The weekend beckons. At my house, that means sweet potatoes. These tough tubers make a great snack for dogs. Don’t believe me? Ask The Honest Kitchen. My hounds go through roughly one batch of sweet potatoes per week. Each batch amounts to 3-4 small to medium sweet potatoes, cooked fresh at home. Frozen sweet potatoes will do if you can find them (check the ingredients list to ensure that no salt or other additives are in the bag), but they’re hard to come by in my area. I find it simpler and more satisfying to make my own.
Why feed sweet potatoes? The potential benefits are numerous. They’re a good source of vitamins and fiber. In fact, the fiber in sweet potatoes can be beneficial to dogs who experience tummy trouble. You might also suspect that sweet potatoes are a good source of beta-carotene, what with that bright orange interior, and you’re right. They’re also low in fat. A modest helping of sweet potatoes is a good way to treat your dog to something special without adding a ton of calories to their diet.
Worried about the work? Don’t be. If you can boil spaghetti, you can make sweet potatoes. So, without further ado, I present my recipe for mashed sweet potatoes for dogs, no extra ingredients added.
Pure Mashed Sweet Potatoes for the Canine Connoisseur
Remember, consult your veterinarian before making changes to your dog’s diet.
- Step one, find sweet potatoes! It’s worth shopping around. Some value grocers in my area charge a fraction of what their competition does for perfectly good veggies. You may even be able to get organic produce at a bargain, if that’s your preference. Start with just one or two sweet potatoes until you know if your dog will eat them, unless you include these frankly delicious vegetables in your own meal plans.
- Step two, clean, peel, and cut your sweet potatoes. I give mine a thorough scrub under running water, then pat or air dry them before I get to work with a peeler. Cut the sweet potatoes into small pieces once peeled. You can see in the photo that I’ve settled on relatively thin slices, about a half inch thick or less, and about 2″ long. You can cube your sweet potatoes, or chop them up like fries. Whatever floats your boat. Come to think of it, you could carve them into little boat shapes, too.
- Time to cook! Add your cut sweet potatoes to a pot and cover them with water. Leave some space at the top. Few things are as messy and Cheeto-colored as sweet potatoes boiling over. Cover your pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Stir occasionally to keep pieces from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat to low, and let the sweet potatoes simmer. Stir occasionally, and try not to stare at your clock. That alters the flow of time to at least half its usual pace. Your dogs will be impatient enough once they m figure out you might be cooking for them. This whole boil and simmer business should take 15-20 minutes. The sweet potatoes turn bright orange as they near readiness. Use a fork to check several of the larger pieces. If they’re fork-tender all the way through, they can come off the heat. Let the water cool before you drain it, to avoid steam or other burns.
- Step fork (get it?), do the tater mash. I use a fork to rough mash the cooked sweet potatoes. You can use a potato masher or a blender to accomplish much the same thing. I like forks because I have a lot of them, and they’re easy to clean. Mashed potatoes might require extra work, but they help prevent choking if a dog eats too fast, and are easy to portion.
- Any cooked sweet potatoes you don’t use can be stored in the fridge for a few days, or kept in the freezer for long term storage. Try freezing them in fun, dog-safe shapes for a summer treat.
- Lastly, if you need sweet potatoes on short notice, you can cook a small batch in your microwave. Prepare just as before, but use a microwave-safe bowl for cooking. Uncovered is fine. I like to heat the batch in 5-minute intervals to avoid the aforementioned sticky mess caused by boiled over sweet potato water. Make sure the sweet potatoes are comfortable to the touch before you feed them to your dogs (or yourself, if you’re like me and tend to steal a spoonful).
This recipe has been dog tested and dog approved by my trio. Tell us in the comments below if your pups like sweet potatoes!