Can dogs eat potato skins? In a nut shell, yes and no.
Potatoes contain a substance called Solanine, this can potentially be toxic to some dogs and can cause some very serious effects including gastrointestinal and neurological issues and though rare – it can cause death in dogs if left untreated.
Though this does not mean they cannot have potatoes and the skin at all. Here are the things to consider, and how to make them safe for your dog.
Can dogs eat potato skins that are raw?
No, dogs should not eat raw potatoes, especially raw potato skin.
Raw potatoes contain higher levels of Solanine, it is highest in the skin or in green potatoes.
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My dog ate potato skin – what to do?
If the potato is well cooked, then you can breathe a little easier, properly cooked potato and potato skins should contain low levels of Solanine. If you are worried then contact your veterinarian for further advice.
If the potato was raw, then you need to telephone your veterinarian straight away and request an emergency appointment. The sooner you can be seen the better chance you have of minimal side effects.
Side effects to look out for: Nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, weakness, hypersalivation, difficulty breathing, heart problems, tremors and behavioral changes.
Solanine – what is it?
Solanine is a glycoalkaloid poison which is found in species of the nightshade family. It can be found in potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant, among some other foods we eat as humans.
It can be found in all of the plant, from the leaves, fruit and roots. Basically, solanine has a pesticidal property and is the way for the plant to naturally protect itself.
Can dogs eat potato skins that are cooked?
Yes dogs can eat potato skins that are well-cooked, but they do need to be fed in moderation. Here’s how to prepare them.
Preparation & Cooking
Ideally, peel your potatoes. You are then reducing the levels of Solanine greatly. But you can give skins too, just in small amounts.
Either boil or bake the potatoes and then slice, mash or crush them – never feed them whole, they can become a choking hazard if they are whole.
Do not season the potatoes, added seasoning can cause other issues in the body and some seasoning mixes include garlic and onion powder which are also toxic to dogs.
Can dogs eat sweet potato and their skins?
They can eat sweet potato, but the skin can be hard to digest. The best way to feed sweet potato is to peel and cook the inside.
Sweet potato does not contain solanine, but has its own risks. Make sure you cook the sweet potato well, ideally peeling them first and then cutting them up into small chunks to ensure they cook all the way through.
Raw sweet potato can be hard to digest as well as the skins, therefore their biggest risk is an obstruction in the stomach or intestines. Well-cooked sweet potato will be soft so is much easier to pass through your dog’s digestive tract.
By cooking your sweet potato you also start to break it down, allowing your dog to digest it more easily.
Nutritional content of potato skins & why it isn’t ideal for dogs
Potatoes and their skins are fat and cholesterol free, low in sodium and high in vitamin C and potassium. Potato skins contain Vitamin B, iron, calcium and are a good source of fibre.
Other nutrients found in potatoes and their skins include folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.
Though they do contain Solanine, with commercial potatoes containing approximately 12mg/100g. However this seems to differ slightly depending on type of potato, age of the plant and how they are prepared and cooked.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium and fibre. They will also provide some calcium, iron, magnesium and folate.
How much potato skin is bad for dogs?
In moderation, well-cooked potato skin is fine, the major concern is Solanine. Toxic levels to dogs range hugely and the amount in a raw potato or its skin ranges depending on the type of the potato and its developmental stage.
If a dog eats as little as 0.1% of its body weight of raw potato, it has the potential to cause issues. Therefore if your dog has eaten any, it is always best to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Advice would be to give cooked potato or potato skins occasionally and avoid giving it as a daily ‘added extra’ on top of their normal diet. If their normal diet contains potato already, I would avoid giving it on top.
My dog has health issues, can I still give them potatoes?
If your dog has a health issue then it is best to check with your veterinarian, some health issues or medication could potentially be affected by feeding potatoes and potato skins. If your dog is on a special diet, check before giving any extras that may destabilize the diet they are on.
This also is true for sweet potatoes, however sweet potatoes are a good source of fibre and may be able to aid in a weight loss programme, so it is always worth mentioning to your veterinary nurse during diet clinics.
But I see commercial food with potato in…
Most commercial foods available to the market undergo a lot of research and will meet certain requirements before coming onto the market for us to buy.
The potato you see in some dog foods, will have been prepared and cooked in order to reduce the Solanine amount and so long as you follow the feeding guides provided by the food company (usually found on the back of the packaging) then it should be safe.
If there isn’t enough information on the packaging for you to comfortably feed it to your dog, then contact the food company for further assistance or speak to your veterinary nurse, veterinary surgeon or veterinary nutritionist.
So while you can feed potatoes, potato skins and sweet potatoes; there are many things to consider.
Ideally peel your potatoes and cook them well, without seasoning. Never give your dog raw potatoes or potato skins and if your dog has accidentally eaten some raw potatoes, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.