Are you currently eating your Tater tots right now and feeling guilty for not giving any to your canine pups? You’ve landed on our article because you’re also wondering if Tater tots are safe for dogs to eat. Well, no need to feel bad and we’re here to provide you the answer.
No, dogs should not eat Tater tots. Your dog shouldn’t eat Tater tots for several reasons: they’re packed with fats, are high in salt, fried in oils that are bad for dogs, contain preservatives, and are high in calories.
Much like Hash browns, Tater tots can also cause a load of health issues in dogs. To learn how this tiny human snack can do such harm to our precious pups, we need to first discuss the ingredients in the Tater tots.
What are Tater tots?
Tater tots are deep-fried nugget-shaped snacks made of thinly grated potato. They’re one of the most widely consumed snacks in the USA.
Tater tots are a trademark of American company Ore-Ida, who was also behind their invention. They’re an American staple and are consumed all over the US.
What are Tater tots made of?
Tater tots are made of potato, oil, salt, seasoning, and flour.
Peeled and boiled potatoes are finely shredded and mixed with flour, salt, and other flavors. The mixture is then worked into cylindrical or oval-shaped “tots” and deep-fried in vegetable oil.
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Are Tater tots bad for dogs?
Tater tots are human food that isn’t natural for canine consumption. Feeding dogs Tater tots is terrible for their health and could make them very sick and obese. Some ingredients used in Tater tots for seasoning can even be toxic for dogs.
Below, let’s go through each of the ingredients of Tater tots and see how they can affect dogs.
The FDA has recently declared potatoes as one reason behind a potentially fatal heart condition in dogs. This disease is called Dilated Cardiomyopathy, or DCM, and causes heart enlargement and decreased cardiac function. Affected dogs are at severe risk of heart failure.
While this may not happen from just one potato, avoid feeding potatoes to your dog if you can.
Tater tots are deep fried with lots of oil to give them their golden color and crunchy texture. But for dogs, all that oil is severely harmful.
Eating greasy foods can trouble the dog’s intestines and may cause inflammation of their pancreas. In the long run, it can lead to canine obesity and cardiac problems.
Like most snacks, Tater tots have lots of salt in them, which increases their sodium content.
For example, Ore-Ida Tater tots contain almost 310mg of sodium in a half-cup serving. This high salt value is over the daily sodium requirement for most dogs. For smaller dogs, it can even be toxic.
Commercially available Tater tots contain herbs and flavors to improve the tots’ taste. However, some of these spices can be toxic for dogs. Many recipes call for onion or garlic for added flavor. Both these ingredients are toxic to dogs and can lead to anemia.
Flour is safe for dogs and is actually used in many dog foods to improve consistency. However, the flour used in Tater tots recipes is to make them crispy. Flour soaks up oil during frying and gives the Tater tots their crunch. So although flour is safe for dogs, its role in Tater tots makes it harmful.
Fun Fact: Another human snack that shares similar ingredients as Tater tots is Chicken nuggets. Like Tater tots, Chicken nuggets contain flour, salt, oil, and seasonings.
Why the cooking method is bad
Tater tots are deep-fried in high-temperature hydrogenated oil, which makes them unhealthy, greasy, and fatty. Dogs aren’t supposed to eat fried foods. Eating fried and fatty food in excess can put them at risk of pancreatitis and obesity.
High in calories and carbohydrates
Tater tots are rich in calories and carbohydrates. The total calories your pup needs depend on his body weight and age. Feeding him more calories than his daily intake quota can cause him to be overweight.
Tater tots may seem like a shortcut to reach the dog’s daily intake quota. However, the calories they provide are primarily trans and saturated fats, which are the bad type of fats for canines. When looking out for your pup’s best health, consider the quality of calories along with the quantity.
Young dogs need lots of carbs to give them the energy to grow and develop. However, excess carbs get stored as fats in the dogs’ bodies. This can lead to obesity and even diabetes.
There are three main types of carbohydrates: sugar, starch, and fiber. Although Tater tots are rich in sugar and starch, they’re low in fiber. Sugar and starch can contribute to your pooch’s weight and are harmful in large quantities.
Can dogs eat frozen Tater tots?
No, dogs should not eat frozen Tater tots. Frozen Tater tots may not have the high-fat content they get after frying, but they still contain potatoes, high amounts of salt, and seasonings that are potentially toxic to dogs.
Can dogs eat sweet potato Tater tots?
When it comes to sweet potato, it is a safer alternative to regular potato. However, the process of making Tater tots from sweet potato makes them too unhealthy for doggy consumption—even if you use sweet potato instead of regular potato.
Hint: If you’re enjoying Tater tots or other fast food items with a soda drink like Sprite, be sure to keep that caffeinated drink away from your pooch as it can cause increased heart rate or even caffeine toxicity in dogs.
When shouldn’t you feed Tater tots to your dog?
Tater tots shouldn’t be fed to a dog that is old, overweight, diabetic, sodium-sensitive, has a sedentary lifestyle, or has preexisting heart or kidney issues.
If your pooch has had their fill of salty foods for the day, feeding them Tater tots will increase their sodium intake and can lead to dehydration or over-urination.
