When people think of sweet potatoes, most people associate them with Thanksgiving. But I eat these delicious treats all long. But these delicious vegetables aren’t only good for humans. There are many benefits of sweet potatoes for dogs too!
So today we will be discussing what sweet potatoes actually are, the benefits of sweet potatoes for dogs, and how much is appropriate to give them.
Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes
For the longest time I thought Yams and Sweet Potatoes were the same thing. But it turns out they’re actually quite different from each other.
Though both are root vegetables that grow underground, Yams actually have a tree-bark texture and taste more like Yucca than Sweet Potatoes.
Yams are also more rare and considered specialty foods at the market. So it’s likely your grocery store will only carry sweet potatoes.
Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Why do sweet potatoes have that brilliant orange, purple, or yellow coloring to it?
That coloring is due to beta-carotene!
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of many types of cancer while simultaneously providing protection against heart disease.
Since heart disease in dogs is considered 95% acquired, this means that almost all of heart disease in dogs is preventable when given the right foods.
Scientifically, each Beta-carotene converts to two molecules of Vitamin A in your dog’s body.
Vitamin A is crucial for your dog’s vision, reproduction, skin, and bone growth.
Signs of a vitamin A or beta-carotene deficiency in your dog include night blindness, bad teeth and bones, abnormal reproductive health, and unhealthy skin.
So by giving your dog sweet potatoes, you’re giving them a healthy treat that will help keep their body nice and strong. 🙂
Did you know that sweet potatoes are packed with fiber?
That’s right. Each medium size sweet potato has 3.8 grams of fiber and is great for regular bowel movements in your dog.
Fiber ferments into the fatty acids that the beneficial bacteria in the intestine make.
The fatty acids then help prevent the overgrowth of any bad bacteria that cause all sorts of problems like digestive issues and yeast infections.
We’ve already covered the fact that sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of vitamin A. But there are many other vitamins in this root vegetable that benefit your dog!
Vitamin C– Though dogs can naturally produce vitamin C in their own bodies, it’s reserves can get depleted if your dog is exercised to their limit, or is sick or stressed.
Giving your dog sweet potatoes can replenish the lost reserves of vitamin C, helping to replenish their immune system.
Studies have also found that dogs that are supplemented with vitamin C show greater resistance to disease. They also have a better ability to recover from injuries or illness.
Vitamin B6– This vitamin is another benefit of sweet potatoes for your dog.
Vitamin B6 is responsible for the glucose production in the body, red blood cell and nervous system function, hormone regulation, immune response, niacin synthesis, and gene activation.
This vitamin is also crucial for growing puppies as they are rapidly growing and their hormones are regulating.
Potassium– Much like bananas, (also ok for dogs) sweet potatoes are loaded with potassium.
This vitamin is responsible for proper fluid balance. This helps keep your dog’s muscles healthy and prevents them from locking up.
Potassium is also great for healthy nerves and enzymes, especially as your dog ages.
Calcium– Most popularly known for strong bone and teeth health, calcium is also crucial for your dog’s blood to clot properly.
In addition, calcium helps your dog’s muscles to lengthen and contract without tearing or pulling. It also helps your dog’s cells to process more efficiently.
Iron– Just like humans, iron in your dog helps to synthesize the blood, and is directly involved in the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. (Hemoglobin carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.)
How to Give Sweet Potato to Your Dog
When making sweet potatoes for your dog, it is best to boil, freeze, and/or dehydrate them to avoid cooking out most of the nutrients like you would in the oven.
However, keep in mind that everything is better in moderation. While sweet potatoes are great for your dog because for multiple reasons, they are also a big source of carbs.
Too many carbs and your dog will start to get chubby. So treat them about once a week to avoid packing on those pounds.
We have now learned that sweet potatoes can be a delicious and healthy treat for your dog all year round.
They are packed with many vitamins that are crucial to your dogs health, and are sweet and tasty for your dog. That’s a win-win in my book!
What human foods do you like to give to your dog and why? Let me know in the comments!