Can Dogs Eat Potato Skins? Here’s What You Need to Know

Last Updated on July, 2024

Your dog just swiped a few potato peels off the trash can and is munching it down in his favorite corner. Or maybe he’s feasting on the potato skin fries you made for yourself.

Before you go into your full-blown panic mode and rush to the vet, take a second and read on for the actual verdict on potato skins.

Quick Summary

YES!!! Dogs can eat potato skins in small amounts but only if boiled or cooked thoroughly.

Potato skins contain both nutritional benefits and potential health risks.

It is important to avoid giving dogs raw potato skins and to opt for unseasoned and properly cooked potatoes in moderation.

Can Dogs Eat Potato Skins?

potato kept on a dog food bowl

Dogs can eat potato skins in small amounts sparingly but only if boiled or cooked thoroughly. Do not include potato skins as a part of your dog’s daily diet or as dog treats because high quantities daily can lead to specific health issues. 

We’ll explain these limitations step by step.

Nutritional Content of Potato Skins

Are potatoes and potato peels good for your furry friend?

Generally speaking, yes, it is.

Cooked potatoes are on the list of human foods you can give your pet because they don’t carry any imminent health risks, but only if served unseasoned and cooked thoroughly.

Potatoes and Potato peels contain impressive nutritional components like Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium. That’s a whole lot of vitamins and minerals.

Then what’s all the controversy about?

Potato peels also contain a massive amount of carbohydrates. 

What’s important to keep in mind is that your furry friend has evolved from wolf ancestors a pretty long time ago (almost 11,000 years). So, although they have evolved to be compatible with their human companions’ starch and grain-rich diets, their genes are still hardwired to thrive in diets rich in protein and fat. (1, 2)

Potatoes and potato skins, while being rich in carbs, do not have a considerable percentage of fat or proteins. This is why it shouldn’t make up much of your pet’s diet.

There are other foods you can opt for that have all the vitamins and minerals from potato skins but are simultaneously high in protein and fat. Organ meats, fermented food, bone broths, and milk are some nutritious dog food.

Another point that pet parents should be mindful of is the presence of oxalates in potato peels. 

Oxalates are harmful chemicals that bind with calcium in the blood to form calcium oxalate. This reduces your dog’s calcium levels.

Also, calcium oxalates can lead to kidney stones. These dangerous conditions are caused only if oxalates are taken in high concentrations. 

Can Dogs Eat Raw Potato Skins?

Cooked skins are acceptable in moderation, but raw potato skins should be completely off-limits for your dog’s diet.

Raw potatoes contain a toxic compound called solanine, the same poison found in the Nightshade plant.

There are especially high solanine concentrations in any green-colored areas on the potato peels or sprouting areas. 

Acetylcholine is a compound required for the functioning of your dog’s nervous system.

Raw Potato Skins kept on a food bowl

Solanine prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine, causing it to build up to toxic levels inside organs like the liver. It also affects the normal functioning of your dog’s nervous system. 

In addition to solanine, raw potato skin contains another toxic chemical called chaconine. Chaconine can irritate the digestive system, cause tremors, and affect the function of the kidneys.

The risk of poisoning in your dog from eating raw potato peels depends on several factors: your dog’s overall health, age, and size, the amount of peels consumed, and the levels of solanine and chaconine present in those peels. 

Generally, the toxic range of green potato peels is within the range of 0.1 to 1% of the dog’s body weight.

Common symptoms of poisoning by green, raw potato skin include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Heart arrhythmia (Irregular heart rate)

That being said, there is absolutely no need to rush to the vet if your dog sneaked a few potato skins off the counter.

A few skins can’t do much harm. If you are worried, just watch your pet for any unusual symptoms or signs of digestive issues before contacting a professional.

Also, take special care if your dog is diabetic. Potatoes, in general, cause blood sugar spikes in dogs with diabetes. In contrast, raw potato peels can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar. So, if your dog is diabetic, avoid potatoes altogether. 

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potato Skins?

Cooked Sweet potatoes, also called red potatoes, are entirely safe for your dog.

Sweet potato peels can even be eaten raw because they do not contain solanine.

But cooking is recommended because it makes it easier for your pet to digest it and prevents any choking hazards.

Not only is it safe to eat, but sweet potato skins are quite nutritious because they contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.

Sweet potato skins kept on a dog food bowl

Can Dogs Eat Seasoned Potato Skins?

Any potato dish (mashed/boiled/baked potato) or potato peels you give your dog should be cooked and completely unseasoned. 

Your favorite seasonings, like onion powder and garlic powder, are poisonous to your pup and can lead to anemia (reduced oxygen levels). 

Adding salt is another NO. Salt disrupts their sodium balance and can lead to dehydration if given in large amounts.

What looks like a pinch of salt for us is a considerable amount for your furry friend, especially if he is small. 

What are the Possible Health Conditions Caused by Potato Skins?

As mentioned above, oxalates in potato peels can lead to kidney problems. Solanine poisoning is also possible if large quantities of green potato peels are consumed.

Problems with the digestive system, nervous system, and cardiovascular system and even death can result in extreme cases.

In addition, research by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) points to a possible link between increased potato/potato skin consumption and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (A heart condition where the heart cannot generate enough pressure to pump blood). 

A dog feeling sad and lying in the floor

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?

Potatoes are generally safe for dogs if cooked thoroughly and unseasoned. They are even included in some dog food brands.

When giving your dog potatoes, it is better to peel the skin off. Yes, cooked skins are safe in small quantities, but peeling the potatoes makes it easier for your pet to digest them and removes any pesticides/ chemicals/ preservatives on the skin.

Other guides and tools you might need when training your dog:

Final Thoughts

While potato skins can be included in your dog’s diet in small, cooked amounts, they should not be a regular feature due to their high carbohydrate content and potential health risks. 

Always opt for cooked, unseasoned potatoes and avoid raw skins, especially if they’re green or sprouting. Remember, moderation and careful preparation are key to keeping your furry friend healthy and happy.

If you’re amused by the thought of dogs contemplating the culinary delights of potato skins, you’ll get a kick out of our other intriguing reads: “Can Dogs Eat Frosting?” (because who hasn’t wondered about dogs at a birthday party) and “Why Do Dogs Eat Their Puppies?” (a bit less cute, but equally fascinating).

FAQs

Yes, plain mashed potatoes are safe for your dog. However, it is important to avoid adding dairy products, such as milk, butter, or cheese, as most dogs are lactose intolerant. It is also recommended to avoid adding oil, salt, or any seasoning.

Yes, your dog can eat boiled potatoes if they are fully cooked and free of seasoning.

Yes, dogs can have allergies to potatoes. You may notice symptoms such as hair loss, ear infections, paw biting, and diarrhea. It is best to consult your veterinarian to confirm any potential allergies.

Yes, dogs can consume cooked potato skins in moderate quantities. However, excessive consumption may result in kidney issues due to a substance known as oxalate.

Was this article helpful?

User Avatar
Author
Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

Leave a Comment