Can Dogs Eat French Fries?

Most dog owners enjoy giving their pet dogs titbits under the table, figuratively speaking. But some human foods can be harmful to our canine friends. Have you ever wondered – can dogs eat french fries? 

Chips are one of the most common fast foods that we eat. We feed them to our children, and it is so easy to slip a few chips to our dogs too. 

If you have children, that's what they probably do when you turn your back! 

In this article we will look at the impact french fries could have on your dog's health, so that you can make some healthy changes to your choice of snacks.

safe for dogs to eat

Yes, dogs can eat french fries in moderation. 

French Fries are high in saturated fats and salt. Both are unhealthy for your dog and should be restricted to an occasional french fry.

Also be aware that some condiments and spices are not safe for dogs.

 

  • What exactly are french fries?
  • Why are french fries bad for dogs?
  • Should dogs eat potatoes?
  • Is oil good for my dog?
  • Why is salt bad for my dog?
  • What to do if your dog eats french fries

What Exactly Are French Fries?

French fries are strips of deep-fried potatoes. Most french fries today are made from frozen potatoes. Potatoes have been blanched or air-dried industrially. Most commonly, cooking french fries in vegetable oil is the tastiest.

In England, french fries are strongly associated with the fast-food chain McDonald's. As an example of how deceivingly unhealthy french fries can be, did you know that it takes over 20 ingredients to make McDonald's french fries?

can dogs eat french fries

McDonalds French Fries Ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Hydrogenated soybean oil
  • Natural beef flavor (wheat and milk derivatives)
  • TBHQ & Citric acid (preservative)
  • Dimethylpolysiloxane (reduces oil splattering during cooking)
  • Dextrose
  • Sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintains color)
  • Salt

That is a long list of ingredients, especially when you consider how fewer ingredients you would use to make chips at home.

Why Are French Fries Bad For Dogs?

When we eat or offer a chip to a dog, the only thing that often really processes in our heads is that it's just potato. The health-conscious ones of us may also acknowledge that it's not just potato, but also potato soaked in fat. 

But potatoes are vegetables so they must be healthy, and dogs need a certain amount of fat in their diet, right?

After finding out about all of the other hidden ingredients in some french fries, it may be becoming apparent that french fries aren't a necessary snack for dogs, let alone people.

The truth is that the ingredients in french fries are not necessarily toxic to dogs. They can eat and digest them in small amounts, but that doesn't mean that they should. Eating too many french fries can cause both long and short term problems for your dog.

The main ingredient in french fries is white russet potatoes.

golden retriever puppies eating

Should Dogs Eat Potatoes?

Potatoes are certainly not the worst human food a dog can eat. But they are very high in carbohydrates. Dogs' digestive systems are not able to process high amounts of carbs. A dog's diet should be mostly protein. 

Dogs are not pure carnivores, like cats. Their bodies have adapted over time due to their scavenging nature. 

So often in commercial dog foods, you will see a variety of different ingredients, including wheat, oats, veggies, and more. 

If you want your dog to function at optimal health, though, a high protein diet is a must, which added foods to avoid deficiencies and provide a healthy and nutritional balance.

Dogs will be dogs, though, and they will wolf down pretty much anything they can get into their mouths. 

Some dogs are utterly intolerant of potatoes, though, due to an allergy or sensitive digestive system, and even a single french fry will come straight back up. That won't necessarily stop them from eating more french fries.

The main problem with french fries is not the potato, though. Let's move on to talk about the oil used to cook potatoes.

Is Oil Good For My Dog?

There are some oils which you should include in your dog's diet. Fish oils, for example, are very healthy for your dog

Cooking french fries in canola or vegetable oil is far from a healthy option for your dog. It is this oil that gives french fries a lot of the unhealthy kinds of fats. These oils contain trans and saturated fats.

In the short-term, overconsumption of these bad fats can lead to upset digestion, which can be very uncomfortable for dogs. The long-term effects of eating too many bad fats are much worse.

Long-term health effects of overconsumption of bad fats:

  • Obesity – When a dog becomes overweight, this can seriously affect its quality of life, making the dog move less and become depressed. Excess weight can also put a strain on the vital organs.

  • Pancreatitis – This is an incredibly painful chronic condition that no dog owner wants a pet to experience.

  • Diabetes – life expectancy is considerably shortened after a diagnosis of diabetes in dogs.

  • Bloat – This is also a horrible and painful life-threatening condition.

When you consider that french fries are dripping in bad fats, after reading this article, you might think twice before offering a handful of chips to your dog next time.

The other main ingredient in french fries is salt. Let's talk about that.

salt can be toxic to dogs

Why Is Salt Bad For My Dog?

French fries are pretty salty. Depending on the size of the dog and how many they eat, it is unlikely, despite how salty french fries are, that a dog will get salt poisoning. However, consuming salt can lead to other health issues for your dog.

Risks of salt overconsumption:

  • Dehydration
  • Excessive thirst
  • Short term changes in urination
  • Kidney problems (long-term exposure to salt)

Don't forget that salt isn't the only thing that we tend to season our french fries. 

Whatever spices and condiments you like on your french fries, your dog is probably also going to sample if you offer them the leftover french fries on your plate.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats French Fries

If you have discovered that your dog has helped themselves to a plate of french fries, really the only thing to do is not panic, and observe your dog. 

Your dog is not in any immediate danger, although maybe sick if your dog ate too many or has an intolerance to potato.

can dogs eat french fries

If your dog has eaten french fries here is what you should do:

  • Take any remaining french fries away and put them in a bin that your dog can't sneak back into to finish off his snack!

  • Do not yell at your dog. Your dog probably won't understand what is wrong.

  • Give your dog access to plenty of water, as he may get thirsty due to the salt content.

  • Make sure that your dog doesn't have the opportunity to eat leftover french fries again by keeping a closer eye on your dog at home and in the street, ensuring that bins have covers and you clean off the plates.

  • Keep an eye on your dog, and if you spot any signs that they are unwell or not behaving like usual, take them to be checked by your vet.

Signs that your dog is unwell:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Loose stools or diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Changes in urination

You should also keep an eye out for these following more severe symptoms, and take your dog straight to the vet if you spot any of them as they could be suffering from one of the following life-threatening conditions:

  • Severe Allergic Reaction – Look out for any signs of hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing, as they could be at risk for anaphylaxis. This severe allergic reaction has a rapid onset and can result in death if not treated as soon as possible.

  • Salt Poisoning The most significant risk is for tiny dogs that have consumed a large amount of salty french fries. Watch out for confusion or drunk-like behavior, vomiting, and diarrhea, fever, or coma.

  • Bloat – This condition, in which the dog's stomach twists in on itself and fills with gas, can be caused by the high-fat content of french fries when consumed in large quantities. Large dogs are at most risk. Look out for a swollen stomach and signs of pain, including panting, drooling, and pacing.

You may also be interested in: Can dogs eat avocados?

Summary

The simple french fry seems so harmless. We eat french fries regularly and never think twice about our children eating them too.

Yet for our pet dog's this human food can cause so many unforeseen health problems, both short-term ones and long-term ones.

It's up to you at the end of the day, what you slip your dog under the table.
Or even better, you can provide your dog with a stuffed Kong toy to enjoy while you and your family eat your meal in peace without a dog begging at your feet.

can dogs eat french fries?
(Last Updated On: June 12, 2020)
Liz
 

I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs and somehow manage to have time to pursue another of my passions - writing. I’m the primary contributor and editor of PUPPY FAQS. I love to write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local dog shelter. If you have a question that needs answering, please leave a comment below, and I will do my best to explain it.

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