If your dog likes to hang out with you while you’re cooking or eating, you’ve probably noticed that they are interested in every move you make. Dogs may long for a bite of a burger or bacon, but what should you do when your dog takes an interest in unexpected foods, like fruits and vegetables?
If you’re baking some yams and your dog is sniffing around the oven, here’s what you need to know before you offer your dog a taste.
What Is the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes?
People get yams and sweet potatoes mixed up all the time. Your grocery store might even mislabel the two. It’s an easy mistake to make.
Sweet potatoes and yams are very similar in a lot of respects. Most people think that the color of the flesh will tell you the whole story, but they’re looking in the wrong place. There are white-fleshed and orange-fleshed varieties of both yams and sweet potatoes.
The easiest way to tell the difference between a yam and a sweet potato is by looking at the shape and feeling the skin. The skin of a sweet potato is often smooth. They’ll have an irregular shape with points on either end. The skin of a yam is often rough, and the yam itself has more of a uniform, tubular shape.
Countries outside of the U.S. sometimes interchange the terms for a yam and a sweet potato. A particular vegetable known in Japan as “purple yam” is actually a sweet potato. Some countries use the term “yam” to refer to taro, which is a completely different root vegetable, though it also boasts a sweet flavor.
Are Yams Healthy?
Yams can be a great part of a balanced diet. One 150 gram serving of yam contains 2 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and significant amounts of minerals like potassium, manganese, and copper. Yams also contain a substantial amount of vitamin C, vitamin B5, folate, and thiamine. They’re a healthy whole carbohydrate that can help to supply the body with energy.
Can Dogs Eat Yams?
Although yams and sweet potatoes are different vegetables, your dog can safely enjoy both. Yams and sweet potatoes are nutritionally similar, can be fed to your dog in similar quantities, and are prepared in similar ways. If your dog already eats sweet potatoes, or dog food and treats prepared with sweet potatoes, chances are good that your dog will enjoy yams just as much.
What Will Happen if My Dog Eats Yams?
Generally, nothing remarkable will happen if your dog eats yams. They might be a little happier if they really enjoy yams. Expect some extra affection if yams are among your dog’s favorite special snacks.
Since yams contain fiber, your dog might experience easier bowel movements. However, if you suspect your dog may be constipated or is having difficulty relieving themselves, don’t rely on foods like yams or sweet potatoes to resolve the issue. You should speak to your vet about concerns regarding your dog’s digestive health.
How Often Can I Feed My Dog Yams?
Although cooked yams are perfectly safe for your dog to eat, they should only play a small role in your dog’s diet. Treats like fruit and dog-friendly vegetables are much healthier than processed foods, but they’re not necessary for your dog’s health if your dog is eating a well-rounded fresh dog food diet.
The right dog food will meet all of your dog’s nutritional requirements. Unless your veterinarian recommends otherwise, your dog shouldn’t require any supplemental foods or additions to their diet to help them stay healthy and maintain a healthy body weight.
Even still, many dog owners choose to give their dog special treats as training rewards or to break up the monotony of a repetitive diet. As long as treats like yams are given in moderation, and your dog tolerates yams without any signs of digestive upset, you can treat your dog with yams and sweet potatoes alike.
When giving your dog treats, it’s important to determine how to properly incorporate them into your dog’s diet. Most experts recommend utilizing something called the 90/10 rule. If 90% of your dog’s calories and nutritional needs come from a well balanced dog food, the other 10% can come from healthy treats. Keep any treat, including yams, within the 10% marker of the treat allowance.
How To Serve Yams to Dogs
Choosing organic yams will limit your dog’s exposure to potentially dangerous pesticides. Thoroughly wash yams before preparing them. Peeling the skin when preparing either veggie also helps to remove potential bacteria or pesticide residue. Since the skin of a yam may be tough to chew and digest, removing the skin is a safer choice.
Never give your dog raw or whole yams. Yams are very starchy and hard. You wouldn’t want to eat an uncooked yam, and your dog won’t want to either. They can be difficult to chew and may pose a choking hazard.
Serve your dog plain, cooked yams that have been cooled to room temperature. Don’t serve your dog yams that have been prepared with butter, oils, sugar, or spices. A yam casserole is nutritionally very different from a plain yam. Added sugars and added fats can be harmful to your dog’s health and can lead to excessive weight gain or other health issues.
Cut cooked yams into bite-sized pieces before serving them to your dog. If you cut the cooked yam to the size of treats your dog normally eats, your dog won’t have trouble chewing it. The amount of pieces you give your dog should be proportionate to your dog’s size. A large dog can consume up to half a medium-sized yam. A small dog can have a two-inch slice of a cooked yam.
How To Make Yam Dog Treats
Golden yams can be turned into jerky treats for your dog. All you need to do is slice the yam into thin coins and put them in a food dehydrator. If you don’t have a food dehydrator, you can put them in the oven on a baking sheet at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about four hours, flipping the yams halfway through.
Yam jerky can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about two weeks. If your dog really loves yams, you can make up a big batch and keep them fresh until you run out. This is a great way to keep a supply of healthy, simple, homemade treats handy in a multi-dog household.
Supporting Your Dog’s Health Holistically
VETCBD Hemp is all about holistic animal wellness. Whole foods like cooked yams are great treats for your pet, as long as they’re prepared appropriately, and served in suitable quantities. Your pet’s diet and digestive health are two key aspects of their overall wellness, and yams can play a great role in supporting both.
If you’re interested in supporting your pet’s digestive health in more ways, try VETCBD Hemp’s CBD oil. Our American-grown hemp oil is third-party lab tested for safety and purity. CBD works to support regular gastrointestinal health, support joint mobility, and could help maintain your pet’s sense of calm. Ask your vet about incorporating CBD into your dog’s holistic wellness plan.