Key Takeaways

  • Yams, scientifically known as Dioscorea spp., are different from sweet potatoes 🍠
  • They’ve been used in South American and Caribbean cuisine for centuries, but can dogs eat yams? The answer is yes! ✔️
  • Yams contain certain vitamins and minerals that can benefit your pup’s health 💪
  • Raw yams contain bitter compounds which may cause an upset stomach in dogs
  • Cook them thoroughly without seasoning before giving them to your dog 🧑‍🍳

Nutritional Value of Yams: What’s Good for Dogs

Can dogs eat yams? As we mentioned earlier, yams contain:

  • vitamin C;
  • vitamin B6;
  • dietary fiber;
  • potassium.

Now, we need to establish what you mean by “yam.” Do you mean sweet potato, or the true yam, cultivated in South America and the Caribbean? The latter is a root vegetable with white or purple flesh, depending on its maturity. Because we already have an article on dogs eating sweet potatoes, we’ll focus on this other vegetable here.


Unlike sweet potatoes, yams unfortunately aren’t a good source of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. This means they won’t help promote a healthy coat or good vision. However, those with purple flesh do contain anthocyanins with strong antioxidant properties. Colorful potatoes for the win!


All potatoes contain a lot of carbohydrates. Carbs can be a good source of energy for dogs, but too many can cause weight gain. So if you’re thinking about feeding your dog some yams, white potatoes or sweet potatoes, moderation is key.

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To be more precise, sweet potatoes contain more simple sugar, which is why they have a sweeter flavor. But it’s only 6 grams per cup, and the rest of their carbs is starch.

Are Raw Yams or Sweet Potatoes Bad for Dogs?

You may have heard that raw potatoes contain solanine, a glycoalkaloid poison that can cause:

  • gastrointestinal upset;
  • vomiting;
  • diarrhea;
  • headache;
  • dizziness; or
  • death in some cases.

But neither yams nor sweet potatoes belong to the nightshade family Solanaceae. They aren’t true potatoes, and they don’t contain toxic compounds. So can dogs eat yams in their raw form? Not always.

Are Raw Yams or Sweet Potatoes Bad for Dogs?

Some species of yams contain bitter compounds which may cause an upset stomach in dogs. Cooking the yams makes them safe and more palatable. Unless you’re sure that your particular variety of yam can be eaten raw by people, your dog shouldn’t be having them uncooked. Raw sweet potatoes should be fine, though.

How to Prepare Yams for a Dog?

In human cuisine, yams are served in many different ways:

  • mashed;
  • boiled;
  • baked; or
  • as fries.

Some people also add them to dishes such as chili, soup, or curry. Others mash them with butter, milk, salt, pepper and garlic, or even add sugar, cinnamon, or nutmeg to satisfy their sweet tooth. But you must remember that if you want to give your dog some yams, you should always feed them without seasoning.

Some seasonings or vegetables may be toxic for dogs. Two examples are the popular onions and garlic. Spices like cloves and nutmeg are also harmful to canines. If you want to treat your dog with some yams, you can bake them or boil them until they’re soft enough to be eaten.

Treat Idea 😋

Mix cooked yams with carrots and ground beef for a tasty and healthy treat your pup is sure to love. Simply boil the yams until they’re fork-tender, mash them together with some grated carrots, and then stir in ground beef. Bake this mixture for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, and then serve it to your dog in small portions.

How Much Yam Can I Give My Dog?

This question doesn’t have a definite answer because it primarily depends on your dog’s weight and any health conditions they may have. In general, it’s recommended not to give more than three tablespoons of mashed yams to a large dog. Again, it’s always best to check with your veterinarian about the specific diet for your pet.

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How Much Yam Can I Give My Dog?

If your dog doesn’t like the taste of yams, there’s no need to add them to their diet. Instead, you can replace yams with other healthy and tasty vegetables or rely on special dog treats that meet your dog’s needs for a well-balanced diet. Remember, dog food should always be the majority of what they eat.

Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Yams?

The answer to the question “Can dogs eat yams?” is yes. Yams can be a healthy addition to a dog’s diet, and they shouldn’t be harmful to your dog in moderate amounts. There are only a few rules to remember before feeding your dog yams or sweet potatoes. You should always make sure that the potatoes are cooked properly and don’t contain any other ingredients such as garlic or onion. These foods are toxic to dogs.

If your dog enjoys the taste of yams, feel free to add them to their diet, but never overfeed them. If you’re still not sure if your dog can eat yams, don’t hesitate to ask the veterinarian for their professional advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is Better for Dogs: Yams or Sweet Potatoes?

Both vegetables have nutritional benefits, and dogs likely won’t notice much of a difference between the two. However, if you’re looking to provide your pup with the healthiest option possible, sweet potatoes have an edge over yams. They contain much higher amounts of beta-carotene, which is essential for vision and skin health.

What Kind of Yams Can Dogs Eat?

All yams that can be enjoyed by people are also safe for dogs. So if you’re a dog owner that often incorporates different species of yams into their cooking, don’t worry! Small amounts of yams can be beneficial for your pup.

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Can I Give My Dog Yams for Constipation?

Yes, you can give your dog yams for constipation. Yams are a good source of fiber, which can help to relieve constipation in dogs. However, if a small amount doesn’t help, contact a vet instead of feeding your pet more vegetables.

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