain, cooked and fed in moderation. Potatoes are often used in commercial dog foods as a carbohydrate source. Carbohydrates provide energy and help promote gastrointestinal health. Potato protein is used as a protein source in some high-protein dog food recipes. Potatoes are also a good source of some vitamins and minerals.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes?

No, don’t let your dog eat raw potatoes. They can be hard to digest, potentially causing gastrointestinal issues. Additionally, if your dog bites off large chunks of hard, raw potato, they could choke. Cooking the raw potato breaks down the starch and lectin in the potato making it easier to digest (and easier to eat). You should also avoid cooking raw potatoes that have green spots or have started to sprout (see the garden section below).

Can Dogs Eat Potato Skin?

No. Potato skins can be hard to digest and can upset your dog’s digestive tract, so it’s best to feed them potatoes without the skin on. If you baked potatoes with the skin on, scoop out the potato and give that to your dog — before you add the sour cream, butter, cheese, chives and bacon, of course. You should also make sure your dog can’t hunt down any raw potato skins you’ve peeled.

Can Dogs Eat French Fries?

No. Any type of oil-fried potato, like French fries, tater tots and hash browns, is not healthy for dogs due to the fat content. If you feed your dog one or two French fries, they’ll probably be OK, but large amounts of fatty food can cause pancreatitis or an upset digestive tract. The large amount of salt that can be in or on fried food is also not healthy for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Yes. Sweet potatoes have the same guidelines as potatoes — as long as sweet potatoes are cooked and don’t have any toppings or seasonings, your dog can eat sweet potatoes. Fun fact: despite their similar name, sweet potatoes are actually distant relatives of potatoes.

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes from the Garden?

No. Potatoes belong to the nightshade family of plants which also includes tomatoes and eggplants. Nightshades contain glycoalkaloids (solanine and chaconine in the case of potatoes) which can be toxic in large amounts. Potato plants, green potatoes and sprouts contain solanine, and raw potatoes and skins contain chaconine. In toxic amounts, these glycoalkaloids can cause an upset digestive tract as well as other symptoms. If your dog eats large amounts of a potato plant, raw potatoes, green potatoes or potatoes with sprouts, contact your veterinarian.

Can Dogs Eat Potato Chips?

No. The thing that makes potato chips sooo tasty is the seasonings on them. But the seasoning may contain ingredients like garlic and onion powder that are toxic to dogs. Potato chips are usually high in salt and fat which isn’t good for dogs either. So letting them lick the seasoning and chip crumbs from the bottom of the bag is not a good idea!

Keep the Potato Portions Petite

If you do decide to give your dog some potato, use it as a treat or food topper. It shouldn’t be used to replace your dog’s diet and shouldn’t be more than 10 percent of their daily calorie allowance. A small dollop of plain mashed potatoes on top of your dog’s kibble is a good place to start. As always, check with your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet, including adding new foods.

Can My Dog Eat Potatoes?

Yes, it’s OK if dogs eat mashed potatoes or any other type of cooked potato, as long as they’re plain with no seasonings or toppings. Stay away from raw potatoes and potato skin, though, and remember to only give your dog potatoes as a treat.

An interior graphic with text that reads ‘Can my dog eat potatoes? Yes! (if they are cooked and plain)’.

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.