Do you feel bad that you didn’t share your Tater tots with your dog and puppy today? If you, too, have wondered whether or not Tater Tots pose a health risk to canines, you’ve found the answer here in our article. Stop beating yourself up; we have the solution for you.
Tater tots are not safe for canine consumption. There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t feed your dog Tater Tots, including the fact that they are high in fat, salt, and calories; they are fried in oils that are harmful to dogs; they contain preservatives; and they are high in calories.
Tater tots, like hash browns, can cause a slew of health problems in canines. To understand how the ingredients in this tiny human snack can cause such serious problems for our dear canine companions, we must first look at what exactly is in the Tater tots.
What are Tater tots?
Deep-fried potato nuggets called “tater tots” are made from finely grated potatoes. You can’t go to the US without seeing people munching on them.
Invented in the United States, tater tots are a trademark of the Ore-Ida company. They are widely consumed across the country and are considered a staple food.
What are Tater tots made of?
Potatoes, oil, salt, seasoning, flour, and flour are the main ingredients in tater tots.
Finely shredded boiled potatoes are combined with flour, salt, and other seasonings. The dough is formed into “tots” by rolling it into cylinders or ovals, and then fried in vegetable oil.
Are Tater tots bad for dogs?
The tator tot is a human food that dogs probably shouldn’t eat. Tater tots are terrible for dogs’ health and could lead to serious illness or obesity if fed to them on a regular basis. Even for humans, some of the seasonings used in Tater Tots can be harmful.
Read on to learn about the potential side effects of each ingredient in Tater tots when fed to dogs.
As of late, the FDA has identified potatoes as a possible cause of a life-threatening heart condition in canines. Dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, is a disease characterized by a gradual enlargement of the heart and a subsequent worsening of cardiac function. Extreme danger of heart failure exists for affected dogs.
While it might take more than one potato for this to happen, it’s best to avoid giving them to your dog.
Tater tots get their crunchy texture and golden color from being deep fried in a lot of oil. However, all that oil is very dangerous for dogs.
Greasy food can irritate the dog’s pancreas and cause digestive issues. It’s been linked to canine obesity and heart disease in the long run.
To a greater extent than with other common snacks, the sodium content of Tater tots is elevated by the high amounts of salt used in their preparation.
A half-cup serving of Ore-Ida Tater tots, for instance, has almost 310mg of sodium. Most dogs shouldn’t consume this much salt in a day. It can even be toxic for toy breeds of dogs.
The flavor of commercially available Tater tots is enhanced by the addition of herbs and flavors. Some of these spices, however, can be harmful to dogs. Onion and garlic are commonly used to enhance the flavor of various dishes. In addition to causing anemia, both of these ingredients are toxic to canines.
Dogs can safely consume flour, and many commercial dog foods include it to enhance texture. In order to achieve their signature crispiness, however, most Tater tot recipes call for flour. Tater tots get their crunch from the oil they’re fried in, which is absorbed by the flour. So, while flour itself is fine for canines, its use in Tater Tots is not.
Fun Fact: In addition to being a popular human snack food, chicken nuggets share many of Tater tots’ key ingredients. Similarly to potato chips, chicken nuggets are made with flour, salt, oil, and seasonings.
Why the ingredients are bad
Recipes for tater tots typically call for potatoes to be shredded or riced, then baked or fried with onions, sometimes bound with eggs and oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper.
While moderate amounts of potato are fine for canines, large amounts of raw potato should be avoided. Don’t drop uncooked tater tots from the freezer or the kitchen counter if you’re making them from scratch.
Some dogs are sensitive to solanine, which is found in raw potatoes, but it takes a lot of potatoes for a dog to get sick from eating just one.
In conclusion, the potato in tater tots probably won’t upset your dog’s stomach if it’s the only thing he eats.
However, many tater tot products contain onion, which is highly toxic to dogs. Similarly to how too much salt can cause a health problem, too much salt in your frozen tater tots can be dangerous.
