Can dogs eat chips?

Written by Dr Andrew Miller MRCVSDr Andrew Miller MRCVS is an expert veterinary working in the field for over 10 years after graduating from Bristol University. Andy fact checks and writes for Pure Pet Food while also working as a full time veterinarian. Pure Pet FoodPure Pet Food are the experts in healthy dog food and healthy dogs featured in media outlets such as BBC, Good Housekeeping and The Telegraph. Working with high profile veterinary professionals and nutritionists, Pure Pet Food are changing dog food for the better. - Our editorial process

While chips are a bit of a creature comfort for us humans, we all know they’re not healthy for us and should only be eaten as a treat. However, can dogs eat chips as a treat too, or are they another human food that’s off the table for our furry friends? If you want to find out if Fido can eat french fries or not, keep reading.

Can dogs eat chips?

Ideally, a dog shouldn’t eat chips simply because they’re very unhealthy. Even a few chips can contribute a lot of salt, carbs, and fat that your pooch wouldn’t otherwise be eating and that they’re generally better off without.

Technically, dogs can eat chips because they don’t contain any toxic ingredients. Chips are just pieces of fried potato, sometimes with a little salt on. But just because the ingredients of chips aren’t toxic to dogs, doesn’t mean they’re good for your fur baby to eat either. After all, chips (and pizza too!) are the epitome of “junk food” for us humans, never mind our hounds!

Feeding your dog a single chip as a rare treat shouldn’t cause them any harm, but they definitely shouldn’t get their own serving with a takeaway. A chip or two is fine for a healthy, adult dog as long as it’s a very occasional treat. We humans aren’t meant to eat chips often anyway, and neither is your dog.

Discover delicious food your dog deserves

Learn more

In brutal honesty, no chips at all are even better for your pooch. Chips are nothing more than fat, carbs, and salt so they’re not good for a dog and don’t offer any nutritional value for them. Baked chips aren’t as full of fat or as calorific as fried chips, but they’re still not the ideal doggy treat so they shouldn’t really eat those either.

Can dogs eat chips without salt?

Chips without salt are arguably a bit safer because you don’t have to worry about the problems that come along with your dog eating too much salt, like dehydration, high blood pressure, or sodium poisoning. However, unsalted chips still have all the fat and oils which aren’t good for your dog.

Can dogs eat french fries?

French fries are really just chips but thinner, and they both have the same ingredients since they’re still nothing more than fried potato. Yet the difference the simple shape can make to these foods is pretty astonishing. French fries are arguably worse than traditional chunky chips because they are much fattier and have more calories.

This is because french fries are thinner with greater surface area compared to a smaller inner volume, which means more fat seeps inside them. That bumps up the fat and calorie content a lot, making them the more unhealthy option compared to chunky chips. (Not that chips are particularly healthy either!)

Can dogs eat sweet potato fries?

Sweet potatoes might be great for dogs and more nutritional than regular potatoes, but your dog probably shouldn’t eat sweet potato fries.

This is again because of the fat and seasoning on them. Many shop-bought sweet potato fries are covered in onion and garlic powder, and these are both toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of onion eaten regularly can lead to illness. Some fries are also sprinkled with cayenne pepper and although it isn’t toxic, it can irritate a dog’s throat and stomach and could give them gastrointestinal trouble like diarrhoea.

Almost all sweet potato fries are also coated in paprika and although this is not toxic to dogs, it can irritate their stomach if eaten and so it’s best to be avoided.

If you’ve made your own sweet potato fries and they aren’t covered in spices or seasoning, your dog could probably eat one or two without causing any digestive upset. It’s definitely not healthy for them though and boiled, steamed, or baked sweet potato is definitely better for them. You can even cook slices of sweet potato in the oven on low to dry them out and make a delicious chewy snack for your furry friend to enjoy.

Can dogs eat potato chips?

If you’ve searched “can dogs eat chips”, you’ve probably found most articles talk about potato chips, or crisps as we Brits call them. Crisps, like chips, are fried potatoes so they are again not a very healthy snack for your furry friend. Some flavours of crisps can be harmful to dogs too, so in general, it’s safest not to let your pooch munch a packet of crisps.

