6 Facts About Yams for Your Dog
Here are a few facts about feeding yams and sweet potatoes to dogs:
1. Raw Potatoes Can Be Toxic for Dogs
Raw potatoes are actually toxic for dogs because they contain solanine and oxalates. Solanine is commonly found in nightshade vegetables and plants, including tomatoes. If your dog ingests a raw or green potato, they could experience:
- Stomach Cramps,
- Cardiac Dysrhythmia
Raw potatoes also contain oxalates that can affect your dog’s kidneys, digestion, and nervous system. If raw potatoes are ingested, your dog may cause:
- Heart Arrhythmias
Raw sweet potatoes and yams can also cause intestinal blockage and digestive problems. If your dog accidentally eats a raw potato, watch for symptoms and call your vet.
Related Link: Why Gut Health is Important for Dogs
2. Cooked Yams Are Safe to Incorporate Into Your Dog’s Diet
If you cook the yam or potato, this reduces the solanine and oxalate levels, making it safe for your dog to eat. The best way to prep the yam is to steam or boil the yams to retain nutritional value within the yam. You do not want to add additional ingredients that can irritate your dog’s digestion.
3. A Little Amount of Yam Goes A Long Way
You don’t need to give your dog a large amount of yam or sweet potato to provide the necessary nutrients. Small dogs only need a teaspoon, while you’ll want to give larger dogs a tablespoon of cooked yams.
Yams are also high in carbohydrates, increasing blood sugar and obesity risk if given in large amounts. You’ll want to make sure the amount is within your dog’s calorie allotment.
And you should be careful about not feeding your dog large portions because the FDA reported that dog food that primarily uses potatoes, peas, and legumes could cause Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). DCM is a disease that affects the heart.
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Related Link: Are the Calories on Your Dog Food Label Correct?
4. Yams are Loaded With Minerals and Vitamins
Yams and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of Beta Carotene, which can boost your dog’s diet with Vitamin A. High vitamin A levels can fortify your dog against some types of cancer and protect against heart disease.
Yams and sweet potatoes are also loaded with valuable nutrients that contribute to your dog’s overall health, such as:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin A
These vitamins and minerals help regulate the body’s fluid balance and preserve muscle function and nerve transmissions. They also improve your dog’s coat and digestion.
5. Yams Are High in Fiber for Dogs
Yams and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of fiber. One cup of baked yams contains 5 grams of fiber. Now your dog shouldn’t consume a cup of yams, but including a small number of cooked yams into your dog’s diet can help aid digestion.
Fiber becomes beneficial bacteria to your dog’s intestinal tract and can help regulate diarrhea and constipation. If your dog has hard stools, you may want to add more fiber to its diet.
6. Yams Are Low in Fat and Sodium
Yams contain 0.2 grams of fat and 11 mg of sodium, making them ideal vegetable supplements for dogs. While they are starchy carbohydrates, they are healthy carbs that can improve your dog’s overall health.
Whether you make your dog food or buy commercial dog food, you should look for yams or sweet potatoes as a natural ingredient that can extend your dog’s lifespan.
6. Yam and Sweet Potatoes are Different Vegetables
Because they are both tuberous root vegetables, yams, and sweet potatoes contain many of the same nutrients and vitamins. True yams are grown in Africa and Asia and are starchy and drier than sweet potatoes. Because they come from Africa, most grocery stores don’t carry true yams.
Instead, your store may carry two types of sweet potatoes. Firm sweet potatoes have golden skin and pale or white flesh. A soft sweet potato looks very similar to a yam because they both have copper skin and orange flesh.
These soft sweet potatoes are often labeled as yams at the store to differentiate between the different flesh of the sweet potatoes.
Cooked Yams Are a Great Supplement to Boost Your Dog’s Nutrition
Yams and sweet potatoes are excellent vegetables to add to your dog’s food. Many dog foods contain yams because of their nutritional content and low fat. Read your labels to ensure your dog gets an adequate amount of their food.
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Related Link: Adding Vitamins vs Real Food to Your Dog’s Diet