Can Dogs Eat Tater Tots? Are They Toxic?

Last Updated on 11/17/2021 by Veronica Jones

Pet owners know that it’s extremely hard to resist those puppy dog eyes that your pup gives when food is involved. Before giving in to your four-legged friend, it’s important to check whether certain foods will do your pet more harm than good

One of the foods you may be tempted to share with your pet is the popular American comfort food, tater tots. Can a dog eat tater tots? Read our guide to find out which tater tots are suitable for a dog’s diet and which ones should be kept out of paw’s reach.

What are tater tots?

Tater tots are grated potato, flour and seasoning that has been formed into small cylinder shapes and either baked or deep-fried.

They can be added to sandwiches, eaten as a snack with a delicious dip or served as a side with meat and vegetables. 

What are tater tots?

Can dogs eat tater tots?

No, you shouldn’t feed tater tots to your pooch unless you’ve made them from scratch using only dog-safe ingredients and cooked them thoroughly. You may think that because tater tots are potatoes they shouldn’t cause any harm, however tater tots are high in fat, salts and preservatives that are bad for your dog’s health.

Can dogs eat frozen tater tots?

No, frozen tater tots also contain high levels of fats, salt and preservatives that are all bad for a dog’s health.

Can dogs eat sweet potato tots?

Sweet potatoes are also used to make sweet potato tater tots. Whilst sweet potato is a dog-safe vegetable to give your pet, using it to make a tater tot adds salt, oil and other unhealthy ingredients. It’s best to avoid tater tots and opt for a slice of cooked and cooled sweet potato for a nutritious snack instead.

Can dogs eat sweet potato tots?

Are tater tots bad for dogs?

The calories in store-bought tater tots could easily exceed a small dog’s daily calorie allowance, putting your pup at risk of health-related issues such as diabetes and obesity if eaten regularly. Too much fat and oils in a dog’s diet could also cause an upset stomach because a dog’s stomach is not designed to process high levels of fat or carbs. 

In addition, tater tots typically contain the following ingredients that can be dangerous to canines:

Potato – potatoes are believed to be the cause of a fatal heart condition in dogs. Whilst feeding your pup one or two occasionally won’t lead to any long term damage, regular consumption of potatoes could cause heart enlargement and decreased cardiac functions which puts your pet at risk of heart failure. Raw potato contains solanine, a poisonous compound that can make your dog very ill. If you’re making homemade tater tots or defrosting frozen ones, don’t let them fall on the floor for your dog to gobble up. All human food that could put your dog’s health at risk should be locked away in a cupboard out of reach.

Onion – onion is part of the allium family, which are toxic to dogs. N-propyl disulfide is present in onions that can cause red blood cells to break down. Symptoms of onion toxicity include lethargy, decreased appetite, weakness, fainting and reddish urine. Seek urgent medical advice if your dog has consumed onions. 

Salt – high levels of salt found in tater tots can lead to sodium poisoning. Symptoms of salt poisoning include:

– Vomiting
– Diarrhea
– Increased thirst
– Decreased appetite
– Excessive urination
– Seizures

Call your vet immediately if your dog has consumed high levels of salt and is displaying any of the above symptoms.

Oil – some cooking oils such as vegetable oil contains soybean and corn products, which some dogs experience allergic reactions to. Whilst olive oil and flax seed oil are considered safe for canines, they contain lots of fat and calories. Serving your pet foods that are cooked in oil regularly can contribute to health issues such as diabetes and obesity.

Is there any goodness in tater tots for canines?

The only nutritional value in tater tots comes from potatoes. Potatoes contain iron, magnesium, carbohydrates and vitamins B6 and C. However, because of the amount of fat and salt that is added to tater tots, your pup can get their source of vitamins and minerals from much healthier food choices.

Is there any goodness in tater tots for canines?

Are tater tots safe for puppies to have?

It is not advised to serve tater tots to your growing pup as a snack or treat. The high levels of salt, fats and potentially harmful seasonings could make your pet extremely sick. Puppies need water, protein, good fats, carbohydrates and minerals in the correct amounts to grow and develop. The best food for puppies is food that is recommended by your veterinarian.

Homemade tater tots

If you really want your pooch to experience the taste of tater tots, the only safe way is to make them yourself using minimal canine-friendly ingredients. If your dog eats homemade tater tots, it’s much better for his health but shouldn’t replace dog food.

Simply mix together grated potato, a little flour and some water and shape into cylinders. You should bake them rather than deep fry them to avoid your pup consuming unhealthy oils and fats. Remember that tater tots contain no nutritional value so only give homemade tater tots occasionally and in small amounts.

Homemade tater tots

Tater tots and dogs

Tater tots are not recommended for dog consumption. No dog owner wants to harm their pet, and whilst it can be difficult to resist the begging remember that your dog’s health comes first. There are plenty of other tasty treats that you can use to reward your dog with that will contribute to their overall health at the same time.

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Reference list

  1. ASPCA “onion toxicity in dogs” Accessed 22nd October 2021
  2. The Kennel Club “what to feed puppies” Accessed 22nd October 2021
  3. PETMD “dog nutrition” Accessed 22nd October 2021

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