Can dogs eat mashed potatoes?

Health and Wellbeing

Potatoes are a staple in human and hound diets alike, making an appearance in most of our meals as well as being a common ingredient in dog food. Although dogs can eat potatoes, can dogs eat mashed potatoes, or are all the extras in this soft side dish a bit much for our furry friends?

Can dogs eat mashed potatos?

There’s more in mash than just spuds after all, so let’s investigate if it’s safe for dogs to snack on.

CAN DOGS EAT MASHED POTATOES?

Generally, dogs can eat mashed potatoes as long as they are plain and your dog doesn’t eat a whole heap of them. Potatoes are perfectly safe for dogs to eat, but they’re best served in moderation because they do contain a lot of carbs.

As long as there are no ingredients in your mash that are toxic to dogs, your pooch can eat a splodge without fear. The main problem with mashed potatoes is the fact it contains a lot of calories thanks to the fatty extras like butter and cream.

Any mash you share with your furry friend should be kept free of fancy extras, like soured cream, spices, and seasonings so there’s no risk of them eating something that will irritate their stomach or cause illness.

However, if your pup has diabetes they shouldn’t eat mashed potato even if it’s plain because potatoes are a high glycemic food and will cause a spike in their blood sugar levels.

CAN DOGS EAT MASHED POTATOES AND BUTTER?

Butter isn’t very good for Fido, but as long as there’s only a tiny bit in the dish then dogs can eat mashed potatoes and butter. Purely mashed potatoes are safer for them, but butter isn’t toxic and as long as your pooch only eats a little bit of mash then they should be perfectly fine.

Butter is very salty and fatty though, and neither of these things are particularly good for your pup to eat. Eating too much buttery mash could lead to an upset stomach or pancreatitis, and over time could lead to weight gain. As long as your pooch isn’t eating more than a spoonful of mash and isn’t eating it regularly, then there shouldn’t be any big problems.

CAN DOGS EAT INSTANT MASHED POTATOES?

Technically your dog can eat instant mashed potatoes because they do not usually contain anything that is considered toxic to dogs.

However, there are a few additives and seasonings in there that your dog is better off without. A splodge of instant mash shouldn’t harm your pooch though, so don’t worry if there’s a smidge left on a plate you let them lick clean.

The problem is that instant mash is quite salty because of the salt and nitrates in there to flavour and preserve it. Eating too much salt can be bad for your dog so it’s best to limit how much they can eat.

As long as your dog isn’t eating much mash and isn’t eating it every day, it shouldn’t be enough to cause them any serious harm. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s best not to offer the hound instant mash when they are better off without it, or when you can offer them something healthier instead.

CAN DOGS EAT FROZEN MASHED POTATOES?

Your dog can eat frozen mashed potato once it’s cooked because most brands don’t contain anything except potato, milk, salt, and pepper. Your dog shouldn’t eat salt and paper if it can be helped, but neither of these spices are immediately toxic. Don’t feed your dog mash that’s still frozen though!

Again, the amount of salt in frozen mash means it isn’t good for your dog to eat, but it shouldn’t cause them any serious illness if they only eat a little bit. But, if you really want to make mash for your dog, doing it yourself is the best way to go because you can make a dog-friendly batch that only uses potato and milk or water, and none of the additives or seasonings your dog doesn’t need.

IS MASHED POTATO GOOD FOR DOGS?

Potatoes are a pretty common ingredient in many dog food recipes. As long as your mashed potatoes are plain and only use a little bit of milk, they can be safe for dogs to eat and even provide a few vitamins and minerals.

Potatoes actually have a decent dose of vitamin C and B6.

Just like it is for humans, vitamin C is fundamental in keeping your dog’s immune system strong and helping them to fight off illness. It has a range of other important roles in your dog’s body though, because it helps them to absorb iron, keeps their bones and joints strong, helps to maintain healthy cells, and works as an antioxidant.

Meanwhile, vitamin B6 is needed to help the body use amino acids to make new proteins. If your dog isn’t eating enough B6, it can cause a deficiency that may lead to anaemia, poor growth, kidney stones, and patchy skin.

