Can My Dog Eat Yam?

By Tom •  Updated: 06/19/22 •  11 min read
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Have you ever sat down with a plate of baked yams and asked yourself, “Can my dog eat this?” Well, you can stop asking yourself that question because the answer is a resounding yes. Dogs are omnivores. This means that they are capable of eating both plant and animal based foods. So, if you want to know more about how to incorporate yams into your dog’s diet, read on!

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What are yams?

Yams are sometimes mistaken for sweet potatoes, but they are a very different vegetable. Yams are tubers originally from Africa and are enjoyed the world in many types of cuisines. Their flavor has been described as similar to a sweet potato, but dryer and starchier.

They can be boiled, roasted, fried, or grilled—making them a versatile veggie. Yams include some essential nutrients, including vitamin A, C, E & K, potassium, calcium and more.

What are the difference between yams and sweet potatoes?

People often confuse yams and sweet potatoes with each other, or think that the two are interchangeable. The misunderstanding is understandable. In fact, many times, what you see in grocery stores that are labeled as yams are actually orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.

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However, they are not actually one and the same. While both are root vegetables that are high in nutrition, they do have some differences that set them apart.

True yams are starchy, dry tubers that grow in all the tropical regions. Yams have a tough and dark skin that is difficult to peel. Their skin can be anywhere from a paler, white color to a reddish shade.

In terms of availability and depending on your location, yams can be quite hard to find. This is because they are mostly grown in Africa, and thus need to be imported to other countries.

On the other hand, sweet potatoes are a very popular vegetable that is enjoyed by many people. They are a staple crop that originated in the Americas. The tubers that you find are usually orange-fleshed and have copper-brown or golden skin with soft, pale flesh. People also seem to think that the golden variety is less sweet.

Compared to yams, sweet potatoes are much sweeter in flavor (as their name suggests). Their inside also tends to be creamier than that of yams.

Can my dog eat yams?

You might be asking yourself, “Can my puppy eat yams?” The answer is a resounding yes—yams can even be a healthy addition to your fur baby’s diet!

However, there are some things you should consider before you do this. To make sure your dog eats the yams safely, you need to make sure they’re properly prepared.

For one, if you choose to give your dog yams, it’s best to remove the peel and then cook the yams. The starch found in yams isn’t easily digested by dogs, and can cause digestive issues.

Additionally, yams are slightly hard in texture and can therefore pose a choking hazard. So, be sure to cut them up into bite-size pieces before serving them for your dog.

Yams are also high in carbohydrates, so they can increase the amount of blood sugar and obesity. If your dog is overweight or seems to have a low metabolism, keep this in mind. Make sure that you think of your dog’s overall calorie intake before feeding them lots of yams.

Yams are available canned in many areas, but these canned versions are not recommended for dogs. Canned yams contain both sugar and preservatives, two things that are harmful to your dog, particularly if you give them in large quantities.

Finally, do not even consider sharing your leftover holiday yams with your dog. Never give them food that has been prepared with seasonings such as nutmeg or sugary things. This is because nutmeg is a spice that is poisonous to the canine family.

Can dogs eat sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are a very good source of dietary fiber, improving your digestive system. Consuming fiber on a regular basis helps reduce the risk of heart disease and certain kinds of cancers.

They are less likely to cause immune responses or damage to the digestive tract, since they’re whole foods. So, they’re perfectly safe to feed to your dog. In fact, they’re a very common source of carbohydrate in commercial dog kibbles!

However, you have diabetic dogs, or dogs that are overweight or less active, you should feed them with caution. They have a high glycemic index, which means they can raise the blood sugar fairly quickly.

For this reason, only give your dogs sweet potatoes in modest amounts, and make sure to cut them into small pieces that are bite-sized.

When you are wondering how to introduce yam or sweet potato into your pup’s diet, you should start by feeding only a small amount of it to your pets over intervals of a few weeks. It is always a good idea to slowly introduce new foods to your dog. This will enable you to determine whether or not your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity to them.

Benefits of yams for dogs

Yams are not only a great source of fiber to add to your dog’s diet. One of their main health benefits is that they contain high amounts of potassium and manganese. Both of these are important nutrients that help support the bones, the heart, and the metabolism.

Furthermore, yams contain tons of copper, a mineral that is essential for the production of red blood cells and the absorption of iron. Add vitamin C to that, which make for a powerful immune-boosting antioxidant.

Yams contain a compound called diosgenin, and this is said to benefit the brain function. This substance has anti-inflammatory properties and forms the basis of several different types of pharmaceuticals that are used to treat infection.

Yams have even been shown to increase the function of cell membranes in the kidneys and liver, which can possibly aid in preventing certain types of cancer. Some dogs that are diabetic also may benefit from a diet rich in yams. This is because there is a possibility that tubers could regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.

Benefits of sweet potatoes for dogs

It is quite beneficial to feed your dog sweet potatoes due to their nutritional value. They are very low in fat, and they are rich in many vitamins. This includes vitamin B6, A, C, alongside potassium, iron, beta-carotene, and calcium. All of these vitamins are critical to achieving overall wellness for both you and your dogs.

Vitamin C is essential for an immune system that is well functioning. Meanwhile, vitamin A is very important to have healthy eyes, muscles, nerves, and skin.

People have found that dogs, just like humans, show greater resistance to diseases, and are more likely to recover from injury or illness if they are supplemented with vitamin c.

What if my dog ate raw yams or raw sweet potatoes?

Your dog should not be allowed to eat yams when they’re still raw. Both yams and sweet potatoes should be cooked before you feed them to your dogs. Not only are some varieties of these foods difficult to eat and digest at their raw form, but certain varieties can even stay toxic until they’ve been cooked.

Even worse, raw sweet potatoes can actually be toxic to your dogs. For one, raw sweet potatoes contain solanine. Solanine is commonly found in some nightshade vegetables and plants, such as tomatoes. If your dog ingests a raw or green potato, they may experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, and/or stomach cramps.

Raw potatoes also contain oxalates that can cause your dog to have issues in their kidneys, digestive system, and nervous system. Oxalates, when ingested into the dog’s body, can lead to tremors and seizures.

If your dog is exposed to raw sweet potatoes and yams, they may cause intestinal blockages and other digestive problems. If your dog accidentally eats a raw potato, watch for the onset of any gastrointestinal symptoms and call your vet.

For this reason, dog owners should only serve cooked yams and sweet potatoes to your dogs. Furthermore, you can add them to dog treats in the form of dried yams or dried sweet potatoes.

What if my dog ate too many yams and sweet potatoes?

They’ll be OK, but may suffer with a stomach ache and/or diarrhea. For this reason, it’s recommended that you only serve yams in small portions and as an occasional addition to your pup’s normal dog food.

The worst case scenario is that they may come down with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), which is a type of canine heart disease. However, this is not a common result. Still, you should proceed with caution when it comes to giving your dog a lot of the two foods.

So, you do not need to give your dog large amounts of sweet potatoes or yams to provide the nutrients they need. For small dogs, feeding them a teaspoon of either food is enough. For dogs that are larger in size, they can be fed about a tablespoon of it. Above all, make sure both those yams a sweet potatoes are cooked before you serve them for your loyal furry companion!

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Tom

Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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