Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes? Read the Risks Before You Dish

If you’ve ever experienced the heart-melting gaze of your dog while you savor a plate of steamy mashed potatoes, you’re not alone. I know I’ve been there more than a few times.

The temptation to share a small portion with your dog can be strong. But before you reach for that spoon, consider the potential risks. 

Can dogs eat mashed potatoes without any adverse effects?

Here’s the scoop:

  • What are the safety issues when feeding mashed potatoes to dogs.
  • Some potential health issues associated with your dog eating mashed potatoes.
  • Valuable advice on feeding potatoes to your dog the right way.
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can dogs eat mashed potato

Can Dogs Eat Mashed Potatoes?

Yes, dogs can eat mashed potatoes as long as they are cooked plain, without any additional seasonings. 

Mashed potatoes usually contain other additives to make them flavorful. Especially if you order them from a restaurant.

This delicious treat can have butter, milk, cheese, garlic, onion or a variety of seasonings mixed in. A lot of these ingredients are harmful to dogs.

This is why I usually avoid mashed potato takeout and just make it at home. I make it for my dogs without the butter (you can substitute it with coconut oil), garlic and onion. 

It’s a lot more time-consuming but worth it. 

Pro tip: if you don’t have time to boil the potatoes, just peel and chop them, put them in a microwave safe dish with a splash of water, and heat for a few minutes (time will vary depending on your microwave and potato quantity). 

The potatoes should be soft enough to mash. If they’re not, put them in for another minute and check again. 

Why Can’t Dogs Have Mashed Potatoes

Dogs can’t have seasoned mashed potatoes because they contain ingredients that are harmful to them. 

Mashed potatoes are usually made with butter, cheese, garlic, or onion to make them more flavorful. Here’s why those ingredients could be harmful for your dog:

  • Butter: Butter is high in fat, which can lead to digestive issues like diarrhea or an upset stomach in dogs. Dogs are prone to developing pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas and high-fat foods can trigger pancreatitis in susceptible dogs.
  • Milk: While milk is not toxic to dogs, many adult dogs are lactose intolerant, meaning they lack the necessary enzymes to break down lactose, a sugar present in milk. Feeding milk to lactose-intolerant dogs can result in gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
  • Cheese: Cheese is also generally high in fat, which can contribute to weight gain and digestive issues in dogs if consumed in excess. Cheese contains less lactose than milk, so some dogs may tolerate it better than other dairy products. However, if your dog is lactose intolerant, feeding cheese can still lead to gastrointestinal upset.
  • Garlic and onion: Garlic and onion contain compounds that can damage a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. These ingredients should be avoided, as they can be toxic to dogs in even small amounts.
  • Salt and pepper: When used in moderation, salt and pepper are generally considered safe for dogs. But be aware that excessive salt intake can be harmful. High levels of salt can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and potentially cause or exacerbate heart and kidney problems. And pepper can cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some dogs if they eat too much. It’s best to use pepper sparingly and avoid adding it directly to your dog’s food unless specifically recommended by a veterinarian.

What Happens if My Dog Eats Mashed Potatoes?

What happens if my dog eats mashed potatoes

If your dog eats only a spoonful of seasoned mashed potato, it should not be a cause for concern. 

However, if your dog eats a whole bowl, or an entire serving of mashed potato, you should monitor them for signs of gastrointestinal upset. 

Most of these ingredients can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. So, if your dog accidentally ate mashed potatoes with these ingredients, look out for these symptoms:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • abdominal pain
  • lethargy
  • dehydration
  • and excessive pain.

Allergies and sensitivities to the ingredients I mentioned above should also be taken into consideration. If you know your dog is allergic to milk, butter, cheese, or anything else in your mashed potatoes, then call your vet immediately. 

Mashed potatoes that are premade from restaurants and supermarkets can also have added salt to make it more flavorful, so keep an eye out for signs of sodium poisoning:

  • excessive thirst
  • increased urination 
  • dehydration 
  • vomiting 
  • diarrhea 
  • tremors 
  • and seizures.

Remember, dogs have different levels of tolerance to salt. Some may be more sensitive to high levels of salt, while others may handle it better. 

If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog ate mashed potatoes give your vet a call and monitor your dog closely.

Learn how to tell if your dog is sick.

How Much Mashed Potatoes Can a Dog Eat?

Mashed potatoes should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. 

The amount of mashed potatoes your dog can eat will depend on their age, size, activity level, and their individual tolerance to starchy foods.

A spoon or two of plain mashed potatoes is unlikely to harm your dog. But mashed potatoes should not be a substitute for a balanced and complete diet for your pup.

A good rule of thumb is to offer a small amount of mashed potatoes as an occasional treat or as a topper to your dog’s regular food.

A small serving, a tablespoon or less, is enough for a small dog, while larger dogs may be able to tolerate a bit more.

Can a Sick Dog Eat Mashed Potatoes?

This depends on the specific health issue your dog may be experiencing. In general, feeding your sick dog human food is not recommended.

If your dog is experiencing an upset stomach you can feed them plain mashed potatoes in small amounts.

Plain mashed boiled potatoes can help settle their stomachs, along with other bland food like boiled chicken, white rice, pumpkin, and boiled egg. 

If they’re experiencing a more severe health issue like kidney disease or pancreatitis, mashed potato can be harmful and even life-threatening. 

That is because these conditions often require a specific diet recommended by a vet. And feeding your furbaby anything outside the recommended diet can lead to further complications. 

