There is some speculation that feeding your dog potatoes is a bad thing. There is some truth to the notion, and some false allegations as well. The truth is, potatoes can provide certain nutrients to a dog’s diet that they may otherwise miss. However, they aren’t crucial to the overall health of most dogs, and in certain cases where they are, can be added in other ways.
The fact remains that some dogs just won’t eat a potato. Often when potatoes were included in the food, they may be eaten around and left in the bowl for you to clean out. Other instances may be that you just don’t want to take a chance on the health concerns with potatoes. Whatever the case, we have you covered with the best potato free dog food.
Top Potato-Free Dog Foods: Quick Look
Each stage of your dog’s life—puppy, adult, and senior—will be reviewed in this article. The food for these various stages should be the best you can find, and we have the top picks for you here. *Note : Sweet Potatoes don’t carry the same risks as white potatoes.
- Best Overall Dog Food – Merrick Limited Ingredient Lamb and Chickpea
- Best Premium Dog Food – Ollie Healthy Turkey Feast
- Best Value Dog Food – American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato
- Best Dog Food for Seniors – Nutro Ultra Senior
- Best Dog Food for Puppies – American Journey Lamb and Sweet Potato
Are Potatoes Bad For Dogs?
There isn’t a simple answer for how bad a potato is for dogs. There are concerns, of course, as well as rumors, and facts. Let’s look at those now.
Reasons Potatoes are Good for Dogs
Potatoes bring a lot of vitamins and minerals to the table (or the dog bowl, as it were). Eating a potato will give your dog vitamins C, B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, and protein. They also include low sugar and about two grams of dietary fiber per potato.
These are all things your dogs need in their diet. However, potatoes may not be the best source for these nutrients. Proteins, for example, are better served through meats. Dogs are designed to process meat proteins much better and more thoroughly than grain and vegetable proteins.
The vitamins and minerals can also be found in meats and other vegetables, fruits or grains. Generally, though, you won’t find all of them in the quantities a potato offers in any other individual ingredient.
Reasons Potatoes are Bad for Dogs
Potatoes can be bad for dogs for some reasons, most of those reasons, though, can be avoided. When you hear tell of not feeding potatoes to dogs, it is primarily because of solanine.
Solanine is a poison that is present in raw potatoes and other edible plants of the nightshade family. Tomatoes, for example, also share this quality. When a potato is cooked (baked or boiled) the levels of solanine drop dramatically.
It is because of this poison that potatoes and dogs don’t work well together. As long as the potato is cooked thoroughly and has nothing added (salt, spices, butter, etc.) the potato is perfectly harmless to the canine and his or her digestive tract.
Cooking also reduces the other vitamins and minerals as well, though not as drastically. Since raw food diets are common and raw potatoes are not advised, it is easy to see why so many people have reason to leave them out altogether.
Identifying Potatoes on the Label
Potatoes can be found on the ingredient labels in three major forms. However, before we cover that you should be aware that sweet potatoes are not the same thing. Sweet potatoes are added to dog food all the time, without the solanine dangers. Seeing a sweet potato listed on your dog’s food is nothing to worry about at all.
The first thing you want to look for when avoiding potatoes in your dog’s food is the actual potato. Any time a white potato is used in part or whole, it will be listed as such.
Next, you will want to look for the starch. Potato starch is generally used in a lot of grain free kibble. Grains tend to be used to hold the kibble together in their little shapes. Without the grains, starches are used, and the most common binding agent is potato starch.
The last option is the protein. Potato protein on the label shows that there is less meat protein available in the kibble. It also is unclear how well dogs can digest starches and starch proteins. This is one major reason for people wanting to avoid potatoes at all.
Best Dog Foods Without Potatoes
Following is the list of the best potato free dog food options. You should note that if you go by brand alone, you will need to double check the ingredient lists. Some flavors will contain potato or potato derivatives while other flavors by the same brand will not.
Adult – Best Overall – Merrick Limited Ingredient Lamb and Chickpea
Merrick limited ingredient recipes have a few varieties. Some of them do contain potato or potato starch. One of the ones that doesn’t is the lamb and chickpea recipe. The kibble has a lot of added vitamins and minerals to help promote bone, joint and muscle growth. You will also find a rather high crude protein level (about 26 percent) from the lamb and lamb meal ingredients.
The first five ingredients are deboned lamb, lamb meal, chickpeas, lentils, and peas.
What Customers Like
- No potato or potato derivatives.
- Natural lamb and lamb meal proved great flavor and high meat protein.
- Contains over 20 vitamins and minerals.
- Kibble can be tougher on small teeth and may not be suitable for toy breeds.
- Doesn’t mix well with water if making a gravy as it has a high moisture content and tends to fall apart.
Adult – Best Value – American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato
American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato is potato free and lacking in any potato derivatives. Like most other brands, there are American Journey recipes that do contain potatoes. If you are going to look for an alternate recipe, double check the ingredient list.
