Have you ever wondered can dogs eat sweet potatoes? Well, the answer is a resounding YES! Sweet potatoes aren’t only great for humans they are an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients for our 4-legged friends as well! Cubed and steamed, mashed, or sliced and dehydrated like this simple treat, there are lots of easy ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your dog’s diet.
***Please note, I am not a veterinarian, just a very passionate dog owner who once asked herself, can dogs eat sweet potatoes?! The information in this blog post documents our own personal experiences, research, and the recipes that we feed our dogs under our veterinarian’s careful supervision. Please, consult with your vet and use your own personal judgment when considering transitioning to a 100% human grade food diet for your pup. ***
Devastating News: Kidney Disease
At the end of 2019, during our yearly vet check, we received the devastating news that our 11 year old dog, Hooch’s blood work showed that he was in stage 4 kidney failure! Honestly, I was a basket case, how on earth did we miss this? He seemed like he was just dealing with some symptoms of getting older – frequent urination, sometimes excessive water drinking. It definitely didn’t feel like life threatening symptoms!
As much as the diagnosis was a shock, the price tag of the prescription diet was pretty horrifying too! I immediately started researching and consulting with my vet about changing our dog to a 100% human grade diet. Would food make any difference at all? Honestly, the journey has been remarkable and the rewards have been far greater than we could have ever imagined!
At the time of that visit, the vet estimated we only had 3-6 months left with Hooch. However, the success of all of the dietary and lifestyle changes has kept him here with us for well over a year! Truly he is a different dog. He’s got energy for days (he still sleeps hard) but he runs the yard like he’s a puppy again. We went back for his yearly appointment and his blood level indicators for kidney disease now fall within the normal range! The miracle of real, whole foods never ceases to amaze me!
But, can dogs eat sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are a great treat for all dogs, even those living with kidney disease!
Once we found our groove, there was no going back. But then one day I reached into his treat drawer and realized everything in there was processed in some way. Even the ‘natural’ treats had ingredients that he really shouldn’t have. “Oh my God”, I thought, now I have to figure out how to make homemade dog treats! I didn’t want to unwind all of our progress with some store-bought goodies – even if they were his favorites.
I started googling ingredients – and of course you know what I asked first: Can dogs eat sweet potatoes?
You see, ingredients matter. Dogs with kidney disease need to eliminate as much phosphorous from their diet as possible. Bones, rawhide, organ meats, and jerky; well, they were all OUT! I ordered the only treats I could find that would work. Overpriced 1-ingredient dehydrated sweet potato treats from Amazon. I just couldn’t wrap my head around how a 32-ounce bag of sweet potatoes could cost almost $30!
What about yams? Can I feed yams to my dogs?
I’m about to blow your mind here….The yams you see at your local grocery store across the United States, well they’re actually sweet potatoes!
Although in the United States, sweet potatoes are often called “yams”, they really aren’t yams at all! A true yam is a starchy edible root and is generally imported to America from the Caribbean. It is rough, scaly, and very low in beta carotene. In supermarkets, the names “sweet potato” and “yam” tend to be used interchangeably but trust that this is just a marketing ploy. That sweet, orange-colored root vegetable that you love so dearly is actually a sweet potato. All so-called “yams” in your supermarket are in fact sweet potatoes!
Sweet Potato 101
Now that we have cleared the air and you know that a sweet potato and a “yam” are the same thing here in the U.S. let’s chat briefly about sweet potatoes in general…
While sweet potatoes are called “potatoes,” they aren’t related to white potatoes at all. They come in many colors besides the more familiar orange. Sweet potatoes flesh can vary from white to orange and even purple! The different colors of sweet potato have subtly different flavors and textures ranging from super sweet to rather mild. Funnily enough, Hooch likes the Orange and Rebel prefers purple. If given a choice they stick to their colors almost exclusively. So can dogs eat sweet potatoes? Not only can they eat them – my dogs beg for them.
Sweet Potato Nutrition
The health benefits of sweet potatoes for dogs are enormous!
Dietary Fiber: Sweet potato is one of the best sources of fiber amongst vegetables, and probably the highest of the vegetables your dog will actually want to eat. A single cup of cooked sweet potato contains nearly 6 grams of fiber! Fiber is great for your dog’s digestive health. It will help promote regular, healthy bowel movements, and adding a little extra to their diet can help alleviate occasional constipation and diarrhea.
