You know your dog wants it. It has been starring at you and wagging its tail excitedly as each chip of those delicious French fries disappears into your mouth. Your love for your dog compels you to give it some. But can dogs eat French fries?
French fries in minimal quantities may not necessarily hurt your dog, but a substantial intake can. This is because of the considerable amount of fats and salt in such French fries. These constituents can cause gastrointestinal upsets in your dog, as typified by diarrhea and vomiting.
Your curiosity about feeding your dog French fries is understandable. You wonder what ingredients precisely could harm your dog. You are curious about how much French fries you can feed your dog without hurting it. Also, you wonder which form is healthy to feed your dog French fries: raw, baked, or salted? The following sections in this article will extensively satisfy your curiosity.
How French Fries Ingredients Affect Dogs?
French fries are essentially fried potatoes. They are prepared by deep-frying the potatoes with oil and salting it.
While these are the major ingredients when you prepare your French fries at home, fries bought from fast food cafes usually contain preservatives. Let us examine these ingredients individually so you can better ascertain how unbefitting French fries are for your dog.
Don’t get it wrong, cooked potatoes will not necessarily kill your dog. It is just that the carbohydrates your dog would derive from them are too heavy for your dog’s digestive system to process readily. If you must feed your dog cooked potato, it must be as minimal as possible.
Oil in French Fries
Aside from the potato, French fries have sizable oil content. Oils are not totally bad for your dog. Oils like fish oil, sunflower oil, and olive oil are excellent for your dog as these likes have healthy fatty acids.
Unfortunately for your dog, French fries are fried with the likes of vegetable and canola oil. These are unhealthy for your dog. Specifically, vegetable oils contain corn products and soybean. Many dogs are allergic to this.
It even gets worse when such oils are fried. The result is an unhealthy accumulation of fats that results in gastrointestinal discomfort. Your dog could start to vomit. The grease in fries can loosen your dog’s feces, resulting in regular watery bowel movements.
Salt in French Fries
If your French fries contain an appreciable amount of salts, your dog’s health will be affected. Salt poisoning is not uncommon when your dog ingests large quantities of French Fries.
First such salt – as contained in French fries – could cause dehydration in dogs. If your dog has a ready water supply after such a large salt intake, drinking water quickly could eliminate the damage.
But in the case where such water supply is lacking, the dog’s body cells would have to unnaturally release water to balance the salt levels in the dog’s blood. The results?
The cells would be damaged due to the consequent water insufficiency, leading to headaches or more neurological symptoms like seizures in your dog.
In more severe cases, hypernatremia (excessive amounts of salt in the dog’s bloodstream) could lead to moisture loss and stiffness in the muscles. This can end up in more fatal circumstances like death and coma.
Kidney malfunctions and death are not uncommon in dogs experiencing sodium poisoning unless they are promptly treated with intravenous fluids to restore the blood equilibrium, furnishing the dog with enhanced electrolytes.
How Much French Fries are Bad for Dogs?
Truth is, your dog will not die if it gobbles on one or two French fries that accidentally fall to the ground.
It is when the French fries are ingested in a significant quantity that the dog’s digestive system struggles to process them, leading to the said undesirable conditions.
The amount of French fries that would be too much for your dog is directly dependent on its weight. This is given the maximum amounts of calories they could take in a day.
While an average Labrador is about 70lbs. can eat as much as 1,750 calories daily, the average French Bulldog that is 25lbs. should only eat a maximum of 625 calories daily.
Now, when you bring these calorie limits in relation to French fries, we can see that while a medium portion of French fries contains 18% of the maximum daily calorie intake of a typical Labrador, such amount of French Fries also has as much as 51% of the daily calories limit of the average French Bulldog.
Similarly, the regular large portion of French Fries contains as much as 490 calories. This is 28% of the maximum daily calorie intake of Labradors.
On the other hand, that large portion is as much as 78% of the maximum daily calorie intake of the French Bulldog. These computations should now give you a clearer picture of how much French fries intake would be too much for your dog based on its body weight.
Can Dogs Eat French Fries without Salt?
It is easy to think that French fries would be healthier for your dog if you take off the salt. But first, what are French Fries without salt?
We mean salt is a chief (and almost inevitable) ingredient of French Fries. More than that, if you take off the salt, there are yet unhealthy fats in the French fries. This is even in addition to the harmful amounts of carbs fundamentally in the potatoes.
Are Raw French Fries Bad for Dogs?
