Without fail, the second you take some French fries out of a fast food bag, you’re going to get a visit from your furry friend. Depending on the dog, this could result in an adorable ‘what about me?’ look or you might even get tackles. If you’re wondering ‘can dog’s eat fries?’ then we’ve got some bad news.
French fries are really bad for your dog. They’re fried in oil, for one thing, and chock full of fat, calories, and carbs. Aside from the obesity risk that they pose, fries are also heavily salted, and with canines this means that there’s a risk of salt poisoning. It’s really best to find them a healthier treat instead.
That said, we KNOW you’re going to still give your dog a fry or two (who can resist?), so today we’re going to give you more information about why they are bad, what happens if your dog eats too many, and some alternatives that your dog might settle for. Without further ado, let’s talk about the pitfalls of French fries!
Table of Contents
- Why shouldn’t my dog eat French fries?
- What happens if my dog eats too many French fries?
- Can my dog eat unsalted, baked French fries?
- What are some good alternative treats instead of fries?
- The verdict: In everything, moderation!
Why shouldn’t my dog eat French fries?
The initial reason that dogs get so many French fries in the first place is that we tend to think, ‘eh, they’re just potatoes’. Unfortunately, there’s a little more to it than that. Let’s look at the ‘potato’ argument. Your dog can certainly have potatoes, but they should not make up more than 10% of their daily caloric intake.
The potatoes should be baked or boiled, too, with no spices or butter. Now, even so, let’s say that you have a 30 pound, medium-sized dog. A dog this size needs to eat around 920 daily calories to maintain their current weight. A half-cup of mashed potatoes is around 105 calories, which is a little over 10% already.
If you have a little dog, however, it’s worse. A 10-pound dog needs around 218 calories a day, so half a cup of mash would be a little less than half of their recommended daily calories. Just a spoonful of mash or two would be okay, since each tablespoon is about 13 calories each.
Now let’s bring in those fries. A medium sized McDonald’s fries is a whopping 333 calories and that includes 40 grams of carbs and 16 grams of fat – and of course, all that salt. This is an enormous difference from a potato that has been baked or boiled and had all of the butter and salt left out!
What happens if my dog eats too many French fries?
First, let’s address the salt. While humans usually ingest between 1500-2300 milligrams a day safely and on a regular basic, the Board of Agriculture and Natural resources tells us that a 33-pound dog should have no more than 200 milligrams a day. More than this and it starts becoming toxic.
Salt toxicity symbols can include excessive thirst, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and even a lack of coordination, but in severe cases can even lead to seizures or worse! Thankfully, that would take a lot of fries, but your dog might still become fairly ill if they get into a bag when you step away!
The bigger worry is really going to be obesity, however, and of course all of the oil from frying isn’t exactly heart healthy either. We’re not saying that you can’t give your dog one or two fries – that’s perfectly fine if it’s not an everyday thing.
You just really need to be careful with junk foods. As bad as they are for us, it’s much WORSE for dogs, and so alternative treats really are a much better way to go.
Can my dog eat unsalted, baked French fries?
With baked, unsalted fries, you’ve got a good compromise. The biggest part of the fats and calories from French fries come from soaking up all of that oil, after all, and then getting that unhealthy dose of salt. You can certainly bake some fries for your dog and then just pop them in some Tupperware.
That way you can make a small batch and feed your dog one or two while you are eating your own fries. Your dog might suspect that something is up, but in most cases they’ll just be happy that you’re both eating potatoes – and much healthier in the long run for it!
What are some good alternative treats instead of fries?
With potatoes, baked and boiled are the rule, with no butter or spices, but you certainly have lots of options when it comes to doggy treats that you can give them instead. One surefire method is to simply invest in an inexpensive dehydrator.
With a dehydrator, you can make your own dog treats, so it will save you money in the first place, and when it comes to eating dried, yummy meats or your French fries, most dogs will prefer the meat anyways. This gives you a great bargaining chip if your dog is a bit of a beggar!
You can also bake them a batch of unspiced sweet potato fries and this will give them their own fries, along with useful vitamins as well. Just be sure to take off the skin and stick to the ‘1 or 2’ a day limit and don’t let your dog have commercial sweet potato fries – they have the same pitfalls as standard ones!
The verdict: In everything, moderation!
Can dogs eat fries? You betcha, but they really aren’t the healthiest food that you could give them. Now that you know about the calories, fat, salt, and associated risks, we hope that you’ll have an easier time giving your furry friend only 1 or 2 fries at a time.
Alternatively, a dehydrator can give you an even better snack for your dog that is not only healthy, but makes for a handy bargaining chip when your dog won’t stop staring at your fries. That way, you two can still share lunch together and everyone will be happy about the arrangement!