Meanwhile, there’s also the minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, and folate all bundled up in the humble spud. Minerals like magnesium and phosphorus help your dog’s body to absorb other nutrients, like calcium, so they’re pretty important. Meanwhile, potassium is a vital electrolyte that keeps your pup’s organs and cells functioning.

This means that potatoes can be a great addition to your dog's dinner if they're fed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

IS MASHED POTATO BAD FOR DOGS?

The main problem with mashed potatoes and why they are “bad” for dogs, is that they are very starchy and packed full of carbohydrates and calories. That means it can be easy for your dog to eat too much, and all those extra carbs will quickly add up and lead to your pooch piling on the pounds. Obesity in dogs is a big problem and raises your dog’s risk of other serious conditions like diabetes or cancer.

The other big problem with mashed potatoes is all the extra ingredients that are added that usually aren’t good for dogs.

If you make the mash yourself at home and keep it plain, there could be worse things they could eat. If you’ve made some mash using potatoes, a splash of milk, and only a little bit of butter, then it is perfectly safe for your dog to eat.

Better yet, you could make your dog their own pup-safe mash using potatoes and a little water. Dogs don’t need or care about spices and seasonings to flavour their food, and although this plain potato dish might seem boring to us, it’s perfectly safe and easy to digest for your pooch - and they’ll still find it a special treat.

However, some dogs are lactose intolerant so if you’ve made yourself some mash that’s got a ton of milk, cream, and butter in it, then your dog could get a sore stomach, flatulence, and diarrhoea if they eat it.

Similarly, too much butter or salt in your mash will pose a few problems for your pup. Lots of butter will make the mash fatty, which can upset a dog’s sensitive stomach. Salt is ok in small amounts, but too much can lead to dehydration and in large amounts could poison your dog. As always, it’s best to keep any food your dog eats as plain as possible, without any extra spices, seasonings, or fats.

But as long as your mashed potato is pretty plain, then it’s ok for your dog to eat a little bit. It will still have a lot of carbohydrates and calories, which can contribute to weight gain if your dog is overeating and not exercising enough.

As long as your pup has a healthy diet and having plenty of walkies, a little bit of mash shouldn’t be too bad as a treat, but it’s definitely not good either.

CAN MASHED POTATO MAKE DOGS SICK?

Like most foods, eating too much mashed potato can make your dog sick. Overindulging in anything can upset a dog’s stomach and cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Plus, it’s possible that all the dairy, fat, or salt in the dish could irritate their gut and cause sickness. However, plain mash fed in strict moderation shouldn’t cause any serious illness.

If your mash contains additional ingredients like garlic, chives, or onions then you shouldn’t feed it to Fido, as all of these ingredients are toxic to dogs and can cause illness and anaemia.

RECAP: CAN DOGS HAVE MASHED POTATOES?

Yes, dogs can eat a little bit of mashed potato as long as it’s pretty plain. Although, if your mash is decadent and has lots of extras like soured cream, cream, or chives, it’s best not to share it with your pooch as these ingredients can make your dog sick or may even be toxic.

However, potatoes can actually be a great carbohydrate to sustain your pooch’s energy and give them a top-up of important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and B6 to keep your dogs immune system, iron levels, skin and bones in tip-top shape.

Although you can give your dog a scoop of your mashed potatoes from your plate, it’s not ideal if you give them too much. It’s better if you provide your pup with potatoes as a part of their complete meal, which is why Pure contains various fruits and vegetables to get the correct balance of ingredients and nutrients.

Pure is perfectly portioned for your dog’s age, size and breed so you know that they aren’t getting too many spuds in their diet and they’ll stay trim. Sweet potatoes are actually another key ingredient in many of Pure recipes as it’s full of potassium to keep your dog’s bones strong and healthy.

Overall, there’s no need to be scared of the starchy spud, it can actually be a key ingredient in your dog’s diet, having several functional benefits to keep your dog healthy.

If your dog’s dinner already contains potato, be wary of feeding them extra on the side, as too much can lead to your dog piling on the pounds. However, with a Pure recipe, the amount will be perfect for your pooch to give them everything they need.

Dr Andrew Miller BVSc MRCVS

Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS

Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.