I love preparing special, home-cooked meals for my dogs. If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, then you know this is something I’ve been doing for many years. Recently, I added a new item to the menu: mashed sweet potatoes.
When prepared correctly, mashed sweet potatoes make an excellent meal or treat for dogs. Sweet potatoes are perfectly safe for dogs to eat, and they provide many beneficial nutrients. Continue reading to learn more…
Why Mashed Sweet Potatoes?
Before I discuss all the benefits, let me explain why I feed my dogs mashed sweet potatoes, specifically, instead of baked, roasted, etc…
Technically, any kind of cooked sweet potato is safe for dogs to eat, but mashed is by far the easiest for them digest. I also think that whenever you are feeding your dog a high-fiber food, like beans or peas – or in this case, potatoes – you should break down the food as much as possible for them, since dogs aren’t exactly the most thorough chewers.
Sweet Potatoes Are an Excellent Source of Beta-Carotene
Beta-carotene is the antioxidant that gives sweet potatoes their bright orange color. Beta-carotene has been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, as well as lower the risk of heart disease. It is also beneficial to your dog’s bones, skin, vision, and reproductive health.
Like humans, but unlike cats, dogs can convert beta-carotene to vitamin A. This means beta-carotene can prevent and treat vitamin A deficiency, which could lead to symptoms, such as bad skin, poor vision, and abnormal development of bones and teeth.
Sweet Potatoes Are Loaded with Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to vitamin A, sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamins C, B5, and B6. They also provide generous amounts of copper, iron, manganese, and potassium.
Sweet Potatoes Are High in Fiber
When we think of a dog’s diet, fiber probably doesn’t come to mind, but it is important. Having enough fiber in your dog’s diet will ensure they have regular bowel movements. A medium-sized sweet potato – about 2 inches in diameter and 5 inches long – contains approximately 3.8 grams of fiber.
Sweet Potatoes Are a Great Source of Carbohydrates
We tend to think of dogs as carnivores, and therefor think the only macro nutrient they really need is protein, but this isn’t true. Dogs are actually omnivores, and it’s important for them to get enough carbohydrates. Believe it or not, an ideal ratio of carbs, protein, and fat for a dog can consist of up to 50% of calories coming from carbohydrates – more than protein and fat.
A medium sweet potato contains roughly 26.6 grams of carbohydrates.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes Are Easy to Make
One of the reasons I love feeding my dogs mashed sweet potatoes is because they’re so easy to make. They can be ready in as little as 30 minutes, including prep time. I’ll share my recipe with you at the bottom of this post.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes vs. Regular Mashed Potatoes
At this point, you might be wondering if there’s any real difference between feeding your dog mashed sweet potatoes and regular mashed potatoes made from white potatoes. Regular mashed potatoes, in moderation, are also safe for dogs to eat, however, they are much less nutritious.
If my wife or I happen to make regular mashed potatoes for ourselves, I’ll give my dogs a small bit on top of their regular dry dog food, but if I’m making mashed potatoes specifically for my dogs, I always use sweet potatoes.
How to Prepare Mashed Sweet Potatoes for Dogs
I always stress that when preparing food for dogs, it’s typically a bad idea to prepare it the same way you would for people. The foods you feed your dog should be much blander than how we typically like our food. They cannot handle the same amounts of sodium, fat, and spices that we can. This is how I like to make mashed sweet potatoes for my dogs…
Things You’ll Need
- Sweet potatoes
- Heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven with a lid
- Ground turmeric
- Ground cinnamon
- Sea salt (optional)
Peel and chop 1 large sweet potato or 2 medium sweet potatoes. This will make enough for approximately 2 to 5 servings, depending on the size of your dog. You do not have to finely chop the potatoes, large chunks are fine. Peeling the skins is optional, but I recommend it because it will make digestion easier.
Add the potatoes to a pot along with a teaspoon of turmeric, dash of cinnamon, and pinch of sea salt to enhance the flavor. Turmeric and cinnamon are powerful anti-inflammatory spices that also aid in digestion. Once in the pot, pour in just enough water to cover the potatoes.
Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher or fork until the potatoes turn into a thick paste.
Let the mashed potatoes cool to room temperature, then serve,
My two dogs, Maggie and Morty, are 50 and 60 lb, respectively. I usually give them 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes along with 1 cup of their regular food. Even though sweet potatoes are good for them, you don’t want to feed your dog too much, too often. A small bowl of mashed sweet potatoes 2 to 3 times per week is plenty.
DSM. Claiming Nature’s Defense with Beta-Carotene. Retrieved from https://www.dsm.com/anh/en_US/feedtalks/feedtalks/claiming-natures-defense-with-beta-carotene.html#:~:text=Beta%2Dcarotene%20is%20a%20powerful,type%20hypersensitivity%20response%20in%20dogs.
Elizabeth Lee. Feeding Your Adult Dog FAQ. Retrieved from https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/feeding-your-adult-dog-faq#:~:text=An%20adult%20dog%20needs%20at,%25%20to%204.5%25%20percent%20fiber.
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