The next ingredient we’re covering in our ongoing series on Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet is sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a favorite around our house and sweet potato fries have become a staple in most steakhouses and family restaurants. Sure, they’re delicious, but are they good for your pet?
What are sweet potatoes?
The sweet potato is a distant relative to a regular potato and is in the morning glory family. They are tubers – meaning they grow underground, but they also produce a lovely flower. They range in color from yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige and produce a somewhat sweet, starchy mash.
Why are sweet potatoes in pet food?
You’ve probably seen sweet potato chews (dehydrated sweet potatoes) for dogs in your local pet store. They’ve been around for years and make a nice alternative to rawhide which is not very good for your pet. But sweet potato can also be found in many dry and wet pet foods.
Sweet potatoes are great for your pet. They are low in fat and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. Given their high fiber content they are also good for digestive health. Their yellow color comes from beta-carotene, a powerful anti-oxidant which converts to Vitamin A in your pet’s body which not only promotes healthy skin, coat, eyes, nerves, and muscles in dogs, it is known to help ward off some types of cancer and lower the risk of heart disease.
Sweet potatoes are often used in grain-free diets as they provide an alternative to the carbohydrates found in grains.
Are there any risks to feeding your pet sweet potatoes? As with anything eaten in excess, too much sweet potato can cause intestinal distress and too much Vitamin A can cause bone issues and muscular weakness. You should also be mindful that like any carb, it turns to sugar in the body so moderation is the key.
Interesting facts about sweet potato: Sweet potatoes have more nutritional value than regular potatoes. George Washington grew sweet potatoes on his farm in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The sweet potato is the state vegetable for the state of North Carolina, the leading producer of sweet potatoes in the US.
A sampling of pet foods that contain sweet potatoes:
- Evanger’s Hi Bio - Chicken Superfood
- Zuke’s Ascent - Adventure Tender Blend Trout & Sweet Potato
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Living Chicken & Brown