Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes?

Mashed potatoes is a popular tasty dish made out of boiled potatoes. If you have prepared too much mashed potatoes, then you might want to feed some to your dog, but that raises a question: can dogs eat mashed potatoes? Or is this dish best kept away from your dog?

Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes? The Quick Answer!

The quick answer would be yes, mashed potatoes are safe for dogs to eat in small amounts. Feeding your dog a large amount of this dish, though, is not recommended. Some of the popular ingredients of mashed potatoes like milk and butter can cause problems for a dog, but plain mashed potatoes are safe as an occasional treat.

Mashed potatoes also wouldn’t provide your dog all the nutrients he or she needs, so it’s best if you wouldn’t let your dog fill up on mashed potatoes.

Problematic Ingredients for Dogs

Butter and Milk

A lot of people like to use butter and milk to make mashed potatoes. These two ingredients add texture and taste to the mashed potatoes. However, if you plan on sharing your mashed potatoes with your canine friend, then it’s best to leave butter and milk out.

Can dogs eat mashed potatoes?The problem with butter and milk is that they are both dairy products, and most dogs cannot properly digest dairy products. If you only give your dog a very small amount of mashed potatoes, then it might be fine, but feeding your dog a large amount of mashed potatoes containing butter and milk is very likely to cause diarrhea.

You can, however, cook mashed potatoes without butter and milk as well. The taste and texture might not be the same, but if you’d add a little bit of carrots, then it would still taste just wonderful. Leaving out the butter and milk and adding carrots would also make the mashed potatoes a healthier dish for both you and your doggy.

Gravy and Sour Cream

Gravy and sour cream are popular toppings for mashed potatoes. If you usually eat mashed potatoes with gravy or sour cream, then you might want to give your dog mashed potatoes with these toppings as well. However, can dogs eat mashed potatoes with gravy or sour cream?

Can dogs eat mashed potatoes with gravy?Unfortunately, the answer is no, both gravy and sour cream are not okay for dogs.

The main problem with gravy is that it’s very high in sodium. A medium sized dog should not consume more than 100 milligrams of sodium in a day[1], but as little as one or two tablespoons of gravy already contain more.

It’s best to avoid feeding your dog all sodium-rich foods. Having too much sodium in his or her diet will make your dog excessively thirsty, which might sound like a light symptom, but it’s not. If your dog has too much sodium in his or her body, the kidneys will have to work extra hard to rid the body of the excess sodium. This can be very bad for the kidneys and may even cause an injury[2].

The problem with sour cream for dogs is the same as with butter and milk. Sour cream too is a dairy product and because of that it can upset your dog’s stomach and cause diarrhea.

Garlic

mashed-potatoes-garlic-dangerousA lot of mashed potatoes recipes contain garlic. If you used garlic in your mashed potatoes, then it’s best if you wouldn’t share it with your pooch. Because, as I’m sure you know, garlic is toxic to dogs. A very small amount of garlic might not be dangerous to dogs, but it’s best not to take any risks when it comes to the safety of your dog.

Are Mashed Potatoes Good for Dogs?

So, dogs should not be fed mashed potatoes with milk, butter, sour cream or gravy, but are plain mashed potatoes just okay or good for our four-legged best friends?

Yes, plain mashed potatoes can be good for our canine friends. Plain mashed potatoes can provide dogs with many valuable nutrients like dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B-6 and vitamin A.

However, while potatoes contain a lot of valuable nutrients, they are rich in carbohydrates and lack protein, which is far from ideal for dogs as they need quite a lot of protein to be healthy.

Because of that, mashed potatoes should only be treated as an occasional treat for your dog, not as the main meal. Your dog’s main meal should be something more protein rich.

Conclusion on Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes

It’s okay to share some plain mashed potatoes with your dog from time to time. Just keep in mind to leave out any dangerous ingredients like butter and milk. Also, if you plan on sharing mashed potatoes with your dog, then don’t use a lot of salt while cooking the dish.

References:

  1. Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs: A Science-Based Guide for Pet Owners.” Washington: National Academies, 2006. Web. 27 Sept. 2016
  2. Salt and Dogs, Salt and Cats – Salt Poisoning in Dogs and Cats.” Pet Poison Helpline. Web. 27 Sept. 2016

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