In any case, we always recommend consulting with your vet before feeding them any human food. Especially if your dog is sick. 

The Different Types of Mashed Potatoes

There are many different types of mashed potatoes, and they can vary based on the ingredients and preparation method. 

Here are some common types of mashed potatoes:

  • Classic Mashed Potatoes: With butter, milk, salt, and pepper – not safe for dogs.
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes: With roasted garlic as well as butter and milk – not safe for dogs. 
  • Loaded Mashed Potatoes: Made with various toppings and mix-ins, such as bacon, cheese, chives, and sour cream – also not safe for dogs. 

Can Dogs Eat Instant Mashed Potatoes?

No, dogs can’t instant mashed potatoes. 

These are typically made from dehydrated potatoes that have been processed and mixed with various additives, such as salt, preservatives, and flavorings. 

They are not suitable for dogs.

Learn whether or not potato skins are good for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Boiled Mashed Potatoes?

Yes. If you want to treat your dog to a small treat of mashed potatoes, stick to plain, boiled potatoes.

Like I mentioned earlier, it’s best to feed your dogs mashed potatoes that are cooked at home. This way, you are in control of the ingredients and can make it safe for your dog to eat.

Given in moderation, plain, mashed potatoes can have a lot of health benefits to your dog, including:

  • Excellent digestive health: boiled potatoes can be a good source of fiber for your dog. This can help regulate their digestive system and prevent constipation. Potatoes also contain resistant starch, which can help promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. 
  • Great source of nutrients: potatoes are also a great source of nutrients, including potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 which can support your dog’s overall health and well-being.

How to Give Your Dog Mashed Potatoes

There are plenty of different ways to give your dog plain, unseasoned mashed potato. But here’s what I recommend:

  1. Start by peeling and cutting your potatoes.
  2. Boil the potatoes until soft. Or microwave if preferred. 
  3. Then mash them up without any added seasonings, butter, or other ingredients.
  4. Allow the mashed potatoes to cool to room temperature to avoid causing burns or discomfort for your pup.
  5. Feed your dog a small amount of mashed potatoes to start with, around one to two tablespoons, and watch for any signs of digestive issues.
  6. If your dog shows no negative reaction, you can gradually increase the serving size over time. 

Keep plain mashed potatoes as an occasional treat or reward for good behavior, rather than a regular part of their diet.

Alternatives to Mashed Potatoes for Dogs

mashed potato alternatives for dogs

There are plenty of other healthy treats and snacks that can be given in moderation, aside from mashed potatoes.

Usually, whenever I make mashed potatoes for my dogs, I try to add other vegetables instead of butter, milk, and cheese.

Here’s a list of vegetables I boil and add to mashed potatoes:

  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • and peas.

Now, onto the alternatives:

  • Carrots: Carrots are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a healthy treat option for dogs. They are also a good source of beta-carotene, which can help support eye health.
  • Apples: Apples are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and fiber. Just be sure to remove the seeds and core, as these can be harmful to dogs.
  • Green Beans: Green beans are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a good option for dogs that need to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Plain, boiled sweet potatoes can be a healthy treat option for dogs. They are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Dog-Specific Treats: There are many dog-specific treats and snacks available that are formulated to meet a dog’s nutritional needs. Be sure to choose high-quality, reputable brands and read ingredient labels carefully.

With that said, here are some of our favorite vegetable dog treats you can give to your furry pooch.

Wholesome Pride Sweet Potato Chews 100% All-Natural Single Ingredient

These Sweet Potato treats are made from 100% all-natural ingredients. That means it’s non-GMO, grain-free, and 100% vegan.

Wholesome Pride uses 100% real ingredients in their treats and works with farmers in the US and around the world to sustainably source and produce their products. 

They don’t contain any artificial or unnatural preservatives, artificial colors, or fillers, which makes them a good choice for dogs with sensitive bellies or food allergies.

Halo Garden of Vegan Dog Treats

If you’re looking for a high-quality, vegan treat option for your dog that supports sustainable practices, the Halo Garden of Vegan Grain-Free Dog Treats are a great option.

These treats are made with premium, natural ingredients with a delicious blend of protein-rich, non-GMO fruits and veggies, providing a naturally balanced snack that is free from cereals, gluten, and dairy. 

They don’t have any added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, making them an excellent choice for dogs with ingredient sensitivities or for pet parents maintaining a plant-based lifestyle.

Your furry pooch will love the aroma and crunchy texture of the Peanut AND’ Pumpkin recipe, making this biscuit the perfect treat for training and rewarding them.

Purina Beneful Baked Delights Snackers

The Purina Beneful Baked Delights Snackers with Peanut Butter Flavor dog treats are another excellent choice.

These treats are oven-baked to perfection to give them a crispy texture and are loaded with peanut butter and cheese flavors that your furbaby will love.

With a soft center and accents of apples, carrots, and peas, these snacks are a perfect between-meal treat or a reward for good behavior. 

The colorful shapes of fruits and vegetables make snacking fun and enjoyable.

At the end of the day, it’s best to choose healthier alternatives like plain boiled potatoes, carrots, or dog treats made with natural ingredients. 

It’s essential to provide your furry friend with a balanced and complete diet to maintain their health and well-being. 

With the right nutrition and treats, you can ensure that your dog lives a long and happy life.

Before you go, you might want to know whether your dog can eat potato chips.