Can Dogs Eat Potato Skins? [Potato Poisoning]

If you have a dog, you know how much your furry buddy begs you for every item of food you have in the kitchen. While you’re peeling potatoes, your canine is at your feet, asking you for the peels. 

Or has your dog stolen some fried or baked potato skins?

Maybe you’ve thought about handing them over. After all, you don’t need them. Don’t do it! Giving your dog potato skins may lead to a dangerous situation. 

So, can dogs eat potato skins? Dogs cannot eat potato skins. In fact, potato skins are a dangerous food for canines. That is because of the oxalates in potato skins. Raw or cooked – they are not good food for a dog. (Though cooked is much safer and not toxic)

can dogs eat potato skins
Can dogs eat potato skins?

Another harmful element is solanine, a type of compound that is hazardous for your dog. Potatoes (and tomatoes) are part of a group of vegetables called the nightshade family. Both raw potatoes and tomatoes have solanine. 

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Potato Skins? 

If your potato skins are COOKED – then your dog should be fine and can eat some potato skins will little worry. The major concern with cooked potato skins is salt content and fat (oils). These are two things that dogs do NOT need in their diet at all.

But if your dog has just stolen a potato skin from the table – don’t fret.

The real danger comes from raw potato skins.

Dogs cannot eat raw potato skins because they contain oxalates and solanine. If your dog swallows large amounts of potato skin, it may suffer adverse health consequences. If your dog has eaten enough potato skins for it to hurt them, they will end up with specific symptoms. 

If you notice your dog having any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. Immediately veterinary attention is essential if your dog has some of the more severe symptoms. 

Potential symptoms of solanine poisoning include: 

  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, and other kinds of gastrointestinal upset
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Breathing problems 
  • Heart problems, such as cardiac dysrhythmia
  • Pupil dilation
  • Vision problems
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Throat pain 
give small dog a pill
Dr Burstyn from Vanvouver Vets demonstrates the technique to give a small dog a pill.

What Is Solanine? 

Solanine is a glycoalkaloid. It’s a substance in potatoes that may hurt your dog. When you cook potatoes, it cuts down on how much solanine is in the vegetable. If a dog eats many potato skins or raw potatoes, it could have solanine poisoning. 

What Are Oxalates? 

Oxalates are a specific kind of chemical found in some types of vegetables. There are both insoluble and soluble oxalates. 

If a food contains soluble oxalates, this means that your dog may have systemic issues. Soluble oxalates will immediately get into your pet’s bloodstream. On the other hand, Insoluble oxalates are more likely to cause gastrointestinal tract issues. 

No matter whether your dog has ingested soluble or insoluble oxalates, they may end up with severe consequences. If you have a dog, you must know the level of oxalates found in each kind of vegetable. 

Never feed your canine too much of a vegetable that is too high in its oxalates level. Potatoes contain oxalates, and that is one reason you shouldn’t provide your dog potato skins or raw potato. 

boston terrier outdoors
A Boston Terrier outdoors looks at the camera with interest

What Is Oxalate Poisoning? 

Dogs with oxalate poisoning may experience specific symptoms. There is a difference between the symptoms of soluble oxalate poisoning and insoluble oxalate poisoning. Some symptoms of soluble oxalate poisoning include: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Excessive salivation
  • Heart rhythm abnormality
  • Blood in urine
  • Tremors
  • Symptoms of kidney failure, such as polyuria (frequent urination) and polydipsia (excessive thirst) 

Can Dogs Eat Raw Potatoes? 

No, your dog cannot eat raw potatoes. They cannot eat potatoes with a green appearance, either. Both kinds of potatoes contain oxalates and solanine, which are dangerous to canines. As we talked about earlier, solanine poisoning can have severe and even dangerous consequences. 

If your dog has eaten raw potatoes, call your veterinarian for advice. A small amount of raw potato won’t hurt your dog in most cases. However, if your pet has eaten a large amount of raw potato, there may be problems. 

Remember Your Dog’s Digestion

Another reason dogs shouldn’t eat potato skin is how hard it is to digest. It’s also tricky to chew, especially for dogs. If your dog tries to eat potato skin, bits of it will probably end up lodged in your pet’s throat. This occurrence can lead to choking, which is a dangerous situation. 

If you don’t wash the potato skins before giving them to your dog, they will probably have pesticide residue. 

chocolate toy poodle eats food from a bowl
A chocolate Toy Poodle eating from a ceramic bowl

What Are Green Potatoes? 

Green potatoes are potatoes that you’ve left too long without eating. In other words, they are old potatoes. And neither humans nor dogs should eat these potatoes. That is because they may be hazardous. They will always be dangerous to dogs. 

Potatoes turn green because of chlorophyll production. However, it’s the fact that there will be too much solanine in green potatoes that makes them dangerous. 

Can Dogs Eat Green Potatoes? 

Dogs cannot eat green potatoes. The fact that green potatoes will have such a high level of solanine makes them even more dangerous than other kinds of raw potatoes. You should never give your dog green potatoes, even if you’ve cooked them. 

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Potatoes? 

As cooking will cut down on how much solanine is in a potato, you may be able to give your dog small amounts of cooked potato. 

Ensure that the potato is thoroughly boiled in water or baked. Never add anything to potatoes that you will offer your dog. Never give your dog potatoes that have you’ve dressed with salt, butter, or oil. 

Don’t Add Butter or Salt

If you ever give your dog a little bit of cooked potato, make sure it’s plain. Don’t offer your canine potato with added salt, butter, or milk. As many people add these ingredients to their roasted or mashed potatoes, they often end up giving their dog little bits as treats. Don’t do this, as these ingredients are harmful to your puppy. 

black cavapoo dog
A black Cavapoo dog will have dark brown or black features

Can Dogs Eat French Fries?

You shouldn’t give your dog French fries. If you want to, you can give your pet one or two French fries as an occasional treat, but use restraint. We all know how unhealthy most French fries are for humans, and they’re bad for dogs, too. 

As we’ve already talked about, potatoes are a bad food choice for dogs. Also, most French fries are full of unhealthy ingredients, such as oil and salt (just like some flavored pita breads). If your dog has too much salt, it may end up with problems such as excessive thirst and even dehydration. If a dog is given too much salt over the longer term, it could have kidney issues. 

Also, French fries contain a large number of carbohydrates. Dogs aren’t meant to eat large amounts of carbohydrates, as they’re difficult for the canine digestive system. Overeating human food can lead to obesity in dogs. 

Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen here, you should never give your dog potato skins. There are several risks involved with giving a dog this kind of food, such as choking hazards, oxalate potato poisoning, and solanine poisoning. 

Stick with run-of-the-mill dog food, and avoid human snacks. Even cooked potato skin and potato chips are usually seasoned and not suitable for dogs.