Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes? Human Food for Dogs · The Wildest

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Can My Dog Eat This?

Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes?

It might be comfort food for you, but not for your pup.

by Dr. Amy Fox, DVM
March 4, 2024
Woman eating mashed potatoes and petting her small white dog.
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Mashed potatoes are a cold-weather comfort food and a versatile side dish that many will argue is really the star of the show, but when it comes to your pup, some varieties of mashed potatoes may be off-limits.

Mashed potatoes are often made with decadent ingredients to create that silky smooth, rich flavor. Depending on what’s inside, some of those ingredients may not be safe for your pup. However, potatoes are a safe food to share with your dog, and they provide some valuable health benefits. If you do want to share your famous mashed potatoes with your pup, you may need to make them a modified dog-friendly version.

Nutrition facts about mashed potatoes for dogs

Mashed potatoes are a classic side dish, and recipes tend to vary in how to make them decadent, smooth, creamy, and delicious. Then there are the add-ons for flavor, which may include garlic, chives, cheese, and/or additional spices, and seasonings.

Depending on what recipe you follow, the nutrition facts will vary somewhat. Potatoes will provide lots of carbohydrates in the form of starch in addition to potassium, and fiber. When mixed with the ingredients above to make mashed potatoes, they also provide fat, protein, calcium, and iron. While all of these nutrients are important for dogs, it is important to consider their source, because certain high-fat foods and dairy products are not healthy for our pups. Some of the added ingredients in these recipes may also be toxic to dogs

Are mashed potatoes good for dogs?

Generally speaking, mashed potatoes are not good for dogs. These rich dishes can cause digestive upset, and some recipes can even have toxic ingredients. This includes: 

  • High-fat dairy products: Butter, whole milk, cream, and/or sour cream are common ingredients in mashed potatoes. These high-fat dairy products give mashed potatoes a smooth and creamy flavor. They are also unsafe for dogs; high-fat foods can cause digestive upset and put some dogs at risk for pancreatitis. Dogs also lack the enzyme lactase to break down dairy products during digestion, so if they eat lots of dairy, this may lead to gas, bloating and digestive upset, which may hurt you as much as it hurts them.

  • Garlic: Garlic may be a chef’s best friend, but it is no friend to dogs. Garlic is in the Allium species of plant, which is considered toxic to dogs. In small amounts, garlic may cause digestive upset and vomiting. If a dog were to eat a large amount of garlic, it can cause more serious problems, such as hemolytic anemia (destruction of the red blood cells).

  • Salt: In small quantities salt is fine for dogs, but they should not regularly eat foods that are high in sodium. These foods can lead to high blood pressure and increased strain on the heart, which can be especially dangerous in dogs with pre-existing high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health conditions.

  • Chives: Chives are another Allium species, just like garlic, onions, leeks, and green onions. Foods made with these plants should not be shared with dogs because they can cause vomiting, as well as more serious health problems if consumed in large quantities. 

  • Cheese: OK, most of us have probably shared cheese with our dogs at some point because they absolutely love it. And while a small taste here and there is usually OK, cheese is another food that we should try to avoid on the regular. Cheeses are high in fat and have varying amounts of lactose, which dogs cannot properly digest. Some cheeses are also unpasteurized and can put pups at risk for food-borne illnesses. 

Can dogs eat plain mashed potatoes?

You certainly could make a dog-friendly version of mashed potatoes that would cut out all of the unsafe ingredients and allow your dog to partake. Mash up some plain boiled potatoes with a little low-sodium broth to create a version that would be both delicious and safe for your dog.

If you want your pup to get the added benefit of fiber, leave some of the skins on the potatoes when you mash them, or consider using sweet potatoes to provide some additional nutrients, too. As always, these kinds of treats and snacks should be kept to a minimum to ensure your dog gets the bulk of their diet from a complete and balanced dog food that meets their nutritional needs. Also, introducing new foods to your pup can sometimes lead to digestive upset so start with just a taste and make sure your dog tolerates it. 

Are mashed potatoes completely safe for dogs?

Unfortunately, most mashed potato recipes are not appropriate for dogs. All of the high-fat components combined with possible toxic ingredients like garlic and/or chives makes this a recipe for a sick pup in most cases. If your dog gets a lick or two of mashed potatoes, they likely will be fine, but you should not share these dishes with them intentionally.

If your dog gets into a large amount of mashed potatoes, especially if it contains toxic ingredients, be sure to contact your vet and a pet poison hotline right away. And if you do really want to share some mashed potatoes with your pup, be sure to set aside a portion of plain potatoes that you can mash up without any other ingredients for them. 

The bottom line: Can dogs eat human food?

There are many human foods that dogs can eat, and if you check out the ingredients in most dog foods, you will see many of the same foods you eat are included in their diets. The difference is that dog foods are carefully balanced to provide all of the nutrients dogs need at their specific life stage.

While you can share small treats and table scraps with your pup, provided they are safe for dogs, you don’t want them to fill up on those foods and miss out on the nutrients they really need. Also, keep in mind your dog’s total caloric intake for the day and try to keep treats and snacks to less than 10 percent of that total. Weight gain in dogs can lead to health problems, so avoid overfeeding your pup and make sure they are getting plenty of exercise each day. 

Other foods that are safe for dogs

Other foods that are dangerous

FAQs (People also ask):

How much mashed potato can a dog eat? 

Dogs should not eat mashed potatoes if they contain lots of high-fat dairy or potential toxins like garlic or chives.

Is it OK to give dogs mashed potatoes?

It is important to check the recipe before sharing this food with your dog; dishes that contain high-fat dairy or ingredients like garlic or chives are not safe for dogs.

Why do dogs like mashed potatoes?

Dogs may be attracted to the taste and smell, especially if there are lots of high-fat ingredients in the dish like butter or cheese.

Are potatoes safe for dogs?

In small amounts, plain cooked potatoes are a safe food for dogs.


Amy Fox

Dr. Amy Fox, DVM

Amy Fox, DVM is a small animal veterinarian in New York City. A lifelong animal lover, Dr. Fox studied biology in college and then worked as a veterinary nurse before pursuing veterinary school at Cornell University.  She has worked in many different settings including shelter medicine, emergency medicine, general practice, and animal cruelty and forensics. She is especially interested in nutrition, preventative medicine and care for senior pets. Dr. Fox also enjoys writing about veterinary medicine and teaching. In her free time she loves to cook, garden, and go for long runs. 

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