The Salmon recipe uses sweet potato and beet pulp for the start that holds the kibble shape, as well as adding flavors to the meal. You will find a very high crude protein amount (32 percent) that carries with it a natural crude fat amount (15 percent). If your dog is prone to weight gain or overeating, you will need to ration the portions carefully.
The first five ingredients are deboned salmon, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, sweet potatoes.
What Customers Like
- Easily digested and flavorful kibble for most adult dogs.
- Mixes well with water for gravy or wet food as a topper.
- Zero potato or derivatives in the ingredients.
- Picky eaters may not like the flavors of some of the recipes.
- Limited potato-free options.
Adult – Best Super Premium – Ollie Healthy Turkey Feast
Ollie makes human-grade premium dog food by the order. They use only all-natural ingredients and each batch is hand crafted for quality and flavor. When selecting a super-premium dog food, you will need to pay special attention to the ingredients in each recipe. As an example, Ollie only has one recipe that does not contain potato: Healthy Turkey Feast.
If you don’t mind feeding the same flavors day in and day out, the Healthy Turkey feast is a great option for a potato free food.
The first five ingredients are ground turkey, pumpkin, turkey thigh, turkey liver, and turkey heart.
What Customers Like
- Human-grade food for all dogs and all life stages.
- Portion control is easy and the food leaves little to zero waste.
- Added vitamins and minerals to support healthy growth and digestion.
- Portion control can take a bit to get used to.
- Buying in bulk is difficult while maintaining freshness.
Puppy – Best Dry Food – American Journey Lamb and Sweet Potato
American Journey has a few puppy recipes designed to promote healthy growth, hips, bones and teeth. You will find added vitamins, minerals and high-quality meat proteins in all of them. For the lamb and sweet potato recipe, what you won’t find are white potatoes.
The dry kibble uses sweet potato as the main starch for binding the kibble together. It also comes with high crude protein, fats and fiber (30%, 12% and 5%, respectively).
The first five ingredients are deboned lamb, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, and chickpeas.
What Customers Like
- Easy to chew and digest kibble, even for smaller breed teeth and mouths.
- High in crude protein to promote growth and nutrition.
- Mixes well with a wet food topper for added nutrition.
- Can break down if mixed with water for gravy.
- Not all puppy recipes are potato free.
Puppy – Best Wet Food – Nutro Puppy Tender Chicken and Oatmeal
Nutro Puppy isn’t known for being potato free, but they do make a few options. The most popular and well received of which is the chicken and oatmeal flavor. This uses oats and egg for the added minerals and vitamins. You will also get a relatively high crude protein content (9 percent) from the chicken, though it isn’t as high as some other recipes.
The wet food is designed for all breed types and sizes, though you will be feeding a lot less to smaller breeds and younger pups. Portion control is crucial, especially in breeds known for overeating and weight gain.
The first five ingredients are chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, ground rice, and beef liver.
What Customers Like
- Mixes well with dry food as a topper.
- Has a lot of vitamins and minerals without relying on grain proteins.
- Keeps puppies active and healthy.
- Contains higher crude fat than some brands.
- Easily overeaten, leading to possible weight gain is not watched closely.
Senior – Best Dry Food – Nutro Ultra Senior
Nutro also makes a formula that is potato free for senior dogs as well. The formula is limited in ingredients compared to most other dry senior brands and has more vitamins and minerals from natural sources (and added separately). You will find that most senior dogs don’t have any problems eating or digesting the recipe as it is designed to break down easily for better nutrient absorption.
You will have to be cautious when selecting a recipe as Nutro, while a great option, isn’t known for their potato free varieties, and there aren’t many to choose from.
The first five ingredients are chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice, brewers rice, and rice bran.
What Customers Like
- High crude protein and vitamins for healthy late stage productivity.
- Easily digested formula for older stomachs and digestive tracts.
- Keeps the dogs alert, active and healthy.
- High in crude fats, which is good, but can lead to late-life obesity if not monitored.
- Doesn’t mix well with wet foods as toppers.
Senior – Best Wet Food – Blue Buffalo Freedom Senior Chicken Recipe
Blue Buffalo has one of the widest ranges of recipes and flavors for all life stages when it comes to premium brands. Their senior formulas are no different. However, you will need to double check the ingredients for potatoes, as not all their senior formulas are potato free. Some will have potato starch, which still counts as white potato, so read the label carefully.
The Freedom recipe for senior dogs is packed with vitamins, minerals as well as vegetables, fruits and berries. Most dog breeds will love the tastes and enjoy it as a treat mixed with dry food.
The first five ingredients are chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, and peas.
What Customers Like
- Easily digested and full of digestive tract health-promoting vitamins.
- Works well when used as a topper for dry foods.
- A great combination of crude protein to crude fat ratio.
- Some smaller breeds may find the moisture too stew-like in consistency.
- Can easily lead to weight gain if not watched closely.