Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?

Julia Henriques
can dogs eat potatoes

Potatoes have been a staple in human diets for centuries. These starchy tubers are versatile, delicious and popular as a side or even main dish for people.  

But what if your canine companion gives you those puppy eyes when you're dishing up some spuds? Should you share, or are potatoes off the menu for dogs?

Here’s what you need to know about the question, can dogs eat potatoes?

In theory, they can ... but they're not ideal, for several reasons.

Are Potatoes Good For Dogs?

No. There’s no good reason for dogs to eat potatoes … or any other starchy carbohydrates. 

Potatoes are an ingredient in many dog foods, and manufacturers will claim that dogs can digest carbohydrates like potatoes.

But in the wild, dogs wouldn't eat potatoes. They’d live on prey, and sometimes they’d eat fruit and grasses. But not potatoes … and as you’ll see later, raw potatoes are especially bad for dogs. 

Nutrition In Potatoes

Potatoes contain a good amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and B6, iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium. 

They tend to be an overlooked source of vitamin C. The vitamin C content of a medium potato is about 27 mg – or 45% of the recommended daily value for humans. This vitamin C content made potatoes life-saving foods in early times because they prevented scurvy.

Vitamin B6  is crucial for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, which facilitates brain and nerve function. 

The minerals in potatoes can also be beneficial … 

  • Iron helps transport oxygen in the blood.
  • Potassium helps maintain proper electrolyte balance
  • Magnesium is key for bone health and assists with muscle contractions

However, potatoes have high levels of carbohydrates that can lead to weight gain and high blood sugar levels. So, if you must feed potatoes, do so only occasionally.

And potatoes contain substances that can be harmful to your dog. 


Potatoes and other nightshades (peppers, eggplant and tomatoes) contain solanine. It’s a glycoalkaloid – a natural pesticide that nightshades produce to protect them from fungus. In extreme cases, large amounts of solanine can cause toxicity.

Signs of solanine poisoning include muscle weakness, lethargy, gastrointestinal problems and even difficulty breathing. It could also lead to heart problems, and serious cases can affect the central nervous system. 

Some people who eat nightshades find that they can aggravate arthritis symptoms. So if you have a dog with joint problems, definitely don’t feed any nightshade veggies. Others experience digestive problems when they eat nightshades.

There are higher levels of solanine in potatoes with green skin, raw potatoes, potato skins, and the greens and stalks of the potato plant. So your dog should never eat an uncooked potato or potatoes with green skins. Thorough cooking does reduce the solanine toxicity level. 

Oxalic Acid

Oxalic acid can also be a problem in potatoes. It’s an organic acid that can bind calcium and other minerals, making them insoluble and lowering bioavailability. High amounts of oxalates can cause reduced bone growth, kidney stones and kidney toxicity, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma and impaired blood clotting.

Genetically Modified Crop

Another problem with potatoes is that, if not organic, potato crops are often genetically modified. They also can be high in pesticide or herbicide residues as well. In prior years, potatoes have been on the EWG's "DIrty Dozen" list of foods high in pesticides. As of 2023, they are not in the top 10, however.

There are limited safety studies on genetically modified crops, especially when it comes to long term use. But they have fewer nutrients than non-GMO foods. Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers pose a significant health risk. Studies have found that people who eat more organic foods have lower urinary pesticide levels, improved fertility, reduced incidence of lymphoma, and reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.

So if you do want to give your dog potatoes, buy organic whenever possible to avoid these risks. 

RELATED: How to avoid glyphosate exposure for your dog … 

Diabetes Risk

Potatoes, like other starchy carbohydrates, can also cause blood sugar and insulin spikes that over time can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Insulin resistance also increases the risk of thyroid disease and some types of cancer. It can also cause weight gain. If you have a diabetic dog, it’s best to avoid all starchy carbohydrates. 

RELATED: Why starch is bad for dogs … 

How To Feed Potatoes To Dogs

If you do want to feed some potatoes to your dog, here’s how to do it safely:

  • Choose organic to avoid GMOs and herbicides
  • If you’re feeding the skin, wash potatoes thoroughly 
  • Serve boiled, steamed or baked. Avoid giving your dog potatoes with added seasonings, as many spices and seasonings can be harmful to them. 
  • Avoid potato dishes with dairy like milk, cream or cheese, as some dogs don’t tolerate lactose well. 

Again, we don’t recommend potatoes as a regular part of your dog’s meals, but only as an occasional treat.  

Here are the answers to some other questions we get about potatoes. 

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, dogs can eat sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are healthier than their white counterparts. They're rich in beta-carotene, which promotes good vision, growth, and muscle strength. They’re also high in fiber, and many dog owners feed sweet potatoes as an alternative to pumpkin to support digestive health.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Sweet Potatoes?
While sweet potatoes are generally healthier, it's still safest to cook them before serving to your dog. Raw sweet potatoes can be tough on a dog's digestive system, so it's best to bake, steam or boil them to make them softer and easier to digest.

Can Dogs Eat Potato Skins?
Potato skins can contain higher concentrations of solanine, especially if they have any green patches on them. So while the skins add nutrients and fiber, don’t feed skins if you see any green on the skins. 

Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes?
No. Raw potato and undercooked potato can be indigestible and even toxic to dogs. Uncooked potatoes are also higher in solanine than cooked. 

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Potatoes?
Dogs can eat cooked potatoes …but ideally not as part of the regular diet, due to concerns listed earlier. 

Sweet Potato Or Potato For Dogs? Which Is Better?
Lastly, we have to address the age-old debate of sweet potato vs potato for dogs.

  • Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, dietary fiber, and antioxidants, providing benefits for vision, growth, and overall immune health. 
  • Sweet potatoes are low in pesticide residues, and are on the EWG's "Clean Fifteen" list of foods with the lowest levels.
  • White potatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6 and vitamin C. (However, it's worth noting that dogs make their own vitamin C and don't really need it as an added nutrient).
  • White potatoes are often genetically modifed and are known to be high in pesticide residues.

As suggested earlier, sweet potatoes do edge out white potatoes in terms of overall health benefits for dogs. They are still starchy, and should be avoided for diabetic dogs, but they do have a lower glycemic index. This means they raise blood sugar levels more slowly and steadily compared to white potatoes. 

So, if you want to give your dog a starchy vegetable, choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes. They're a much healthier choice for your dog.

Older Posts

Find us in a store near you.

Shop your favorite Four Leaf Rover products online or find at your local retailer.
Find Us

Never miss out.

Join us for exclusive offers, new product releases & more!
Check out our Privacy Policy. Your email is safe with us and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Need help? Chat with us.

Need more information? Have a concern? No problem. We're here to help.
© 2024, Four Leaf Rover - The content on this website is not meant to replace veterinary advice. Please support the hard working holistic vets who make this information possible. To find a holistic or homeopathic vet near you or to find one who will do phone consultations, visit The Academy Of Veterinary Homeopathy.