Unless you make Tater tots at home from ingredients you’ve picked, avoid feeding them to your pup. The restaurant or market variety Tater tots can carry ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
Do Tater tots give any nutritional benefit to your dog?
Potatoes contain vitamins B6, C, iron, magnesium, and carbohydrates. Putting them in tater tots, however, gives them an unhealthy amount of fat and sodium. M
Moreover, potatoes are already harmful to dogs. There are plenty of other, safer sources of vitamins, carbs, and minerals for your canine buddies.
What if my dog accidentally ate Tater tots?
Tater tots without the onion or garlic seasoning are not toxic. So if your dog eats a few, you don’t need to be too concerned.
However, Tater tots and other fried foods can upset your pup’s tummy. Observe your four-legged friends for signs of vomiting or diarrhea and take them to the vet immediately if their behavior seems unusual.
Accidentally eating Tater tots is okay, but frequent feasting on this fried food will shorten your pup’s life.
Symptoms to watch for
Tater tots and other fried foods don’t usually show any immediate symptoms in your furry friends. But they do cause long-term damage to your canine’s body.
If your canine companion has devoured lots of Tater tots, he will get an upset stomach and would likely expel them through vomiting or poop. However, if he shows any symptoms of toxicity after eating Tater tots, then the high salt or presence of onion or garlic could be the reason.
Symptoms for sodium poisoning include:
- Excessive urination.
- Muscle spasm.
- Runny or loose stool.
Symptoms for onion or garlic toxicity include:
- Breathing problem.
- Decreased appetite.
Fun Fact: Potato is a vegetable. If you’d like to feed your pup some vegetables, opt for healthier options like a moderate amount of Brussel sprouts that are steamed in order to keep the antioxidants and nutrients in.
Treatments if your dog has Tater tots poisoning
If your furry companion is elderly or has pre-existing medical conditions, you should consult with your vet in case he ate more than a few Tater tots. Owners of dogs with diabetes, heart troubles, kidney issues, or sodium sensitivity should be extra careful with fried food items.
Usually, the dog will expel the foul food through vomiting and diarrhea. If the condition goes on for too long or if the dog shows signs of toxicity, the vet will determine the best course of action.
In case of prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, the vet may administer medications to help dogs keep the food down. They may put the dogs on IV to keep their energy up while they recover.
It is best to let the vet administer any medications; never try to fix the problem yourself.
What are some dog-friendly and safe alternatives to Tater tots?
Tater tots are rich in carbs and fats. Canines don’t need too many extra fats. Tater tots are also a rich source of carbs and they are not the healthiest. Your canine companions can get their daily carbohydrate quota from these healthy foods instead:
- Coconut. Coconut is rich in carbs and good fats. It boosts immunity and decreases inflammation in dogs. It also makes their coat soft and shiny.
- Bananas. Besides carbohydrates, bananas are an excellent source of potassium and vitamins. You can also sun-dry banana slices to make them crunchy.
- Apple. Apples are high in natural sugars and fiber—two healthy forms of carbohydrates. Slice them up and remove seeds before giving them to your dog.
- Pumpkin. It is a superb source of fibrous carbs and helps keep the dog’s digestive system and immunity in top form.
- Carrots. Carrots are crunchy and sweet sources of carbs and lots of vitamins. Chop them into bite-sized chunks to make them easy to eat, or feed them baby carrots whole.
- Dog treats. A wide variety of different flavored doggy treats are available in the market. They’re made with safe ingredients and can also fulfill the dog’s daily nutritional needs.
- Homemade Tater tots. Making Tater tots from ingredients safe for doggie consumption will ensure your dog doesn’t get sick or suffers toxicity.
If we’re short on time, we always have backup snacks available and our canine companions absolutely love these:
This fruit and vegetable dog treat is 100% all-natural and the sweet potato chew is vegan, grain-free, and gluten-free.
The vegan, grain-free, and low-calorie crunchy dog treat has three flavors in one bag: sweet potato, carrot, and quinoa. It is sustainably sourced and made in the USA.
The superfood blend natural dog treats come in several flavors including veggies, greens, and berries. Crated in the USA, this dog treat is gluten-free and rich in antioxidants.
How do I make Tater tots for my dog at home?
Tater tots made from scratch at home are a much healthier alternative than the store-bought variety. You get to control the ingredients in the homemade Tater tots and only pick the safest ingredients so your furry companion can eat them.
It’s best to substitute potatoes for something healthier like sweet potatoes, cauliflower, zucchini, pumpkin, or broccoli. All of these nutritious veggies are much better options for your pup than potatoes.
Instead of deep-frying the Tater tots, opt for baking them. Baking will keep the fat content low. Ditch the seasoning, or substitute it with dog-friendly spices. Also, use salt in moderation.
Healthy homemade Tater tots are a nutritional, wholesome, and delicious treat not just for your furry friends but for you as well!
So, can dogs eat Tater tots?
While a single Tater tot may not do much harm, dogs can get sick if they eat a lot of them. Frequently indulging in Tater tots can lead to obesity, heart disorders, diabetes, pancreatitis, sodium poisoning, and a host of other diseases.
Occasional snacking is fine, but don’t make it a routine.
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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding dietary needs.
I’m a pet lover who has years of pet sitting and grooming experience. I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with all pet owners so they can also keep their canine companions healthy, happy, and clean!