Understandably, you’d want to share some of the goodness of the burgers and fries with your dog—or at least a few french fries. But can dogs eat french fries? Or is it a bad idea? It turns out dogs can eat french fries, but they shouldn’t do so frequently because they are not particularly healthy (as expected).
A small and exotic animal veterinarian in Texas, Dr. Sara Ochoa, gave us advice on how to feed your dog french fries safely and what to look out for.
Are french fries safe for dogs?
French fries aren’t toxic to dogs but aren’t a great snack because they’re unhealthy and don’t provide many nutrients.
Because they’re typically deep-fried in oil, french fries are a calorie and fat bomb. Avoiding french fries is best when feeding your dog because they can cause pancreatitis and obesity. Foods high in fat and oil can even lead to bloat, an emergency medical condition in which a dog’s stomach becomes inflamed and twists.
Dr. Ochoa says fried foods could cause pancreatitis or gastroenteritis in dogs. In addition, because of the high salt content, overeating fries can cause dehydration or salt poisoning in your dog.
Dr. Ochoa warned that giving your dog too many fries could result in symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. “An upset stomach in your dog may also cause abdominal pain and cramping.” Also, ensure your dog isn’t allergic to potatoes before eating fries.
Can dogs eat french fries every day?
You risk giving your dog a stomach upset, dehydration, excessive weight gain, or pancreatitis if you feed him fries daily.
Dr. Ochoa advises that if you decide to feed your dog fries, limit yourself to giving them one or two each and only a few times per week.
Alternatively, you can buy your dog a toy that resembles a french fry. There is no harm in giving your dog a few french fries (or even just one that was dropped on the floor) as long as he doesn’t eat the whole thing. Of course, you can occasionally treat him to a few plain fries, but that shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.
Do French fries have health benefits?
French Fries and Shedding
In addition to keeping their coat looking fabulous, feeding your dog occasional french fries can also help reduce the amount of shedding. This is because linoleic acid helps promote cell turnover, which means that old skin cells are shed faster, and new ones grow in their place. Shedding occurs when old skin cells accumulate faster than new ones can grow, so by increasing the rate of cell turnover, you can help reduce shedding.
French Fries and Joint Health
Another benefit of feeding your dog french fries is that they can help improve joint health. This is because french fries contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, substances are known to support joint health. These substances work by helping to protect cartilage from breakdown and reducing inflammation in the joints. If your dog suffers from joint pain or stiffness, feeding them occasional french fries may help to improve their symptoms.
French Fries and Digestion
One of the health benefits of French fries for dogs is that they can help with digestion. So if your dog has trouble going to the bathroom, a small number of potatoes can help them flush things out. Just be sure not to overdo it, as too much potato can have the opposite effect!
French Fries and Weight Loss
If your dog is carrying a few extra pounds, some shredded potato in their food can help them slim down. Potato is low in calories but high in fiber, so it will help them feel full without adding a lot of extra weight. Just be sure not to substitute all of their regular food with potato shreds, as they still need the nutrients that their typical food provides.
What happens when dogs eat them?
Moderation is key. Like with anything else, feeding your dog french fries in moderation is perfectly fine. Some people even say that the occasional fry can help your dog’s digestion.
You want to be careful about feeding your dog too many french fries, as this can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
Not good for them
Unfortunately, french fries are not particularly good for dogs. They’re high in fat and calories and don’t contain many nutrients essential for a healthy dog diet. So while feeding your dog the occasional fry probably won’t do any harm, you don’t want it to become a regular part of their diet.
Can be dangerous
In some cases, feeding your dog french fries can be dangerous. For example, if the fry is covered in salt or spices, it could irritate your dog’s stomach or cause an upset stomach. Additionally, if your dog swallows a large piece of fried chicken skin, it could cause a blockage in its digestive system. So while moderation is vital when feeding your dog french fries, you also want to be careful about what kind of fries you’re giving them and make sure they’re not eating anything else along with them.
What to do if your dog eats French fries?
Step One: Call Your Vet
If your dog has eaten French fries, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian. They will be able to tell you whether or not your dog is likely to experience any adverse effects from the fry consumption and advise you on what to do next. In most cases, dogs will be okay if they eat a few French fries. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Step Two: Watch for Signs of Illness
Even if your dog seems fine after eating French fries, it’s essential to watch for any signs of illness. These can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Call your vet again if you notice these signs, or immediately take your dog to the emergency vet.
Step Three: Make Sure Your Dog Gets Plenty of Exercises
One of the best things you can do for your dog after eating something shouldn’t ensure they get plenty of exercises. A good run or long walk will help burn off any excess energy and prevent them from getting into trouble again. It will also help them digest any food more quickly and efficiently.
