Are Tater Tots Safe For Dogs To Eat?


Dogs will happily try and eat anything they come across on the floor and will also give you those puppy dog eyes to try and convince you to give them some of the food on your plate as well.

Whilst the odd bit of chicken or some vegetables here or there won’t do them any harm, chances are you could be putting your dog at risk by giving them certain food from your meals.

One of those treats may have been tater tots, and whilst your dog may have been fine and thoroughly enjoyed their little treat, the scenario could have been very different as these tater tots are just not made for our canine companions.

This guide will take you through why tater tots should be kept out of your dog’s diet, what’s in them that makes them so bad, and also what foods from our meals CAN we give to our pooches?

So, are tater tots safe for puppies and dogs to eat?

No, you should avoid giving any kind of tater tot to your dog to eat. These recipes are high in fat and contain lots of salts and preservatives which are bad for your dog’s health. Some are cooked in oils which makes them high in calories and will easily eat up the number of calories your dog should be consuming in one day in just one go. 

Some companies cook their tater tots with onion or use onion seasoning or fresh onion in the mixture to help give their tater tots such a good taste. However, onions are toxic for dogs; they’re one of the most dangerous human foods to give them. 

Below, we’ll go into more detail about why these tasty human treats are so bad for our furry friends.

The ingredients in tater tots are bad for your dog

Raw Potato

A small amount of cooked potato won’t cause any harm to your dog’s health, however, if your dog manages to get the paws on a number of raw tater tots whether that be homemade ones or frozen store-bought ones, they could prove to be problematic. 

Raw potato contains a poison called solanine which is toxic to many dogs, however, your dog would have to eat a large number of raw potato tater tots to encounter any issues. Smaller dogs will be more prone to experiencing any symptoms from eating raw potato, whilst larger dogs will have to eat a huge amount to even feel the effects of raw potato in their body.

If your dog has diabetes, then you should not give them raw potatoes or any potatoes as this can cause their blood sugar to spike and may cause them to feel unwell or lethargic.

So whilst it isn’t super dangerous, it’s probably best to leave your frozen tater tots ready to bake on the cooking pan rather anywhere near your dog’s stomach. 

Salt

Tater tots can also contain high levels of sodium, especially tater tots that you buy in the store as they rely heavily on salt to give them that delicious crunch and flavoring. Not only will your dog experience major thirst from scoffing on some tater tots, but they could also experience sodium poisoning. 

If your dog manages to eat a whole plate of tater tots, then you could see them experience symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, high temperatures and they may even feel and look down in the dumps.

If your dog has consumed a lot of salt from foods like tater tots, you should try taking them to the vets as they will be able to restore their sodium and electrolyte levels to normal.

If you’re unable to get your dog to a vet then you should try giving them fresh water in small amounts to rehydrate them, although you should avoid giving them large bowls of water. Giving your dog too much water when they have sodium poisoning can increase the risk of them developing fluid in the brain.

Your dog’s food will contain minimum levels of salt to support your dog’s growth and development so there is no need to give them foods that have high levels of salt in them.

Onions

As we’ve discussed above, some tater tots are cooked or mixed with onion to give them a unique flavor, however, whilst these may be delicious to us, they could be deadly for our canine best friends.

It only takes a small amount of onion to be present in food to have a toxic effect on dogs, so you should always make sure there are no onions in any food you give them including foods that may have been cooked with onion powder.

Onions contain a toxic called N-propyl disulfide, which breaks down red blood cells and causes dogs to become anemic. Whilst your dog may not develop straight away, then quickly begin vomiting or having diarrhea within an hour. Other symptoms to look out for are lethargy, fainting, and if your dog is producing reddish urine. 

If your dog has ingested a tater tot that is cooked with onion, or any other food that contains onion for that sake (even if it’s a small amount) you should take them straight to the vet.

The vet may induce vomiting if your dog has recently just eaten the onion and they may need to keep them in their care for some time to make sure the blood work is all ok and that the onion hasn’t caused any toxic effects 

The cooking method can be harmful to your dog’s health

Some people like to cook their tater tots in vegetable oil to get them nice and crispy, and whilst they do make them taste better, the oil is very harmful to your dog’s health and can cause issues like obesity or even pancreatitis. 

Baking your tater tots in the oven is a lot healthier way to cook them and achieve that crispy exterior, however, you should still avoid giving them to your dog at all costs. 

Carbs and Calories are not a good match for your dog

Tater tots are high in carbohydrates and whilst they’ll give your dog lots of energy, carbohydrates are actually one of the most calorie-dense macronutrients alongside fats and can quickly cause obesity or diabetes for your dog.

Your dog will be able to get all their macronutrients from their dog food, so there is no need to give them extra from your meals, especially ones that have lots of calories.

Tater tots also have high-calorie contents due to the carbohydrates and fats used to make the mixture, however, a dog eating only a small quantity of tater tots could easily exceed their recommended calorie allowance for the day.

Dogs should only eat 25 calories for each pound that they weigh, so if you had a chihuahua who weighs 6lbs, then they should only eat 150 calories of food a day. A larger dog like a labrador weighs around 70lbs and should no more than 1,750 calories a day. 

Frozen tater tots from brands like Ore-Ida contain 160 per 9 pieces of tater tots, with other brands having calories of up to 200 per serving. This could easily exceed a small dog’s calorie allowance for the day and that’s without any of their meals and treats as well

What about sweet potato tater tots?

Baked sweet potato is a healthy treat to give your dog now and again, but you shouldn’t get carried away and give them sweet potato tater tots as well, as these will still contain high levels of salt, fats, and oils.

What should I do if my dog eats some tater tots?

If your dog has managed to convince you to give them some tater tots, or they’ve sneakily stolen some, then they might experience some minor symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, if this continues for a long time then you should call the vet and they’ll advise you what to do.

You should try to make sure your dog drinks plenty of water if they happen to eat some tater tots so they don’t get dehydrated from the salt content in them. 

What food can I give my dog off my plate?

We know how it can be when your dog gives you the eyes when you’re enjoying a meal, so if you do want to give them a little treat, below are some suitable foods that are safe and healthy to give them from your plate (as long as they’re not cooked in oil or covered in seasoning/salt):

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Eggs
  • Peanut Butter
  • Fish
  • Greek Yoghurt
  • Lean Meats
  • Other Raw Vegetables

However, the more you give your dog food from your meals, the more they’ll beg every time you eat as they know you’ll give in. This is especially annoying if you have guests over a lot as they may not appreciate your furry friend sitting at their feet and glaring at them.

Conclusion

Even though a tater tot is not going to severely harm your dog, you should avoid giving any to them as they contain unhealthy ingredients that are high in calories and can cause obesity. 

It could only take one or two tater tots for your small pooch to exceed their calories for the day, so try giving them healthy alternatives like carrots or apples instead.

 

Kerry White

Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.

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