Why the cooking method is bad
And then there’s the tater tot cooking technique. Unfortunately, some people like to deep-fry them in vegetable oil, which is extremely toxic to dogs. In fact, according to Banfield Animal Hospital:
Avoid feeding your dog unhealthy fats like vegetable oil, lard, butter, and bacon drippings. These cheap oils could be harmful to your pet’s health and lead to conditions like pancreatitis and obesity.
The type of oil used to fry tater tots is not suitable for canines. Unfortunately, the oil is high in both trans and saturated fats.
You can make this a little bit healthier by baking the tater tots in the oven.
Why the calories and carbs are bad
Carbohydrates can be found in abundance in tater tots. Dogs need carbohydrates for energy, so they’re not always bad. However, consuming an unhealthy amount of carbohydrates is linked to weight gain and disease.
My dog can eat tater tots if he wants to, but he doesn’t need to because he gets plenty of carbohydrates from his regular diet of high-quality commercial pet food.
The calorie count is also something to think about.
I took two common dog breeds of a reasonable size and calculated their daily calorie requirements. Now look at this treasure I’ve unearthed…
- Each day, your dog should consume only 25 calories worth of food for every pound it weighs.
- The 90/10 rule states that a dog’s total daily food intake, including treats, should not exceed 90% of the total.
Here are the daily calorie requirements for two common dog breeds, based on your calculations:
- For a 25-pound French Bulldog, the recommended daily caloric intake is 625.
- A 70-pound Labrador needs no more than 1,750 calories per day.
Keep these figures in mind as I discuss the calorie content of frozen tater tots and the question of whether or not they are safe for dogs to eat.
Can dogs eat frozen tater tots?
Frozen tater tots are not safe for dogs to eat. They are notoriously unhealthy for dogs due to their high levels of salt, fat, and preservatives.
- 100 grams of Ore-Ida Mini Tater Tots (172 calories): A daily diet of 28% French Bulldog and 10% Labrador.
- With 188 calories per 100 grams, Walmart’s own brand Tater Tots are a satiating snack. Consumption of French Bulldogs at 30%, Labradors at 11%.
Can dogs eat sweet potato tater tots?
Dogs can enjoy a sweet potato treat without worrying about its safety. But when processed into a sweet potato tater tot, its nutritional value decreases significantly. but will have a slight improvement in nutritional value over regular frozen tater tots.
I wouldn’t give my dog a snack made with sweet potato tater tots because they still contain salt, sodium, and oils used in the cooking process.
When shouldn’t you feed Tater tots to your dog?
Dogs that are elderly, overweight, diabetic, sensitive to sodium, rarely exercise, or born with heart or kidney disease should not be fed tater tots.
Adding more salt to your dog’s diet by giving them Tater tots after they’ve already had their fill for the day can cause them to become dehydrated or have excessive urination.
Don’t give your dog Tater tots unless you’ve prepared them yourself using healthy, human-grade ingredients. Tater tots purchased from a restaurant or grocery store may contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs.
When to call a vet
The vast majority of dogs can eat a few tater tots with no ill effects. But if your dog has consumed tater tots and you see a change in behavior, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Food poisoning symptoms can include:
- Absence of hunger
- severe dehydration
- elevated frequency of urination
Do Tater tots give any nutritional benefit to your dog?
Carbohydrates, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and vitamin C can all be found in potatoes. However, the fat and sodium content of tater tots is unhealthy, so it’s best to avoid them. M
Not to mention, dogs shouldn’t eat potatoes anyway. Your dog’s nutritional needs can be met with much less risk from other, more reliable sources.
What if my dog accidentally ate Tater tots?
Without the addition of any sort of seasoning, tater tots are perfectly safe to eat. You shouldn’t worry too much if your dog eats a few.
But fried foods, like Tater tots, can give your dog an upset stomach. Keep an eye out for any signs of sickness in your pet’s behavior, and if you notice anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment with the vet right away.
Your dog will be fine if it accidentally eats a Tater tot, but a diet heavy in fried foods will significantly decrease its lifespan.
Symptoms to watch for
Your pet probably won’t show any obvious signs of sickness after eating fried foods like tater tots or French fries. Nonetheless, they are harmful to your dog’s health in the long run.