Major Risk Involved With French Fries
One of the biggest dangers of feeding your French dog fries is that they pose a choking hazard. French fries are typically long and thin, which can easily get lodged in your dog’s throat. If you decide to feed your dog french fries, cut them into small pieces, so they’re less likely to cause a choking hazard.
Another big concern when feeding your dog French fries is that they can contribute to obesity. Just like humans, dogs who eat many high-fat foods risk becoming obese. If you’re going to feed your dog French fries, be sure to do so in moderation.
Feeding your dog too many fatty foods can also lead to pancreatitis, a severe condition resulting in pancreas inflammation. Pancreatitis can be very painful for dogs and can even be deadly in some cases. If you notice that your dog is vomiting, has a loss of appetite, or seems lethargic after eating French fries, take them to the vet immediately, as these could be signs of pancreatitis.
How to feed your dog fries
If you want to share a fry or two, your dog should only get plain fries without any seasonings, including salt. In some cases, fries may be seasoned with garlic or onion, which are highly toxic to canines. Also, you shouldn’t give your dog those ingredients because condiments contain them. “It is best to limit any seasonings or dips,” Dr. Ochoa said.
Is Ketchup, Dressings, Sauces, and Seasonings harmful to dogs?
Ketchup, Mustard & Other Sauces
The biggest thing you need to watch out for is sugar when it comes to ketchup, mustard, and other sauces. Dogs shouldn’t eat large amounts of sugar because it can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Most ketchups and mustards have high sugar levels, so it’s best to avoid them altogether. However, if you want to give your dog a little bit of ketchup or mustard as a treat, make sure it’s sugar-free.
Similar to sauces, dressings can also be high in sugar. Dog-safe dressings include olive oil or vinegar-based dressings with no added sugar. It’s best to avoid creamy dressings like ranch or Caesar and any dressing that contains onions or garlic (more on that later).
Sugarless Jam & Jelly
Jam and jelly made without sugar are usually safe for dogs in small amounts. Pay close attention to the ingredient list, though, as some products may use artificial sweeteners that can be toxic to dogs. As always, give your pet only a tiny amount as a treat since too much fruit can cause diarrhea.
Honey & Maple Syrup
Honey and maple syrup are two more human foods that are technically safe for dogs but should only be given in moderation due to their high sugar content. If you provide your dog honey or maple syrup, ensure it’s 100% pure with no added sugars.
Onions & Garlic
Onions and garlic belong to the Allium family of vegetables, including chives and leeks. These vegetables can significantly harm dogs because they contain sulfoxides and disulfides—compounds that can damage a dog’s red blood cells and cause anemia. However, unless your dog eats a lot of onions or garlic at once (which would be pretty tricky), they’re not likely to experience any ill effects.
French Fries Alternative For Dogs
1. Sweet Potato Fries – Sweet potato fries are a fantastic alternative to traditional French fries. They’re packed with nutrients like fiber and vitamins A & C and lower in fat and calories than their greasy cousins. Plus, most dogs love the taste of sweet potatoes!
Wash and slice one or two sweet potatoes into thin strips to make sweet potato fries for your pup. Then, toss them in a bit of olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool before serving to your furry friend!
2. Banana Chips – Banana chips are another great option for dogs who love the taste of fried food but not the unhealthy effects. While they may not be as crispy as traditional french fries, banana chips are packed with potassium and fiber. They’re naturally sweet, so most dogs go crazy for them.
To make banana chips for your pup:
- Start by slicing one or two ripe bananas into thin rounds.
- Arrange the banana slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 200 degrees for about two hours.
- Let them cool completely before giving them to your dog – they’ll be sure to thank you!
3. Apple Slices – Apple slices are a crunchy, refreshing alternative to french fries that are perfect for summertime snacking! Apples are rich in vitamins A & C and fiber, which is great for your pup’s digestion. Plus, most dogs love the taste of apples!
To make apple slices for your dog, wash and slice one or two apples into thin wedges. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
While French fries aren’t the healthiest food for dogs, they won’t cause serious harm if eaten in moderation. Just be sure to avoid giving your dog any seasoned garlic or onion, as those can be toxic to canines. And, as always, make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water to drink.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many French fries can dogs eat?
You shouldn’t offer your dog french fries every day since too many fries can upset his stomach, causing him to become dehydrated, gain weight, or cause pancreatitis. “If you want to share french fries with your dog, it is best just to give them one or two and only a few times a week,” Dr. Ochoa said.
Can my dog eat a Mcdonald’s french fry?
French fries from McDonald’s have little nutritional value, offer nothing good, won’t fill up your dog, and could even upset their stomach. They are fried and cooked in oil that contains unhealthy trans fats and saturated fats that might result in digestive issues.
Can dogs have fries without salt?
Even without salt, fries are a poor choice for a snack. The majority of dogs should not eat any fried food. An upset stomach may result from the oils and fats in fried food. In addition, dogs may develop serious health issues commonly linked to obesity if given frequently.