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Can My Dog Eat This?

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Add it to the list of healthy human superfoods pups can eat, too. Plus a bonus recipe for sweet potato chips.

by Claudia Kawczynska
October 3, 2021
Various Veggie Chips in a Ceramic Blue Bowl
Gabriel Bucataru / Stocksy

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We humans love our sweet potato fries, but can our dogs eat sweet potatoes too? Thankfully for everyone at home — especially the four-legged fry thieves we live with — the answer is yes. These root vegetables are loaded with nutrients, such as the carotenoids, vitamin C and vitamin A, in addition to antioxidants and phytochemicals. They are high in pyridoxine, potassium, fiber and magnesium. They are also good sources of copper, iron and manganese — all essential minerals for dogs that perform myriad functions in cells, from transporting oxygen to assisting in the assembly of proteins. All this, plus they’re low in fat (also music to our human ears).

What’s In A Name?

While sweet potatoes are indeed called “potatoes,” they aren’t related to white potatoes (insert head exploding emoji here). And they do come in many colors besides the more familiar orange. The Japanese sweet potato has a purple skin and yellow flesh, and its flavor is actually sweeter — something that dogs love — than the more popular orange varieties. It also is particularly rich in phytonutrients. Although in the U.S., sweet potatoes are often called yams, the true yam is quite another root vegetable, one with a rough and scaly texture. In supermarkets, the names “sweet potato” and “yam” tend to be used interchangeably.

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How To Add Sweet Potatoes To Your Dog’s Diet

One of the most popular ways to give your dog sweet potatoes is as dehydrated chews. They make a great alternative to rawhide chews — and unlike rawhide, sweet potato chews do not have a reputation for causing digestive blockages and choking. So, they are a lot safer and definitely more nutritious.

Recipe for Sweet Potato Dog Chews

INGREDIENTS

Sweet Potatoes

DIRECTIONS

  1. Thoroughly wash sweet potatoes, peeling them is optional.

  2. Slice the sweet potato into 1/4- inch slices by cutting down the middle lengthwise. If you have a mandolin, this is easy, or a food processor with a slicing blade.

  3. Soak the slices in water for 2 hours, drain, and dry.

  4. Spray the slices lightly with olive oil, this can increase the absorption of beneficial beta-carotene.

  5. Dehydrate at the highest setting, 145-155 degrees, until done. Drying for approximately 6-8 hours (or longer) will leave them with a chewy texture. For crunchier treats, dehydrate longer until the desired consistency.

  6. Store in an air-tight container.

Note: If you don't have a dehydrator, you can also use a stove with its door opened, set it at the lowest temperature, 115 degrees, and place the slices on a rack that will allow air to circulate underneath the sweet potato pieces. Drying can take 20 hours. If set to 145 degrees, it takes 12 hours. Be sure to check often.

Illustration of food bowlDog

Do not give dogs raw sweet potatoes, though; they should always be cooked. Steam and mash them, then add a little to your dog’s normal meal. Steaming or boiling actually maintains more of their nutrients than roasting or baking does. Because they are rich in fiber, introduce sweet potatoes slowly.

Many homemade dog food recipes call for sweet potatoes, including this complete and balanced recipe for Chicken and Vegetables, or this one for homemade kibble. Cooked sweet potatoes are also tasty in a Kong; freeze it so it takes longer for your pup to finish it!

Sweet Potato Chips Dog Treat

Another recipe for sweet potato-based dog treats is this one for easy-to-make sweet potato chips. Simply preheat the oven to 250˚.

  1. Slice whole sweet potatoes into rounds: a 1/4” slice will create a crispier chip, and a 1/2” slice will create a chewier chip.

  2. Place on a foil-lined sheet.

  3. Bake for two hours, turning over once.

  4. Allow to cool on sheet. Store chips in an airtight container.

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Claudia Kawczynska

Claudia Kawczynska was co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Bark for 20 years. She also edited the best-selling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot.