Soft sweet potatoes, or yams, are a great whole food to give your dog to boost the nutrients in their diet. They can be prepared as a mash, much like a human would eat but without the butter and spices, or they can be cooked in the oven into chewy or crunchy treats.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the nutrition benefits of yams for dogs, some recipes, and more ways to add extra whole foods and nutrients to your dog’s diet.
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How to prepare mashed yams for dogs
There are many ways that yams can be prepared for dogs. You can boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew….well, maybe not that last part.
Let’s take a look at how to prepare mashed sweet potatoes for dogs.
What you’ll need
- 1-2 yams (depending on dog’s size)
- Potato Peeler (optional)
- Potato masher (optional)
Wash and peel yams
Wash the yams. You can soak them in vinegar beforehand to remove excess dirt if you have time, but it isn’t strictly necessary.
Peel them with a knife or potato peeler, give them one more rinse, and cut them into cubes.
Boil the cubes
Boil a pot of water, enough to cover the cubes entirely. Once it has come to a boil, put the yams in the pot and turn the heat to medium. Let them simmer in the pot for 30 minutes.
Pierce the cubes with a fork to make sure they are tender. You’ll know they’re done when the fork pierces the cube with ease. If not, give them a few more minutes.
Drain the sweet potatoes with the strainer and mash with a potato masher if you have one. If not, a fork will work just fine. Mash them to a smooth consistency. Lumps are also fine… most dogs aren’t too finicky.
Make sure the mash is cool before you give them to your pup!
You can serve the mashed yams to your dog as is, or mix them into their food.
Yams are high in sugar so be sure to feed them in moderation. A small dog can have about a teaspoon while larger dogs can have up to ¼ cup a day. Store the rest of the mash in an airtight container in the fridge to add to your dog’s meals throughout the week.
How to make yam treats for dogs
Another way to add the health benefits of yams to a dog’s diet while also providing enrichment is to make them into chewy treats. They’re super easy to prepare, so let’s get started.
What you’ll need
- 1-2 yams
- Baking Tray
- Potato Peeler (optional)
Wash and peel
Again, wash the potatoes and soak them in vinegar if you desire to loosen up extra dirt. They’re getting peeled, so this step isn’t strictly necessary, but if you or your dog are finicky it can be worth it.
Peel the potatoes using a knife or potato peeler if you have one.
Slice into sticks
Slice the yams into sticks. You can slice them horizontally or vertically on the yam depending on the thickness you want.
Thicker treats will have a chewier texture while thinner ones will be crunchier.
Spread the slices in one layer on a baking sheet. Don’t add anything else like salt or oil, as they might upset the dog’s stomach.
Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake at 200-250F for about three hours. After about half that time, give them a flip to make sure they’re cooking evenly.
If you want chewy treats, take them out at three hours, and if you want them to be crunchy, wait a little longer.
Depending on your dog’s preferences, if they have any, a chewy treat may be preferable to a crunchy, dry treat. Either one will be good for your dog’s teeth and carry the same nutrients.
Let the treats cool.
They’re ready! Now you can give them to your dog. Keep the rest in an airtight container (they don’t need to be refrigerated).
If you made chewier treats, they may not last as long as the crunchy treats. Crunchy treats can last for a few weeks while chewier ones might last for a week.
What are the benefits of yams in a diet?
Sweet potatoes are a very healthy food for humans, and the same goes for dogs. They’re full of fiber to support healthy digestion and are often used to encourage healthy bowel movements, as well as alleviate constipation or diarrhea.
They’re low in fat and high in vitamins such as A, B6, and C.
Vitamin A is essential for skin, coat, muscles, and nerves, while B6 supports healthy sugar generation as well as red blood cell and nervous system function. Vitamin C is a great antioxidant that helps reduce cognitive aging and inflammation.
Since too much of Vitamins A and B6 can be toxic to dogs, sweet potatoes are a great way to incorporate them into their diet without needing to add supplements.
Can I give my dog raw yams?
Raw yams and potatoes are toxic to dogs. They contain solanine, a chemical compound that can cause things like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and dizziness.
They also contain oxalates, which filter out through kidneys and can also affect their digestion and nervous system.
Raw potatoes also may cause intestinal blockage or problems with digestion. Therefore, it’s safe to say that you should never feed your dog a raw yam or potato of any kind.
If a dog accidentally eats raw potatoes or yams, monitor them for symptoms and call the vet.
Is a yam different from a sweet potato?
Technically, a yam and a sweet potato are two different tubers. However, real yams come from Africa and are very rare to find in the United States, unless you visit some international grocery stores that stock them.
In America, yams are the soft orange variety of sweet potato, while the firmer variety with paler flesh are sold as sweet potatoes. So sweet potato and yam can be used interchangeably in this context.
Your dog might like yams better and they may be easier to cook because they are softer, but you can also try giving them a firmer sweet potato with the same methods. They’ll have the same nutrients.
Just remember, always cook them, and feed them in moderation.
My name is Ken and I’m one of the staff writers at Petloverguy.com. I’ve cared for pets most of my life starting with hamsters, turtles, and snakes. Then moving up to parakeets, guinea pigs, and even ducks.
I currently live with two yorkies and a chihuahua mix.