Can dogs eat potato?

Potato is perfectly safe for dogs to eat as long as it is cooked and served plain. They are a common ingredient in many dog foods since it’s filling and fairly cheap.

However, raw potato and potato plants are toxic to dogs. Raw potato will definitely make your pooch feel ruff because it also contains calcium oxalate crystals which can irritate your pooch’s mouth and could cause inflammation, swelling, and discomfort in their mouth and throat.

Plus, no matter how they are cooked, potatoes don’t contain a ton of nutrients and are mostly just a source of carbohydrates. Dogs don’t need a lot of carbs in their diet, but potatoes are a common ingredient in some pet foods because it provides a lot of energy relatively cheaply and can replace grains, which some dogs are sensitive to. As an ingredient in food, potatoes are fine. But as a snack, they’re probably best avoided.

Potatoes on their own are basically empty calories, providing little other nutrients for your pooch and just bumping up their energy and calories for the day which could contribute towards unhealthy weight gain if they’re overfed or inactive.

Can dogs eat potato skin?

Cooked potato skin that hasn’t been seasoned is safe for dogs to eat. The difference between skin-on chips and regular chips is pretty negligible though and they’re still just as unhealthy for dogs to eat. One or two skin-on fries probably won’t cause your pooch any serious problems, but it’s better that they’re avoided really.

As we mentioned previously, your pup should never eat raw potato skin, or raw potato in general, because it is considered toxic to dogs.

Why are chips bad for dogs?

We all know chips and french fries aren’t healthy, and that is exactly why your dog shouldn’t eat chips.

Simply put, chips just don’t offer anything good for your furry friend, but they do contain a lot of things we need to strictly moderate in a dog’s diet. Since chips are little more than fried potato, they contain next to no nutritional components except fat and carbohydrates. Some fat and carbs are useful in your dog’s dinner, but they don’t need a lot and even just a few chips can hold a surprising amount of salt and calories.

Dogs have much lower calorie needs than us humans simply because they’re smaller than we are. Even a few chips can take up a significant portion of their recommended daily allowance for fat and calories. Too many treats like chips can make a dog prone to weight gain.

Plus, there are risks associated with eating such fatty food. Many dogs are simply sensitive to fat and eating a substantial amount of it can cause gastrointestinal upset, leading to vomiting and diarrhoea. Plus, if your dog eats a lot of fat in one go (or their pancreas is particularly sensitive) it can cause an acute case of pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is painful for your pup and can be life-threatening. Prevention is definitely better than the cure in this case, as there is no cure. If your pooch has already suffered from pancreatitis, they can’t eat high-fat food as it can trigger another flare-up of the condition. That means if your dog suffers a bout of pancreatitis, you’ll need to be careful that they don’t eat fatty foods for the rest of their life.

Chips are often loaded with salt too, and dogs do not need a lot of that in their diet either. For example, a medium dog only needs about 0.1-0.2g of salt per day. Too much salt will often dehydrate a dog, but in the worst-case scenario, it can lead to sodium poisoning and require urgent veterinary care.

Recap: Can dogs eat chips?

Technically dogs can eat chips because they don’t contain any toxic ingredients. A chip or two on the odd occasion probably won’t cause your pooch any lasting harm. However, they shouldn’t eat chips regularly and you definitely shouldn’t feed them more than one or two.

Truth be told, your dog won’t be missing out if they never eat any chips, and no chips are better for them in the long run.

There are much safer and healthier human foods that you can share with your dog. Although you might not think healthy treats like carrot sticks are very exciting, most dogs go barking mad for them (or any human “treat”). Plus, they provide a satisfying crunch most dogs love as well as plenty of nutrients while being very low in any of the things you need to be careful of feeding your dog, like salt, fat, and sugar.

Or, try feeding your dog a nutritionally complete dog food, to keep them fuller for longer to stop those puppy dog eyes begging for your fries. Pure includes the very best ingredients and is bursting with nutrients and flavour to keep your dog excited for mealtimes everyday.