Our loyalist companions in life are deserving of the best! Enriching your dog’s diet with extra supplements and vegetables, like sweet potatoes, can go a long way in providing health benefits and nutritional value. As a dog owner, you know that the standard dog food regime of dry kibble seems pretty boring and maybe isn’t the best.
In addition to a base of dog food, dogs can really benefit from including small amounts of certain types of foods in their regular meals. This is a great way of getting more bark for your bite and improving your dog’s dinner and health in the same go.
First thing’s first…what is a sweet potato?
What Exactly Is A Sweet Potato?
A sweet potato is a starchy root vegetable. It comes in different shades, most commonly orange-fleshed. People might recognize it from the produce section of the store or their holiday casseroles. Just like us, dogs eat sweet things too! Most dogs really enjoy sweet potato as a treat or addition to their meal.
Sweet potatoes were originally introduced to Europe in 1492 after Christopher Columbus brought them back from Central America. Now, they’re a world wide superfood. For dogs and humans alike. And they provide more nutrition than you might think!
Is a yam the same thing as a sweet potato? They are different vegetables. Both sweet potatoes and yams are fine to feed dogs and offer good sources of nutrition. Your dog won’t care about the difference. Dogs eat sweet potatoes and yams alike!
Can I feed my dog white potatoes? You can, but a sweet potato has a higher nutritional value than a regular white potato. It’s a better source of vitamins and minerals and the superior potato to add to your dog dish.
Sweet Potato Nutrition
She’s your best friend, and you want to make sure you feed your dog the best of the best! Sweet potatoes can make a fantastic addition to your dog’s diet. Your dogs sweet, her dinner might as well be too! Sweet potatoes not only add variety to dog foods, they also add powerful antioxidant additions and are a good source of vitamins and minerals.
The author of the Ultimate Pet Health Guide, and 2019 Holistic Practitioner of the Year, Dr. Gary Richter, states “the closer to fresh, whole food diets you feed, the healthier your dog is likely to be”. Whole plant-based foods like potatoes! Dr. Richter’ s website is full of helpful information, tips, stories, and more to help you learn about the best way to take care of your dog. Add your email address to his newsletter to stay up to date on all things dogs.
The benefits of adding sweet potato to your dog’s food are plentiful. Sweet potatoes are high in important health promoting elements like Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, calcium potassium, and iron.
Let’s further explore some of these nutritional heavy-hitters and how they impact your dog and their health.
An essential part of your dog’s diet is Vitamin A. It’s responsible for supporting a magnitude of body functions, like vision and bone growth. It also does a lot to manage your dog’s immune response when faced with bacteria or virus threats. Aside from internal functions, Vitamin A also ensures your dog’s coat and skin stay healthy. It’s especially important for young and growing dogs.
They are low in fat and high in antioxidants like beta carotene. A precursor to vitamin A, beta carotene converts into this vitamin to help protect your dog’s body from free radicals and supports the immune system. It works hand in hand (or paw in paw) with vitamin E to get this job done. It’s also responsible for giving a sweet potato it’s orange color and can protect against heart disease.
Potassium is an important mineral to maintain proper fluid balance in your dog s body. It also functions to aid in nerve transmissions and proper muscle function.
High in fiber, sweet potatoes are good for digestive health. Due to their high amount of dietary fiber, they are excellent intestinal tract regulators. Fiber is a very important addition to your dog’s diet and only originates from plant-based foods like potatoes. People might not think of fiber being good for dogs, but it’s imperative in aiding with digestion, helping manage weight, and improving diabetes!
Dogs with Health Problems
It’s important to consider your dog’s healthy before making additions to their diet. If you want to give your dog that has health issues anything extra in their food, make sure you discuss it with your vet.
For dogs with diabetes, it’s important that you only give them small amount of sweet potatoes, due to their high glycemic index. Foods in the high glycemic index category can can cause blood sugar problems. Though the fiber found in foods like potatoes can help improve dogs ability to manage blood sugar levels, more is not always better. Moderation is key!
If your dog has a Vitamin A deficiency, their skin quality will not be ideal. You might also notice that your dog is struggling with night blindness, as Vitamin A is an important component of healthy vision. Aside from speaking to your vet about a Vitamin A supplement, discuss the possibility of adding sweet potato as well.
How do I feed my dog sweet potatoes?
Firstly, never feed your dog raw sweet potatoes! Cooked sweet potatoes are the only appropriate version to add to your dog’s diet. Raw sweet potato can be toxic to a dog and cause digestive upset. Potato chips are not a good source of nutrition for your dog and should not be given to them.
The best way to add sweet potato to your dog’s food is to steam or boil it. Remove the potato skins before adding to your dog’s food. You can work this into the consistency of mashed potatoes for easy chomping. For other creative ways to feed sweet potatoes to your dog, consider visiting specialty markets for dogs to find things like sweet potato chews or dog treats.
You can also make a batch of dog cookies with sweet potatoes! They might not taste super sweet to you, but dogs love them. These homemade dog treats not only taste good to your pup, they also bring in all that nutritional power mentioned above, like Vitamin C and beta carotene!
Always add supplements to dog foods in moderation. It’s possible to have too much of something, even sweet potatoes. If you start to notice muscle weakness, this can be due to an overload of vitamin A from eating too much sweet potato.
As an animal lover, your dog means the world to you and more. You’re doing a great job taking care of him! By reading this post, you learned a lot about the benefits that sweet potatoes can offer your dog. In fact, you both might benefit from adding more sweet potatoes to your diets! With massive health benefits, tons of nutrition and flavor, they are a powerful health food. So, try the tips mentioned above and add some sweet potatoes to your dog’s dinner bowl tonight.