If your dog eats too many Tater Tots, he may get sick and have to get rid of them through vomiting or defecation. Tater tots may be harmless, but if he develops toxicity symptoms after eating them, it may be due to the excessive salt content or the presence of onion or garlic.
Some of the signs of sodium poisoning are:
- Urinating a lot more than is normal.
- Spasm in the muscle.
- Stool that is loose or running.
Onion and garlic toxicity can cause the following symptoms:
- Trouble breathing.
- Reduced hunger.
Fun Fact: Potatoes are actually a type of vegetable. In order to preserve the antioxidants and nutrients, steaming vegetables like Brussel sprouts is the best method for feeding them to your dog.
Treatments if your dog has Tater tots poisoning
The consumption of more than a few Tater tots may necessitate a trip to the vet, especially if your furry friend is elderly or has preexisting medical conditions. To protect their pets, owners of diabetic, cardiac, renal, or sodium-sensitive dogs should avoid feeding them fried foods.
An unpleasant meal is usually followed by vomiting and diarrhea for the dog. The veterinarian will decide what to do if the condition persists for an extended period of time or if the dog shows signs of toxicity.
Medications can be given by the vet to help dogs keep their food down in the event of prolonged vomiting or diarrhea. The dogs may receive intravenous fluids to maintain their energy levels during their rehabilitation.
Never attempt to treat your pet without first consulting a veterinarian.
What are some dog-friendly and safe alternatives to Tater tots?
The carb and fat content of tater tots is high. Extra fats are unnecessary for canines. Similarly, tater tots are not the healthiest food option because they contain a lot of carbohydrates. These nutritious options can provide your canine companions with all the carbohydrates they need:
- Coconut. In addition to its healthy fats and carbohydrates, coconut is a good source of fuel. In dogs, it has been shown to improve immunity and reduce inflammation. This treatment has the added benefit of giving their coat a luxurious sheen.
- Bananas. Bananas are not only a great source of carbohydrates, but also of potassium and vitamins. Banana slices can be dried in the sun to create a crunchy snack.
- Apple. Apples have a lot of beneficial carbs, including natural sugars and fiber. It’s best to slice them up and take out the seeds before feeding them to your dog.
- Pumpkin. In addition to helping the dog’s digestive system and immune system, the high fiber content of this food makes it a great choice for canine nutrition.
- Carrots. Carrots are a delicious and healthy carbohydrate source that also boasts a plethora of vitamins and a crunchy texture. Make them more manageable by cutting them into smaller pieces, or feed them baby carrots as is.
- Doggy chow, if you will. Dogs can choose from a wide selection of treats in a wide range of flavors. They contain only healthy, dog-friendly ingredients and can provide all the nutrition your pet needs.
- Tater tots cooked at home. You can prevent your dog from getting sick or experiencing toxicity by making Tater tots out of ingredients that are safe for dog consumption.
How do I make Tater tots for my dog at home?
Homemade tator tots are a much better choice for your health than their packaged counterparts. You can make homemade Tater tots for your furry friend, and you get to decide what goes into them, so you can be sure they’re getting only the healthiest ingredients.
Sweet potatoes, cauliflower, zucchini, pumpkin, and broccoli are all great alternatives to potatoes. Your dog will benefit greatly from eating any of these healthy vegetables rather than potatoes.
The Tater tots can be baked in the oven instead of fried. The fat content can be kept to a minimum by baking. Get rid of the seasoning or swap it out for something that dogs can eat. You should limit your intake of salt as well.
Your furry friends and you can both benefit from the nutritious, wholesome, and deliciousness of some homemade Tater tots.
Conclusion: Can dogs eat Tater tots?
Dogs can get sick from eating too many Tater Tots, even though one probably wouldn’t do them much harm. Constantly snacking on Tater tots increases your risk of developing numerous health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, and sodium poisoning.
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Veterinary care, diagnosis, and treatment are beyond the scope of this website’s content. Whenever you have a dietary-related question, it’s best to consult with your vet or a medical professional.