Can Dogs Eat Tater Tots? + Frozen & Sweet Potato Tater Tots

Can Dogs Eat Tater Tots

If you own a dog, you will know how tempting it can be to give them a quick treat from the table, particularly when they give you the puppy dog eyes. But you should always check first, because whilst letting your dog eat tater tots might seem fine, there are some things you should consider.

Firstly, if you’ve ever let your dog eat a tater tot brown, the chances are they were probably ok and didn’t have a bad reaction, but the story could have been very different.

In this short helpful guide, I am going to explain why tater tots aren’t the best thing for a dog’s diet, particularly frozen tater tots that you cook at home. Firstly though; here’s the quick answer.

Can dogs eat tater tots? Dogs should not eat tater tots. Recipes will be high in bad fats, preservatives, and salts, plus tater tots will be baked or fried in oils, giving them a high calorie count. Some are also cooked with onion which is a toxic food for dogs.

Are tater tots bad for dogs?

There are multiple reasons why tater tots are bad for dogs, some of which I just briefly listed. To re-cap though, there’s the way they are cooked, the ingredients and seasoning, plus the calorific content.

Below I’ve split that all down into each part separately, starting off with the ingredients.

Why the ingredients are bad

A typical tater tot recipe will include shredded or riced potatoes that are then baked or fried with onions, sometimes bound with eggs and oil, and have salt and seasoning added.

Whilst a small amount of potato isn’t bad for dogs, raw potato in large quantities is. So, if you’re making home-made tater tots or have uncooked frozen ones, don’t let them fall on the floor.

Raw potato contains solanine which is toxic to some dogs – although they would need to eat huge quantities to become ill so it’s unlikely to be an issue.

In short, it’s unlikely that the potato in tater tots will cause a stomach upset to your dog when eaten in isolation.

However, onion is very toxic for dogs, and this is a core component of many tater tot products. Salt can also lead to sodium poisoning, and many frozen tater tots will be heavy on the seasoning.

Why the cooking method is bad

Then there’s the method in which tater tots are cooked. Some people like to fry them in vegetable oil which is a very unhealthy ingredient for canines. In fact, Banfield Vet Hospital have this to say:

“Vegetable oil, grease, butter, and bacon fat are not appropriate fats for your dog to be ingesting. These low-grade oils may do more damage to your pet’s health than good, potentially causing disorders like pancreatitis or obesity.”

The bottom line is the type of oil that tater tots are fried in are not good for dogs at all. The oil will contain a lot of the bad kind of fats; trans and saturated fat.

If you oven bake the tater tots, this will be a little bit healthier.

Why the calories and carbs are bad

Tater tots are high in carbohydrates. Carbs aren’t necessarily bad for dogs, as they provide them with the energy they need. However, too many carbs are a bad thing, and can lead to diabetes and obesity.

Dogs get enough carbs through high quality and commercially available pet food, so whilst my dog can eat tater tots, he doesn’t really need to!

And then there’s the calorie content to be aware of.

What I did was take two average sized and popular dog breeds to see how much they weighed and how many calories they need each day. Here’s what I found…

  • Dogs should only eat 25 calories for each pound they weigh each day.
  • Dogs should only have treats as 10% of their total daily food intake (the 90/10 rule). 

Based on those calculations, here’s are two popular dog types and how many calories they need each day: 

  • Average French Bulldog is 25 pounds: Should eat no more than 625 calories daily.
  • Average Labrador is 70 pounds: Should eat no more than 1,750 calories daily.

Keep these numbers in mind, as now I want to talk about whether dogs can have frozen tater tots, with a focus on the calories content in them.

Can dogs eat frozen tater tots?

Dogs should not eat frozen tater tots. They are known to be high in salts, fats, and preservatives, all of which are bad for dogs. 

  • 100g Ore-Ida Mini Tater Tots (172 calories): 28% French Bulldog / 10% Labrador daily intake.
  • 100g Walmart Own Brand Tater Tots (188 calories): 30% French Bulldog / 11% Labrador daily intake.

Can dogs eat sweet potato tater tots?

Sweet potato is a safe and healthy treat for dogs. However, it’s not as healthy when it’s used to create a sweet potato tater tot… but will be marginally healthier than standard frozen tater tots.

There will still be salt, sodium, and various oils used in cooking sweet potato tater tots, so they aren’t a snack I would let my own dog eat.

When to call a vet

Most dogs will eat a few tater tots and show no side effects. However, if your dog has eaten tater tots and you notice a change in behavior then please call your vet immediately.

Signs of sodium, onion, or food poisoning, include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting 

Conclusion

I don’t believe you should let your dog eat frozen tater tots. Whilst the occasional little treat is fine, letting your dog eat lots them is probably going to lead to a negative rather than positive reaction!

When you consider the calorie content too, just a few portions of tater tots can take up a huge proportion of your dog’s daily recommended intake…. Certainly, more than the 90/10 rule I like to stick to with my own dog who is a small to medium size.

You might also like…

I’ve researched lots of other foods too to see how suitable they are for dogs. You can read some of the more popular ones below:

Disclaimer: I am not a vet and the advice in this article is based on my own online research and common sense. Always consult with your vet before letting your dog eat tater tots or any other food made for human consumption. All dogs are different.

Marc Aaron

I write about the things I've learned about owning a dog, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way.

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