Every dog owner understands the struggle of keeping your day away from the food on your plate. Can dogs eat hash browns?
If you’ve ever let your dog eat hash brown, chances are, there were no visible consequences. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any at all.
Hash browns and potatoes are not good for dogs. This is especially true for hash browns from fast food restaurants, which are heavy in fat and preservatives. On top of that, many hash browns contain onions which can be bad for dogs.
If you’ve ever fed your dog hash browns before, there’s no need to worry. While hash browns and potatoes are not the best for dogs, they’re not necessarily toxic either. Still, knowing what’s good for your dog and what isn’t is important as a dog owner.
We spent time researching and asking other dog owners on what human foods dogs can safely eat, and what impact potatoes and hash browns can have on them.
Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?
Since hash browns are made of potatoes, the first question to ask here would be whether dogs can eat potatoes or not. Potatoes do have nutritional value – they contain Vitamins C and B6, as well as iron and magnesium.
However, dog anatomy is different from human anatomy, and what works for us doesn’t always work for animals. If the potatoes aren’t prepared in a pet-safe way, or if your pet overindulges, these potatoes can actually be bad for your dog.
Dogs’ bodies function best when they consume protein from animal sources. Dogs are carnivores, so it makes sense that their diet would lean that way. Therefore, when you give your dog potatoes, which are rich in starch and carbohydrates, your dog could be at risk for problems like obesity, pancreatitis and diabetes.
That isn’t to say that potatoes are outright toxic for dogs – they aren’t, and if your dog stole a French fry or two from your plate, you have nothing to worry about. But that also doesn’t mean that potatoes are completely safe for your dog, or that they are beneficial.
If you do feed your dog potatoes, you should make sure to do so very occasionally. Dogs should never be allowed to eat a potato raw, or the skin and stems of potatoes. Potatoes can include a compound called solanine, which is toxic to dogs. When cooked, solanine levels go down, and the potato does become safer.
Solanine poisoning can result in an upset stomach, slowed heart rate and blurry vision, so you should make sure your dog stays as far away from raw potatoes as possible.
Can Dogs Eat Hash Browns?
Having talked about raw potatoes, we can move on to the real treat – hash browns. Hash browns are made of potatoes, but these are no longer raw. Therefore, any concerns about solanine poisoning can be put away for a while.
However, hash browns are still not necessarily safe for dogs.
Hash browns will usually include potatoes fried with onions. Sometimes these are bound together with eggs or oil, and will have some kind of salt or seasoning.
Again, because the potatoes in hash browns aren’t raw, the chances of solanine poisoning are low, and you probably don’t have to worry about the potatoes in hash browns if your dog actually eats some.
But hash browns also include onions, and onions can also be very toxic to dogs. Onions can mess with the red blood cells in your dog’s circulatory system, making them anemic, and most hash browns do contain onions.
On top of that, the salt added to hash browns during the cooking process can also cause problems. While this salt doesn’t matter to us, it can result in sodium poisoning in dogs. Many hash brown recipes are heavy on the seasoning, which can cause further problems in dogs.
The Preparation Process
Hash browns are often fried in vegetable oil, which can be extremely unhealthy for canines. The fat in oils, butter and grease are not safe for dogs because they can result in problems with the digestive system. Obesity and pancreatitis are only some of the diseases these fats can result in.
While dogs will usually love deep fried foods, these foods don’t love your dogs back! They are extremely harmful in the long-run.
Sometimes, hash browns are prepared by baking, and while these are safer for dogs (and for you!) than fried hash browns, the treat itself will still contain the ingredients that are unsafe for your dog.
Calories & Carbohydrates
Hash browns are very high in carbohydrates. Because they’re made largely of potatoes, which are basically the poster boys for carbs, you can imagine how many carbohydrates hash browns would contain.
Now, carbs aren’t necessarily bad for dogs. As living organisms, dogs also need some level of carbs in their diet to get energy, but too much of them is bad. Just like too many carbs can result in weight gain for humans, it can do the same with dogs. Too many carbohydrates in a dog’s diet can result in obesity and even diabetes.
The calorie count in hash browns is also a major concern. The general rule is that dogs should eat only about 25 calories for every pound of their weight. Besides that, only 10% of their total food intake should be treats, with the other 90% being healthy dog food.
Hash browns have a high calorie count – up to 300 calories for some, with the lower counts being somewhere around 130. That’s a lot! Even a single hash brown can have about half the total calories your dog should be having in one day.
Clearly, there’s nothing good to get out of feeding your dog hash browns. There seems to be a lot of negative consequences for it too. And yet, dogs love to sneak their way into your business and steal your food. Human food just tends to appeal to them, and many dog owners would want to give in to those puppy dog eyes.
What If My Dog Eats Hash Browns?
Despite all the negatives, most dogs will be able to eat some hash brown without showing any side effects. Though hash browns do have consequences, most often these will show up if they are consumed in large quantities.
A bite or so of a hash brown won’t have any significant impact, so there’s no need to worry.
However, there is always the risk of sodium, solanine or onion poisoning, so if you know that your dog has eaten a hash brown, keep an eye out for any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive urination
If your dog shows any of the symptoms, however mild, take them to the vet and explain the situation. Your vet will let you know how to address the problem to make sure your dog is safe.
So, can dogs eat potatoes and hash browns? No, ideally, they wouldn’t be eating any at all. But dogs can be very persistent and sneaky when it comes to human food – especially when it has an appealing taste and smell. If your dog does eat a hash brown, you don’t have to start worrying immediately and just keep an eye on them.
However, with dogs that have pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes or gastrointestinal problems, the intake of any of the ingredients in hash browns can cause problems. Even potato-only baked hash browns can result in a spike in their blood sugar. This can become dangerous, and you should get such dogs checked immediately for any problems.
Turning away from that sad pout when your pet really wants your food can be difficult, but taking care of your dog’s health is ultimately more important. Besides, there are plenty of other yummy treats you can give them instead.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright