Are potato peels good for animals?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Potato peels are not recommended for animals, including dogs, due to the potential health risks they pose. While potatoes themselves can be a nutritious addition to a dog’s diet when cooked thoroughly, the peels contain higher concentrations of certain substances that can be harmful to animals.

One of the main concerns with potato peels is the presence of solanine. Solanine is a natural toxic compound found in nightshade plants, including potatoes. It acts as a natural defense mechanism, protecting the plant from pests and predators. While humans can tolerate small amounts of solanine, dogs are more sensitive to its effects.

Solanine can cause a range of symptoms in dogs, including gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and even neurological issues such as tremors or seizures. These symptoms can vary in severity depending on the amount of solanine ingested and the individual dog’s sensitivity. Therefore, it is best to avoid feeding potato peels to your dog to prevent any potential solanine poisoning.

In addition to solanine, potato peels also contain oxalates. Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds that can bind with calcium to form crystals. In high concentrations, these crystals can contribute to the formation of urinary stones or kidney problems in dogs. While small amounts of oxalates are usually not a concern, feeding excessive potato peels could potentially increase the risk of urinary issues in susceptible dogs.

It’s also important to consider the cooking method when feeding potatoes to your dog. Raw potatoes, including their peels, should be avoided as they are difficult for dogs to digest and may lead to gastrointestinal discomfort. Cooking the potatoes thoroughly helps break down starches and makes them easier for dogs to digest and absorb nutrients.

If you choose to feed potatoes to your dog, it is recommended to peel and cook them properly, removing all traces of peels and ensuring they are fully cooked. Boiling, baking, or steaming are all suitable cooking methods that can help make potatoes safe and digestible for your canine companion.

While potatoes themselves can be a healthy addition to a dog’s diet when cooked properly, potato peels should be avoided. The solanine and oxalates found in potato peels can be harmful to dogs and may cause gastrointestinal upset, urinary issues, or even more severe symptoms. It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian before introducing any new food into your dog’s diet to ensure their safety and well-being.