Sweet Potato

It was a sad day when I found out my dog couldn’t have sweet potato – especially for him. I literally can’t say the “s” word without seeing his ears perk up, tail wag and the beginnings of drool.

You might be wondering, what’s wrong with sweet potato? Well, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this tasty tuber on the surface – it’s in fact a great source of vitamin A, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. The problem is really what this carbohydrate – and the other popular healthier pet food ingredients like white potato and yam – turns into in your dog’s body: sugar.

The more science learns about what it takes to keep animals (and humans) healthy, the more we learn that a large part of a healthy immune system is a healthy amount of good bacteria and yeast in the body. This good flora works to take out the bad bacteria and yeast that is always trying to make its way in and upset the system. When something sets off the balanced system (in my dog’s case, hypothyroidism), the bad yeast and bacteria have a field day. Add to that the fact that sugar feeds yeast and that many of the healthier dog foods actually use the tubers over grains and more processed carbs to round out their foods, and you have the makings of a yeast problem … and then an itching problem.

If you’re reading this thinking, “But my dog loves sweet potato treats and he’s not itchy!” – then you are probably OK, in moderation. But if you start getting the telltale signs of yeast – chronic ear infections, a musty smell to your dog and itching – you might have to find a new treat or food.

Fortunately, most dogs are game for meat organ treats like lamb lung and beef liver. They’re my dog’s new favorites.

Learn more about the benefits of feeding your dog fewer carbs, here: