The quick answer: Yes. Sweet potatoes are a healthy, grain-free and gluten-free source of carbohydrates.
Fact: A yam as most of us know it is actually a variety of sweet potato. True yams are native to Africa and Asia and are drier and starchier. They can often be found in specialty and international grocery stores.
Benefits of sweet potatoes and yams
There are two major types of sweet potato: the firm variety with golden skin and paler flesh, and the soft kind with copper skin and orange flesh. With more nutrients than white potatoes, sweet potatoes are the healthier option for your pet. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, C, B6, potassium, calcium, iron and fiber. The variety with the orange flesh is also a good source of the antioxidant beta carotene.
Because they are naturally gluten-free and grain-free, sweet potatoes are often used as the main source of carbohydrates in foods made for dogs with allergies and food sensitivities.
Serve plain sweet potatoes steamed or boiled. You can also dehydrate unseasoned sweet potato slices for a crunchy treat.
Adding salt, seasonings, or cooking sweet potatoes in oil turns a healthy vegetable into an unhealthy indulgence. Certain seasonings are toxic to dogs, and salt can cause dehydration. Consuming too much oils and fats can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or pancreatitis which causes a painful abdomen.
The general rule of thumb is that added fruits and vegetables should make up no more than 10-20% of your pet’s diet. When home cooking meals for your pet, consult your veterinarian to determine a healthy amount of sweet potato your pet can eat on a daily basis.
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