French fries are the perfect sides for burgers, hot dogs, and other sandwiches. As a common dish at the drive-thru and on restaurant menus, French fries have gained the rep of being an ultimate go-to finger food.
When you have a buddy who likes French fries as much as you do, you might be wondering if they are actually alright for him or not. Let’s take a look at this favorite snack of many – humans and pets alike!
Can Dogs Have French Fries?
Before we answer that, it’s best to look at their nutritional information first as well as how they are made. A French fry is basically a deep-fried potato. There are many types of potatoes, but the best ones for frying are the Idaho and russet varieties. The added salt serves as a surface seasoning.
A 100-gram serving of cooked French fries has as much as 270 calories. There are 11 grams of total fat, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 4 grams of protein.
If we are going to break down the total caloric content of French fries, we will have 45% fat, 50% carbohydrates, and only 5% protein. Looking at these percentages, it’s easy to see that French fries do not offer any substantial amount of nutrients.
They are mostly fat and carbohydrates that can contribute to your dog gaining weight. If your pet is already overweight, it would be a bad idea to let him eat French fries even in small amounts. Likewise, fried potatoes are not suitable for canines with pancreatitis or those recommended to be on a low-fat diet.
Canines need a diet rich in protein and fat. They metabolize energy from the oxidation of fat and the breakdown of protein that creates glucose. Contrary to myths, our furry friends don’t need the additional carbs for the extra energy. Therefore, they will not benefit from the carbohydrates in the French fries.
French fries are made from refined carbohydrates and it’s actually the reason why they can be so addictive. As with people, canines should not snack on French fries regularly even if they are hard to resist.
Giving your dog one to two pieces of fries will probably not cause any harm but it is not advisable to give dogs large amounts of French fries as they are too oily and may cause sodium poisoning because of the excess salt. This could result in bouts of diarrhea and vomiting.
Going back to our question, can dogs eat French fries? No. We strongly go against feeding them to our furry friends. Finding healthy snacks for dogs is not so hard to do. Plus, your pet will surely appreciate if you make some fries for him using a sweet potato.
What to Give Your Dog Instead
If you really want to give fries to your dog, better make your own using sweet potatoes. Bake them to avoid using oil. Another good thing about making your own sweet potato fries is that they will not take you more than 15 minutes to make.
Remember that there are many ways to offer potatoes to your dog. When in their natural form, white potatoes are without a doubt a healthy food. It boasts a good amount of vitamins and macronutrients, not to mention that it contains impressive amounts of fiber.
But when it is drenched in oil and salted, it becomes an unhealthy snack that can even contribute to the development of certain cancers.
Are French Fries Bad For Dogs?
French fries can be as bad for dogs as they are for humans. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that people who were eating fried potatoes at least twice a week were linked to an increased risk of death.
What makes French fries a bad food? First, the process of making them involves frying. Any foods cooked at very high temperatures create acrylamide. This naturally occurring substance is formed when there is sugar, the asparagine amino acid, and hot temperatures.
Many cooking experts recommend soaking the potatoes to reduce the starch. Did you know that it also reduces the acrylamide? Researchers from the Leatherhead Food International discovered in 2008 that pre-soaking the potatoes before frying them reduces the formation of acrylamide in them.
Second, French fries are salted. It’s actually that one ingredient that’s tricking you that a French fry is a comfort food. One study suggests that eating foods with higher salt levels make animals less stressed.
French fries are normally made with a lot of salt. The amount of sodium in salt can cause sodium poisoning in canines.
The sodium content of French fries is 180 milligrams for every 113 grams serving. That is equivalent to only one small serving of French fries.
A 33-pound healthy dog can only consume 100 milligrams of sodium per day, which means the amount of sodium in a small serving of French fries is already more than the recommended amount of sodium for our pets.
Third, it involves scraping the healthiest part of a potato, the skin. Experts believe that most fiber and nutrients of potatoes are found in the peel.
What If My Dog Ate A Lot of French Fries?
Your dog is highly likely to suffer from simple gastritis after consuming lots of French fries. If he is throwing up and has diarrhea, avoid giving him any food or water for 8-12 hours in order to allow his stomach to rest.
You can also give him Famotidine to soothe his belly. It is usually sold as Pepcid AC and can be easily bought over the counter. The recommended Famotidine dosage for dogs is 0.25mg to 0.5mg for each pound of body weight. You can only administer this acid reducer for only a couple of days.
Healthy Potato Recipes for Dogs
Do you want your dogs to get the most out of potatoes? Opt for sweet potatoes rather than the white ones. They are great for making dog chews! Let’s add the fact that sweet potatoes are also excellent sources of amino acids which can help Fido have stronger and healthier muscles.
It’s much better if you bake them. For canines, it is also advisable to keep them plain, without salt or any seasoning. Here are our top picks that are way better than your typical French fries:
Sweet Potato Chews for Dogs
For this dish, you will not need any ingredient apart from yams or sweet potatoes. When picking a yam, get that one with an orangey color. The orange ones are healthier than the white ones because they have more beta-carotene. If you prefer the treats to be extra crunchy for your pooch, you can extend the baking time a bit more.
- Wash a piece of yam or raw sweet potato.
- Slice it in halves lengthwise.
- Cut in long lengthwise slices. They should be 1/3-inch wide.
- Place on a cookie sheet.
- Bake in a preheated oven at only 250ºF for 3 hours.
Beef and Russet Potato
This russet potato recipe requires cooking with the skin on. When cooked, the skin of this type of potato becomes chewy. Russet potatoes are often used for baking because they turn out light and fluffy when cooked.
- In a frying pan, cook 40 oz. of lean ground beef and 1.25 oz. of beef liver. Stir frequently until they turned brown.
- When both the beef liver and the ground beef turn slightly pink, add in 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of green beans, 1/4 cup of green peas, and a piece of chopped apple.
- Keep cooking until the veggies, apple, and beans are soft. Allow the mixture to cool and set aside.
- In a pot, boil water. Add in 2-3 pieces of diced russet potatoes and one-two pieces of chopped sweet potatoes.
- Lower the heat. Allow the potatoes to simmer for around 15 minutes or until they are soft to the touch.
- Drain and wait to cool.
- Combine all the ingredients in one large mixing bowl. If you prefer, you can add around 5 teaspoons of your pet’s nutrient blend formula and half a teaspoon of fish oil.
- Portion into individual serving sizes. Serve to your dog.
Mashed Sweet Potato Recipe for Dogs
This sweet potato recipe is the easiest way to make a potato treat for your buddy. It takes only 20 minutes to make and plus, you will not need any other ingredients aside from water. If you can’t wait to offer this mashed sweet potato recipe for your dog, here’s how to make it:
- Cut a small sweet potato into 1-inch cubes.
- Place the cubed potatoes in a pot filled with water. The level of water should be enough to cover all the potatoes.
- Boil on medium to high temperature for no more than 20 minutes. To know if they are ready, stick a fork into some of the cubes. If it slides through, they are done.
- Drain the water from the sweet potatoes and transfer them in another pot.
- Mash the potatoes using a masher.
- Allow to cool before serving to your pet.
Important Reminder for Dog Owners
Check with your veterinarian if you are giving these treats for the first time or if you are planning to include them in your pet’s regular diet. While some dogs easily digest potatoes, some dogs have a history of dietary sensitivity.
French fries are a big no-no for doggies not because they are toxic to them but because the amount of salt they contain is not healthy. The good news is that you can make healthy versions of French fries for your pet. Bake some russets or sweet potatoes. These are nice treats that you can occasionally offer to your dog.