Dogs can be just as much work as people when it comes to feeding them the right foods!
Knowing what your dog can and can’t eat is one of the most important things about being a dog owner. Although you can’t watch what your dog eatsall the time, you’re the one in charge of his meals and snacks. Even the most careful dog owner can unknowingly feed their precious companion a particular food that they think is okay, but turns out to be a big mistake.
There are, however, lots of whole foods out there that are just as good for dogs as they are for people. And using them to introduce more variety into your dog's diet is a great idea. The trick is to know what’s good and what isn’t.
Sweet potatoes are a sweet, starchy, tuberous root vegetable (but not botanically related to the common potato!). They come in a variety of shapes and colors, including yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige, and we humans love them roasted. But can dogs eat sweet potatoes?
This is a tricky one. In general, sweet potatoes are safe for dogs to eat and many sources recommend them as a good source of energy and nutrients. In fact, sweet potatoes pose similar health benefits for dogs as they do for people.
As a whole food, sweet potatoes are less likely to cause an immune response or damage to the digestive tract. This is why they’re often used as a source of carbohydrate in commercial dog foods.
Research suggests that sweet potatoes harbor anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anticancer properties.
As with any food, moderation is key. The amount of sweet potatoes that are suitable for your dog should come down to his size, activity level, and overall health. Sweet potatoes are very high in carbohydrates, so feeding him too much can quickly lead to weight gain if he isn’t very active.
However, if your dogis highly active and eating a species-appropriate diet (that is, not a kibble diet based on carbohydrates), adding a bit of sweet potato to his meal each day could be just right for helping him maintain a healthy weight. The only other thing to remember is that the high concentration of vitamin A in sweet potatoes may also do more harm than good, so small amounts are still best.
Before starting your dog on sweet potatoes, talk to your veterinarian first to gauge the appropriate amount for your particular dog. In most cases, you’ll be advised to start with a small amount to see how your dog reacts.
The best way to serve your dog sweet potatoes is cooked. Never give him raw sweet potatoes!
Simply steam or boil, then mash up as you would for yourself. In fact, steaming or boiling helps to retain more of the nutrients than roasting or baking. You can then add a little to your dog’s standard meal.
You can even make special dehydrated chews out of sweet potatoes! These make an excellent alternative to rawhide chews and are less likely to cause the digestive blockages or choking that rawhides are associated with.