We all love some delicious, crispy french fries every once in a while. Do you wonder if your sweet fur buddy loves them, too? But can dogs eat french fries?
Well yes. They CAN eat french fries, but that does NOT mean they should. In fact, we will ask you never to give them any french fries. Why so?
In this 5-minute read, we will explain why you should or should not feed your pupper this delicious treat.
Are French Fries Safe For Dogs?
French fries are so yummy, but their effects are not necessarily the best. When you crave some of it, it only makes sense if you grab some, but we regret to inform you that your pupper does not have the same stomach as you.
French fries are made from ingredients unsafe for your dog’s consumption and add zero nutritional value to their diet. What might be those ingredients? Let us find out.
1. SALT: the thug
Many of us always use salt in our food, and we know that it is also in the human food that you have been sneakily feeding your pup. But trust us, you do not want to do that forever. And if you do feed them salt, make sure to place a huge bowl of water in front of them.
While dogs occasionally get to eat salt in minimal quantities, too much salt is hazardous. Salt poisoning is a serious condition that can cause excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, and, in extreme cases, even death. It results from body tissues releasing excessive water from the inside to even out sodium levels in the bloodstream.
Excessive salt intake destroys brain cells due to the lack of water, creating neurological symptoms like dizziness, headache, and seizures.
2. Fatty substances
One of the reasons why even humans hesitate to consume large quantities of french fries or any other junk food is because of the high-fat ingredients. Oils, butter, etc., are not suitable for our fur buddies.
Frequent consumption of fatty substances leads to excessive weight gain, unhealthy heart conditions, and a spike in cholesterol levels. All of these can lead to potentially fatal consequences such as cardiac arrests, pancreatitis, etc.
Your favorite french fries taste that good because they contain some spices. But your pup’s stomach is too delicate. Dogs do not need spices at all. Spices contain nutrients that can be highly toxic and indigestible.
Spices such as onions and garlic are especially known to be toxic to dogs. In fact, these are deadly if consumed even in small amounts.
Health Risks of Feeding French Fries to Dogs
Let us discuss the health risks that might occur when you feed dogs french fries:
1. Allergic reaction
Both fresh or fried potatoes contain allergens that may trigger allergic reactions in some dogs. Monitor your dog for symptoms of an allergic reaction (like hives or swelling) if they eat potatoes.
2. Salt poisoning
As mentioned earlier, salt content in french fries is astronomically high. So, the chances of your pup getting sick from salt poisoning is also high. Dehydration, thirst, high blood pressure, and frequent urination are some of the common symptoms of salt poisoning.
3. Inflammatory reaction
Saturated and trans fats found in the vegetable oils used to cook french fries can upset a dog’s stomach. Consuming these unhealthy fats can cause life-threatening bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, etc., and long-term consumption may lead to your dog developing pancreatitis (study).
Pancreatitis is a painful condition of the pancreas caused due to fat accumulation and might require surgical intervention. The symptoms include abdominal pain, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, etc.
4. Gastrointestinal issues
Fried food, which is high in carbohydrates, has a similar effect on a dog’s digestive system as on a human’s, such as gastrointestinal distress.
5. Choking hazard
Small dogs are always at a high risk of choking on food items that are too big to swallow. No matter what you feed your pooch, you need to ensure that it is sized in a way relative to your dog.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Ate French Fries?
While one or two plain French fries from your dinner will not cause significant damage, and you would not have to rush them to the emergency clinic, it may differ for each dog. All dogs do not react the same way when you introduce any new food to them.
However, you must monitor them for any abnormal reactions. Look out for any symptoms such as lethargy, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, extreme thirst, excessive drooling, etc. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult a veterinarian immediately. They could guide you on what steps you should take next.
And always keep their water bowl filled. They might have consumed high amounts of salt in the process, so to balance out the water lost from their tissues, they need to drink a lot of water.
What Alternatives Can You Look For?
Any fast food is not meant for dogs as their tummies are too sensitive to handle such unhealthy food. But sweet potatoes are the way to go if you are looking for a potato alternative.
Sweet potatoes taste good, contain fewer allergens, and most dogs find them palatable. Do not fry them. Instead, you should steam or bake them without extra spices or salt. Plus, sweet potatoes are also rich in fiber, which helps prevent constipation and smoothen bowel movement. You can even mash it and put it in two slices of plain bread.
Other healthier alternatives to French fries are:
Apples are filled with nutrients such as vitamins A, and C, potassium, and antioxidants and can support your pup’s health in many ways. Not only that, but they are also low in calories but high in calcium, which means you would not have to worry about your dog becoming overweight while they do gain healthy muscle and bone mass.
Bananas don’t just have a great texture and a delicious taste, but they also provide health benefits such as providing energy, healthy skin, smooth bowel movements, etc.
Melons are fibrous and have low calories, so your dog will not gain weight by eating them and have a high content of vitamins A, B, and C. They are 90% water, so they hydrate and help with digestion without adding much weight.
Now, these are definitely not ready-to-eat foods, as you need to clean them and dice them according to your dog’s size, but health always comes first, doesn’t it?
Can Dogs Eat Poutine?
Poutine is such a mouth-watery dish, but if your dog eats it, his mouth might water for some severe reasons.
Poutine contains garlic, onion, and salt, which are all highly toxic for dogs. Moreover, the cheese curd can give your dog some spicy diarrhea if he is lactose intolerant.
Another reason you should not feed poutine to your dog is because poutine can be addictive to your dog. This will make them resent their regular, well-balanced diet and turn them into picky eaters, just like bacons do.
French fries could be edible, but there are better snacks for your pup. Any sort of junk food is not healthy for your canine companion. So, french fries should be avoided at all costs.
Moreover, if, by chance, your dog finds them addicting, he might end up overeating, which again is dangerous. Consuming too many french fries makes them prone to heart disease and high cholesterol.
Go for alternative healthy snacks for your pup, and your pup would be just fine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Any type of fries from fast food places such as McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A is never suitable for your dog. This can severely mess with their health and their overall immune system due to the ingredients in those fries.
Fries themselves are made of high-fat ingredients, which are dangerous to dogs. Adding cheese on top of it increases the chances of rapid weight gain, spike in cholesterol, etc. So no, dogs should NOT eat fries with cheese.
Seasonings of any kind are unsafe as they can give them an upset stomach and mess up their digestive health. The capsaicin in red pepper can irritate your pup’s mouth and cause severe damage to the digestive tract. Therefore, you must avoid feeding your dog fries with dried red pepper or any food containing heavy seasoning.
Sweet potatoes are delicious and far more healthy for your dog than potatoes. Sweet potatoes are just as nutritious as potatoes but have lower chances of causing any allergic reactions. But frying them with fatty ingredients such as butter and oils can harm their overall health. So, refrain from frying and instead bake them in an oven without any greasy ingredients or seasonings.