Can Dogs Eat French Fries?
If you’ve ever taken your dog on a fast-food run with you, you are probably familiar with their puppy dog eyes and drool when that bag of goodness enters the car. We love our dogs, and we want to share our lives (and food) with them, while still ensuring they are healthy.
Before feeding your dog any human snack, it’s important to assess the risks. Our dogs are much different from us and have vastly different bodies and digestive systems as compared to a human. Although feeding your dog a human snack as an occasional treat feels like an act of love, it can cause adverse health effects for your pup.
Before your let Fido steal a French fry from the take-out bag, keep reading.
Are French Fries Safe for Dogs?
As a general rule, anything that is considered unhealthy for a human is considered even more unhealthy for a dog. French fries certainly fall into the category of ‘junk food’ for a human, but even more for a dog.
French fries aren’t inherently toxic to canines and a dog can have a single fry without reaping any serious side effects. French fries are made by boiling sticks of potato in oil. The oils used to fry French fries are extremely high in saturated fat and trans fat. Dogs should not eat large amounts of fat, but especially not “bad” fats, like saturated fat found in the oil.
The reason why these fats are so bad for canines is they do not have the proper enzymes to break them down in their bodies. This can lead to pancreatitis, obesity, and other health issues. On top of that, French fries are usually extremely high in sodium. Not only do the oils contain sodium, but most French fries are seasoned with salt once they have been cooked.
Salt is bad for humans in large quantities and is even worse for pups. Salt is dehydrating and can cause water retention in the body. In short, your dog will not be poisoned or need medical attention if it eats one French fry. However, feeding this as a regular snack can cause serious health issues in a dog over time.
What To Do If Your Dog Accidentally Eats French Fries
If your dog consumes only one or two French fries while you’re not looking, you are likely in the clear. Though your dog may beg for more, they are unlikely to suffer the consequences of eating just a few French fries.
However, if your dog somehow eats an entire order of French fries, you should monitor them closely. A serious reaction is highly unlikely. In most cases, it could cause an upset stomach or irregular bowel movements for a day or two.
Make sure your dog has lots of water (to combat the salt) and watch their behavior. If you have any concerns, take them to see a vet.
Dog-Friendly Alternatives to French Fries
Dogs shouldn’t eat French fries purchased from a restaurant, fast food joint, or any other place where you are unsure how they were prepared. Many dining establishments add tons of oil, seasonings, and salt to their French fries, which are all dangerous to a dog’s health.
However, you can make your own dog-friendly French fries at home. Sweet potatoes are safe for dogs and provide some nutritional benefits, too. So, you can cut up a sweet potato into small slices and bake them until crispy as a treat for your pup.
Just be careful not to add any oil or salt. Though traditional fries are made with a fryer, your dog’s fries should be baked.
You can also use traditional potatoes to make dog-friendly French fries. Though sweet potatoes are better for dogs, regular white potatoes are fine for dogs in very small quantities. Just as with sweet potatoes, regular potatoes can be sliced thinly and baked until slightly crunchy as a dog-safe alternative to French fries.
As with any other human food, homemade French fries should be fed in moderation. Feed these baked snacks to your dog only in small portions and be sure the pieces are sliced thinly enough to prevent choking.
Are There Any Benefits to Feeding a Dog French Fries?
French fries aren’t all bad. After all, they’re made from potatoes, which are vegetables with vitamins and minerals. Potatoes have lots of nutrients like potassium, Vitamin C, and magnesium. They also are high in carbohydrates, an integral compound used in the body to create food into energy.
Potatoes are not inherently bad for dogs. In fact, in moderation, they can provide nutritious elements like vitamins and minerals. However, potatoes are high in calories, and too many carbs can lead to weight gain.
Overall, it’s not the potato itself that poses an issue when it comes to feeding a dog French fries. It’s the oil, salt, and other seasonings used when taking a potato to French fry that is cause for concern. Dogs simply cannot process fats and salts the way humans can.
Feeding fatty food to your canine companion, like French fries, can lead to pancreatitis which is a painful and sometimes fatal condition in dogs. One study even found that dogs with chronic pancreatitis were more likely to have eaten French fries in the past as compared to their dog counterparts without pancreatitis.
Though this doesn’t prove French fries cause pancreatitis, it does correlate high-fat human snacks with pancreatitis in dogs. The salt content in French fries can exacerbate certain conditions like hypertension in dogs. Overall, traditional French fries possess more risks than rewards when considering feeding them to your dog.
What Other Human Snacks Are Safe for Dogs?
Though French fries may not be a wise choice, there are plenty of human snacks that your dog can also enjoy safely.
Dogs can safely enjoy certain vegetables, including:
Or if you’d like to share some delicious fruit with your dog, there are many dog-safe fruit options, including:
If you are looking to satisfy your dog’s crunchy-snack fix, there are plenty of dog-safe dry fruits, including:
There are so many great, dog-friendly snacks you can share with your pet. Many of which you probably have readily available in your kitchen! All the foods listed above are safe for dogs to eat in moderation and many provide nutritional benefits for dogs.
Sadly, you should refrain from offering your dog French fries the next time you bring home your take-out order. French fries are loaded with saturated fats and trans fats, both of which can be determinantal to a dog’s health. Most notably, fat consumption can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, which is painful and sometimes fatal.
If you want to treat your dog with French fries, it’s best to make French fries yourself at home. You can do this by thinly slicing sweet or regular potatoes and then baking them until crisp in the oven. It’s important to never use oil, salt, or seasonings when making French fries for your pup.
Luckily, there are plenty of other human snacks which are safe and nutritious for dogs to enjoy with their owners.
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