Beta-Carotene: Beta-Carotene is what gives sweet potatoes their unique orange color, but it does a lot more than just lend them their hue. Beta-Carotene is a potent antioxidant that helps protect against heart disease and can reduce the risks of certain types of cancer. It also converts to vitamin A in your dog’s body. Vitamin A is essential for a dog’s vision, growth, muscle strength, and skin health.
Vitamins: Sweet potatoes are rich in other vitamins that can help a dog’s overall health, including vitamins B6 and C. Just like in humans, vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system.
Minerals: Sweet potatoes contain calcium, potassium, and iron. Each of these minerals contributes to the overall well being of your dog in its own way. Potassium helps to maintain a correct fluid balance in your dog’s body, as well as preserving nerve transmissions and muscle function. Calcium helps to keep a dog’s teeth and bones strong and healthy.
How should I prepare sweet potatoes for my dog?
There are a few ways you can prepare and feed sweet potatoes to your dog. Regardless of how you intend to prepare them it is important to always make sure that the sweet potatoes you feed your pup are cooked thoroughly and that the skin is removed. The skin of the sweet potato is much harder for your dog to digest and adds little to no nutritional value. You should also NEVER feed your dog raw sweet potatoes. Not only are they difficult to chew, but they can upset your dog’s stomach and potentially cause an intestinal blockage.
Dehydrated 1-Ingredient Sweet Potato Dog Treats
One of the most popular ways to give your dog sweet potatoes is as a dehydrated chew like these! 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. There are 2 ways to go about cooking these treats, but both start with peeling the sweet potatoes and making thick slices lengthwise like slabs. A mandolin works great for this, but a knife also works well just watch your fingers! I usually set mine to about 1/4″ so the chews are nice and thick.
Dehydrator Method: I make these treats SO often that we invested in a larger model dehydrator that has lots of shelves for lots of treats. I absolutely LOVE it! I have made these in our smaller dehydrator as well and it worked great, just took a few hours longer. To dehydrate in a dehydrator place the sweet potatoes in an even layer on a dehydrator rack. Make sure that there is room around each sweet potato and they aren’t touching. Dehydrate for 6-8 hours at 125°F ( 52°C) until crisp. You will need to adjust the time more or less based off of how thick you slice the sweet potatoes.
Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 250°F (130°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets and bake for 2 ½ to 3 hours flipping once half way through until they are shrunken, dried out, and some pieces are a bit crispy, while others are a bit chewy. The treats will crisp up a bit more as they cool.
Steamed sweet potato for dogs:
Honestly, one of the best and easiest ways to treat your dog to sweet potatoes is to steam or boil them— do not add any seasonings to though as these aren’t good for our pups. Steaming helps retain more nutritional value than roasting.
- Fill the bottom of a steamer with about 2-3 inches of water.
- Peel a sweet potato and cut into small cubes that are about the same size as kibble.
- When the steamer is ready, add pieces, cover and steam for 7-10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
How many sweet potatoes can my dog eat?
Like with any food, moderation is key. The amount given should be based on a variety of factors, such as your dog’s size, activity level, and overall health. Most importantly, start by giving your dog a small amount. Depending on the size of your dog, start with between a teaspoon and a tablespoon, if incorporating steamed sweet potato into their meals. For our dehydrated sweet potato treats you will want to start small as well and as long as your dog’s tummy responds well you can gradually move up from there. Our dogs both eat 4-5 sweet potato treats a day and LOVE them, they literally start to drool when I walk past the bag!
So there you have it! Basically everything and anything I know or have researched/asked my vet about feeding our dogs sweet potatoes! If you have any questions drop them in the comments box below. I always do my best to respond within a few days.
If you’ve made our dehydrated sweet potato dog treat recipe I would be so grateful if you would rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below!Print
Don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think about our Dehydrated Sweet Potato Dog Treats recipe in the comments below, I just love hearing from you and your reviews/comments really help other people that visit This Mess is Ours!
2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean and peeled
Slice the prepared sweet potatoes into thick slices lengthwise like slabs either with a very share knife or mandolin.
Place the sweet potato slabs/slices in an even layer on a dehydrator rack. Make sure that there is room around each sweet potato and they aren’t touching. Dehydrate for 6-8 hours at 125°F ( 52°C) until crisp. You will need to adjust the time more or less based off of how thick you slice the sweet potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 250°F (130°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets and bake for 2 ½ to 3 hours flipping once half way through until they are shrunken, dried out, and some pieces are a bit crispy, while others are a bit chewy.
Both preparation methods will yield treats that will crisp up a bit more as they cool.
Dehydration time can take anywhere form 4-6 hours or even longer depending on what type of dehydrator you have and how thickly you have sliced the sweet potatoes.
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