Well, feeding your dog raw French fries essentially means feeding them raw potato. White potatoes share the nightshade family with other vegetables like tomatoes. Other than their heavy carb content, raw potatoes – just like tomatoes – contain solanine.
This is, in most cases, poisonous to dogs. When cooked, the solanine content in the potato drops. Therefore, cooked potato is substantially healthier than raw potato or potato slathered with salt butter.
Nonetheless, your dog should never eat potatoes in any form if it has diabetes. This is because the carb content in potatoes could trigger dangerous surges in its blood sugar.
Can Dogs Eat Baked French Fries?
So you are figuring it out: if I can’t feed raw or fried potato (because of the oil), why don’t I just feed my dog baked potato chips?
Baked potatoes are indeed healthier than your regular fast-food French fries. Rid of canola and vegetable oil, they will surely do your dog less harm.
But if you must feed your dog baked potato, it must be in as little quantity as possible. Never make a feast of baked potatoes for your dog.
Can Dogs Get Sick from Eating French Fries?
Of course, your dog can. We have stated that heavy consumption of French fries will trigger gastrointestinal upsets in your dog, courtesy of its digestive system struggling to process the heavy carbs in the fries.
What more, canola and vegetable oil – the predominant oils used in French fries – contains loads of saturated fats. Unlike dietary fats, the fats mentioned above are dangerous for your dog.
If the fries contain meaningful amounts of such oil, your dog could get sick with bloating. Depending on how heavy your dog is, salt poisoning from French fries can also get it sick.
Such salt poisoning can cause disruptions in your dog’s urinary patterns, extreme thirst, and dehydration in the short term. Sustained intake of French fries can get your dog even sicker, experiencing severe conditions like kidney failure.
Are McDonald’s French Fries Bad for Dogs?
No hard feelings, but there is actually paltry nutritional value for your dog to gain from McDonald’s French fries in the first place. So why bother feeding them to your dog and causing avoidable gastrointestinal troubles?
McDonald’s French fries are no different from your regular fries. They yet contain a reasonable amount of saturates fats, trans fat (due to the oil they are fried in), and salt.
The potatoes in the McDonald’s fries have high carb content, which your dog’s digestive system doesn’t want. Better put in context, a large portion of McDonald’s French fries is loaded with an alarming 490 calories. That is gigantic and about 78% of the maximum daily intake of adult French Bulldog (regular size).
Can French Fries Kill Dogs?
There are extreme cases where the ingestion of French Fries could kill your dog. Conditions — like confusion, swelling, bloating, difficulty in breathing, hives, seizures, and coma – associated with anaphylactic shock and allergies (from eating French fries) can kill your dog.
Can Dogs Eat French Fries with Condiments?
It is only normal to consider dishing your dog French fries deliciously enhanced with condiments. Aside from salt, the common sauces (or seasonings) that come to mind here include ketchup and black pepper.
But how healthy is any of these?
Seasonings and condiments are not healthy for your dog. Both contain amounts of sodium we – or your dog’s digestive system – cannot ignore.
To better paint the frightful picture here, we see that just a supposedly negligible tablespoon contains as much as 154 mg of sodium. Now for a regular medium-sized dog, whose recommended sodium intake must not exceed 54mg of sodium, you see that just that tablespoon of ketchup can cause salt poisoning in your dog.
Additionally, seasonings like black pepper on your French fries can cause your dog’s nasal membrane and mouth to be irritated.
The same unhealthiness extends to other French fries condiments like barbecue. Barbecue sauce especially contains loads of garlic and sugar. Both ingredients are not suitable for your dog.
What French Fries Alternatives are Healthy for Your Dog?
There are much healthier ways to show your dog love other than feeding it French fries. First, instead of going with white potatoes, which are commonly used in preparing French fries, you can dish your dog sweet potatoes.
Aside from potatoes, there are other vegetables you can feed your dog, like carrots, beets, broccoli, green beans, and celery. While dogs are not huge fans of fruit snacks – courtesy of being carnivorous – you can intermittently throw them fruit treats like apples, cherries, blueberries, avocado, bananas, and cranberries.
Regardless of these snacks being healthy for your dog, it would help if you never fed them in excess to your dog. Basically, the treats you give your dog should never exceed 10% of your dog’s full diet (when balanced).
Lastly, while searching for French fries alternatives, never resort to garlic, onions, and grapes. They can be toxic for your dog.