You’ve probably seen your dog slurp up a loose sweet potato fry at breakneck speeds. Or maybe they sit by the oven, hypnotized, as a sweet potato casserole heats up inside. What you may wonder is if sweet potatoes are actually good for dogs.
For dog owners there’s no doubt: Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients, vitamins A and C, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and fiber. A great addition for healthy eating, sweet potatoes offer many human health benefits including a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of copper, iron and manganese.
These three minerals are essential for dogs, so does that mean your pup can regularly enjoy sweet potato too? Join us as we look into whether you can feed these healthy spuds to your best buds.
Sweet Potato: a Powerful Superfood
The humble sweet potato is a root vegetable which you can find in most grocery stores around the world.
Ever heard the term superfood? Unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes are considered a human superfood, thanks to their many health benefits. They are an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin C, and potassium, and when baked with their skin on contain high levels of plant-based protein, fiber and minerals.
Food That Can Fight Cancer
But are sweet potatoes good for your dog too? Animal-based research, including studies on mice, may help to give us some sort of a clue. In a 2013 study, it was found that purple sweet potatoes offer various antioxidants, which help protect against certain types of cancers.
Anthocyanins are one of these antioxidants and they can be found in purple sweet potatoes. Test-tube studies suggest they slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells, including those of the bladder, colon, stomach and breast.
Similarly, it was found that mice fed diets rich in purple sweet potatoes had a reduced risk of early-stage colon cancer.
Super Charge Your Dog’s Brain Function?
Another study conducted on mice found that consuming purple sweet potatoes may improve brain function. They found that the same group of antioxidants that held cancer-fighting properties — anthocyanins — can protect the brain by reducing inflammation. Supplementing with anthocyanin-rich sweet potato extract improved learning and memory in mice. The only downside? If it’s true for your dog too then he might remember the time you stood on his tail!
Great for Gut Health
Cooked sweet potatoes are relatively high in fiber. Fiber helps your dog maintain a healthy balance in the gut, which regulates the bowels and keeps the colon healthy, too. It comes in both soluble (digestible) and insoluble (not digestible) forms, and both have their place in the body’s ecosystem.
Digestible fiber can be broken down and processed in your dog’s gut, while indigestible fiber essentially gives the gut a massage to reduce inflammation and clean the mucous membranes.
When it comes to doggy digestion, we often find a happy gut equals a happy pup!
Wait, Can Dogs Be Allergic to Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, and no.
If the sweet potatoes are cooked and peeled they are usually digestible for most dogs. Although dogs can potentially become allergic to any food they are repeatedly exposed to, sweet potatoes are not a common allergen. You should however always be aware of potential food allergies when feeding your pet something new. Keep a close eye out for any itchiness, breathing difficulties, or rashes, and be sure to consult a veterinarian if you have any doubts.
Likewise, if your dog has any health concerns (such as obesity or diabetes) you should speak to your vet before adding specific foods or treats to their diet.
How Much Sweet Potato Should My Pup Have?
Like with any food, moderation is key. The amount of sweet potato given should be based on a variety of factors, such as your dog’s size, activity level, and overall health. Unfortunately, there is too much of a good thing — feeding your dog too much sweet potato ”can cause bone and muscle weakness, due to excessive vitamin A.”
If you are adding sweet potato to your dog’s diet, make sure it’s cooked and not raw. Raw potatoes are difficult to digest and can cause stomach problems. When cooking, it’s important not to include potentially harmful ingredients like butter, sugar, and seasoning, etc. Also, remember to not give your pup a whole sweet potato as this could be a choking hazard.
Try Our PURE Grain Free Dry Dog Food With Salmon and Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes can be used as a healthy source of carbohydrates in pet food. While slipping your best friend some cooked sweet potato from your dinner plate might be tempting, the best way to add sweet potato to your dog’s diet is with CANIDAE® PURE Grain Free Dry Dog Food with Salmon and Sweet Potato.
Our vet formulated salmon and sweet potato dog food has only 8 key ingredients — keeping it simple, healthy, nutritious, and without any unnecessary and nasty additives. As well as delicious sweet potatoes and salmon, PURE is also packed full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and even a probiotics mix.
Check our transition guide and remember to always check with your vet if you have any doubts about how to switch to Canidae’s delicious recipes today!