Sunday, 11 April 2021

Sweet Potato, Potato and Yam Are Not Good for Your Dog and Cat

Sweet potato, potato and yams are not good for dogs and cats
  ★ 3 min read

Sweet potatoes, potatoes, and yams are not good for dogs and cats. These starchy root vegetables cause a wide range of long-term health issues for dogs and cats.


Your dog and cat may experience immediate symptoms of hypersensitivity to starchy root vegetables. But for most dogs and cats, health issues from consuming these starchy roots, develop over time. How and when adverse effects surface depends on your dog and cat’s overall circumstances.


Sweet potato and yam are not better than potato for your dog and cat. Dogs and cats can consume high glycemic index, and glycemic load foods such as sweet potatoes, yams and potatoes. But dogs and cats do not thrive on these foods.


Many pet guardians are aware that potato is not a good choice for their pet. But sweet potato and yam are still popular.




There's a misconception that sweet potato and yam are lower glycemic foods than potato. This misconception is harming dogs and cats. To set the record straight and resolve this harmful misconception, we need to talk about glycemic index and glycemic load.


Glycemic Index


The glycemic index (GI) measures the blood-glucose rating of carbohydrate content foods. Pure glucose is the baseline to compare how other foods effect blood-glucose level.


High GI foods cause a rapid spike in blood glucose followed by a quick decline in blood glucose. The rapid spike in blood glucose forces the pancreas to increase insulin secretion.

- Increased demand to produce insulin burdens the pancreas.

- High GI food doesn’t provide sustainable energy.

- The short-term effect is hunger and poor energy levels.

- The long-term effect is a heightened risk of inflammatory issues and disease.


Low GI foods don't place a heavy burden on the pancreas. As well, low GI foods help the body sustain energy levels. Let's see how sweet potato, potato and yam compare on the glycemic index.


Sweet potato

Baked for 45 minutes -  high GI

Boiled for 30 minutes - low GI



Baked for 45 minutes - high GI.

Boiled for 30 minutes - high GI.



Baked for 45 minutes - high GI.

Boiled for 35 minutes - high GI.


The only low GI option is a boiled sweet potato. BUT that boiled sweet potato isn’t good for your dog or cat. Why? Because glycemic load is more important than glycemic index. This is the crucial point many people aren’t aware of.


We need to talk about glycemic load.


Glycemic Load


Glycemic Load (GL) measures the carbohydrate in a food.


Potato, sweet potato and yam are high glycemic load foods. The adverse effects of these root veggies on the body are similar to:

Grains: barley, corn, oatmeal, rice, etc.

Pulses: peanuts (and peanut butter), chick peas, lentils, navy beans, soy beans, etc. See the complete list here.


High glycemic load foods cause inflammatory response in your dog and cat’s body.


Dogs and cats have evolved to thrive on a diet consisting of:

- Animal protein: muscle meat, organ from ie. small prey, poultry, fish and eggs, etc.

- Bone and other sources of calcium such as eggshell

- Omega fatty acids

- Appropriate plant material with a low glycemic load


No sweet potatoes, no yams, no potatoes. No grains. No legumes.


Long-term consumption of sweet potato, yams and potatoes contribute to:




Diabetes (Type 2)

Gall bladder issues

Gastrointestinal issues and disease

Heart disease (cardiovascular disease)

Immune System Disruption

Kidney issues

Liver issues

Metabolic disease

Oral health issues and disease (e.g. gingivitis, plaque, periodontal disease)


Other inflammatory issues and chronic disease


Appropriate Alternatives to Sweet Potato, Potato and Yam


Dogs benefit from antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals obtained from appropriate plant material. You’ll find a lengthy list of plant material for dogs in this article.


Cats are obligate carnivores. Cats don't need vegetables in their diet. A small amount of plant material (ie. herbs and nutraceuticals) can be beneficial when properly selected to suit the individual cat's requirements.


Protect your dog and cat’s long-term health. Don’t include sweet potato, potato, or yams in your dog and cat’s diet.


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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld 




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Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats