When you think about homemade treats or food you can cook and share with your dog, you probably think of foods like bone broth, grilled meat or fruit, and vegetables. Mashed potatoes are probably one of the last things you would think to give your pup. Many people associate mashed potatoes with Thanksgiving and other holiday meals loaded up with fat and calories. Not a healthy snack for your dog. Did you know that you actually can share mashed potatoes with your dog if you do it the right way?
Nutritional benefits and risks of sharing potatoes with your dog
Potatoes are a source of carbohydrates which means they can help give your pup a boost of energy. They contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium which are vitamins and minerals your dog needs.
You want to be careful when feeding potatoes. Never feed raw potatoes to your dog. Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family of veggies, just like tomatoes which you also need to feed very carefully (only the red, ripe ones). Raw potatoes contain solanine, which is toxic to dogs. When you cook a potato, you remove most of the solanine which is what makes them safe.
Another important note about potatoes is that the FDA is doing research into increased reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Research has shown that dogs who eat food containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients are at a higher risk for contracting DCM. To this end, we do not recommend making potatoes a significant part of your pet’s diet.
4 Tips for feeding your dog mashed potatoes
1. Feed in moderation
1. Feed in moderation
Like any other treat, too much of a good thing can be bad for your pup. Keep potatoes as a special treat and do not overfeed your dog. Like any other treat, too much can upset your dog’s stomach and lead to vomiting or diarrhea. Over time too many mashed potatoes can also lead to weight gain in your pup.
2. Don’t load them with salt or seasonings
The mashed potatoes you feed to your pup won’t taste like what you’re used to. Your dog doesn’t need salt or any other spices to enjoy mashed potatoes. Some spice blends contain garlic and/or anchor textonions - definitely a no go for your dog!
3. Pair with a good source of protein
To balance out all of the carbs, consider pairing mashed potatoes with a protein like grilled chicken, turkey or another lean meat your dog enjoys. You can even make a little puppy Shepherd’s pie with some lean ground beef or your pups’ favorite flavor of Ollie.
4. Avoid the butter, cheese, bacon, and other high-fat toppings
Not only do these delicious but high in fat toppings pack a serious caloric punch they also can lead to a more serious condition like pancreatitis. You don’t want to let your pup have too much fat and carbs in one sitting. Keep the mashed potatoes on the plain side to ensure your pup enjoys a healthy treat!
Skip the instant and frozen mashed potatoes you find in the grocery store
Unlike the homemade version which has one ingredient: Potatoes, these products can contain additional ingredients that aren’t so great for your pup. On the less harmful side, some simply contain additional sodium, herb or cheese flavoring. On the more harmful side, these products can contain preservatives or stabilizers that can irritate your dog’s stomach. None of this is good news for your pup, so if you want to share some mashed potato with your dog, you’re going to want to make them from scratch. Bonus points if you are able to use organic potatoes.
So, should I feed my dog mashed potatoes?
Based on the potential risks you might still be a little concerned about offering your dog mashed potatoes. Research on why dogs are getting DCM is still being conducted and in the coming months and years, more data will be available. In moderation, some mashed potatoes should be just fine for your pup. However, it is a good idea to consult your dog’s veterinarian before you add them to your dog’s diet. Your vet will be able to help you determine how potatoes fit into your dog’s overall diet based on their health history and what they’re currently eating.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.