Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?
Potatoes are great! The Irish have proven it to be a worthy part of our diet. But are raw potatoes good for dogs?
Containing vitamin C, B6, iron and magnesium, why wouldn't dogs be allowed potatoes?
Well, there are risks when you let your dog have potatoes, and if they display symptoms, consult your vet. Raw potatoes are bad for dogs. Cooked potatoes, however, are a popular ingredient in dog food. Small amounts of cooked potatoes can be healthy for dogs. This includes sweet potatoes, but they have more sugar, so be careful with diabetic dogs.
With all these vitamins and minerals, you might want to give your dog potatoes as a hearty treat. However you're considering it, only cooked potatoes are allowed. It doesn't matter whether it's mashed potatoes, jacket potatoes or boiled, as long as they are not raw, you'll be alright.
The reason raw potatoes are dangerous for dogs is that they contain mycotoxins. These are toxic byproducts of mould and fungus.
One of the most well-known mycotoxins in potatoes and members of the nightshade family is aflatoxin. It's also the most naturally occurring carcinogenic in the world.
In dogs, aflatoxins target organs, specifically the liver, causing toxicity, immunosuppression and cancer.
Signs of poisoning in your dog will vary depending on how much solanine and chaconine (types of toxins) are in the potato or potato skin your dog eats. The health and size of your dog will also be a determining factor.
Symptoms from eating raw potatoes:
- Burning of the throat
- Cardiac dysrhythmia
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, e.g. diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and nausea
- Heart problems
- Loss of sensation
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Numbness/burning sensation of the tongue, mouth, and lips
- Progressive paralysis
- Slow pulse
- Slowed breathing
- Swelling of tongue or lips
- Vision changes
To be safe, I recommend talking to your veterinarian before adding new food to your dog's diet. In any case, raw potatoes for dogs is not a good idea.
Aside from poisoning, too many potatoes can cause constipation. The high carbohydrate content can also be a problem if your dog suffers from obesity or other health issues like diabetes.
- Symptoms of poisoning will usually be mild unless your dog is small, ill or has eaten an awful lot of raw potatoes in a short amount of time.
- Grain-free dog food often uses cooked potatoes as a substitute for rice. In these cases, they aren't a risk to your dog. Feeding your dog grain-free can be a better choice if foods like rice cause itchy skin or sensitivity.
Your vet will decide which treatment will be the most effective, depending on your dog's symptoms. Here are some potential methods:
Emesis - Your vet will induce vomiting by giving your dog apomorphine.
Afterwards, they will give activated charcoal to absorb any toxins left in the stomach.
IV fluids/oxygen therapy - IV fluids will stop your dog from dehydrating whilst flushing out the toxins in the body quicker.
Oxygen therapy will help your dog if they're struggling to breathe correctly.
Stomach Pump - If there are still toxins in your dog's system, this might be the best method.
The procedure involves inserting a tube into your dog's mouth and flushing out the stomach with saline solution.
Your vet will give medication like physostigmine or pilocarpine to help boost your dog's nervous system. They might also use gastrointestinal protectants or laxatives.