It’s a well-known fact that dogs love to eat anything they see us eating. This is true even if you’re eating something that tastes just awful. You could be eating dirt and your dog would want to try it. Just think how much your dog wants to try things that really do taste good like, for example, french fries. Fried and salty, dogs can’t resist them. But can dogs eat french fries safely? Are they okay for your dog to eat? They’re just potatoes, right? Not really. We’ll tell you more about french fries and your dog below.
French Fry Nutrition
French fries (or “chips” in British countries) are generally potatoes that are cut into strips and deep fried. They can also be made from sweet potatoes. You can also bake them using less or no oil. French fries may indeed be French in origin, dating from around the time just before the French Revolution in the 1780s. Thomas Jefferson requested them from his French chef in the White House around 1802.
There are lots of different kinds of french fries and they can have slightly different nutritional levels. They come as shoestring style, crinkle cut, with and without salt added, steak fries, and so on. The information provided here is for fast food french fries fried in vegetable oil.
These fries have 5 percent protein, 48 percent fat, and 47 percent carbohydrates. A large serving (169 grams) is very low in cholesterol but it contains trans fat. It has 539 calories, 63.4 grams of carbohydrates, and 5.9 grams of dietary fiber. It has 28.8 grams of fat and 6.4 grams of protein.
The large serving does contain some useful amounts of vitamins and minerals. It has notable amounts of vitamin K, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, copper, and manganese.
That doesn’t mean that french fries are a healthy food option for you or your dog. The high amounts of sodium and trans fat found in most fast food french fries, along with the calories, make them a heart risk for humans. The excess sodium and calories can also be problems for your dog. Foods that are high in fat can lead to obesity, digestive problems, and pancreatitis for dogs. Even bloat is a possibility for some dogs under certain circumstances.
You can find the same beneficial nutrients that are good in french fries in a baked potato without the sodium and trans fat – as long as you don’t load it up with salt and extras.
You can also buy or order french fries that have been oven-baked. They are a healthier option than french fries that have been cooked in oil. French fries cooked in an air dryer are also a healthy option.
According to the USDA, most Americans eat more salt than they need. Eating too much sodium can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, kidney and stomach disease. Dogs that eat too much salt can experience salt poisoning that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, a fever, and seizures. In severe cases it can even lead to death. It is rare for dogs to consume enough salt to actually poison themselves with it but it is possible. They can certainly eat enough salt to become dehydrated.
When buying french fries, either at a fast food restaurant or frozen at a supermarket, look at the menu or label so you can see the nutritional content. Some french fries are worse than others.
Can Dogs Have French Fries?
French fries are not recommended for dogs because of their sodium, fats, and calories but they aren’t toxic. Most people have shared a few fries with their dog occasionally without any harm. Yes, dogs can have a few french fries, but only a few. It’s very hard to say no to a dog when you have french fries.
Can Dogs Have Mcdonald’s Fries?
McDonald’s fries are similar to other fast food fries. One large serving contains 560 calories. They are cooked in a vegetable oil blend. A large serving contains 420 mg of sodium which is much more than your dog needs in his diet per day.
Potatoes, high oleic low linolenic canola oil and/or canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavour (vegetable source), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophopshate (maintain colour), citric acid (preservative), dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent). Cooked in vegetable oil (high oleic low linoleic canola oil and/or canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, citric acid, dimethylpolysiloxane)
Salt, silicoaluminate, dextrose, potassium iodide
McDonald’s fries are high in calories and contain lots of sodium. They aren’t recommended for dogs but they don’t seem to be any worse than other fast food french fries. If your dog is allergic to soy or corn, you should probably avoid these fries because they use soy and corn oil for frying.
How Many French Fries Can You Give Your Dog?
Keep in mind that french fries are a naughty snack. They aren’t something healthy for your dog to eat (though we have probably all given them to our dogs). This is like asking, “How many cigarettes can I give my child?”
Between the calories and the sodium, you shouldn’t give your dog very many french fries. Many fast food french fries are soaked in oil not just once but twice before they are fried the last time. Soaked in oil. Yes, they taste good but … insert health speech here!
A dog that weighs 30 pounds only needs about 100 mg of sodium per day. That large serving of fries from McDonald’s contains 420 mg of sodium. That’s more than four times as much sodium as that medium-sized dog needs in a day.
That large serving of fries also has about 560 calories. That is most of the calories a 30-pound dog needs in his diet for the day. Those would not be nutritious calories or a complete diet.
In general, don’t give your dog more than a couple of french fries. You can do the math and figure out how many fries you can give your dog based on 10 percent of his daily calories but it’s best to just keep the number of fries low.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog French Fries?
For all of the reasons we have mentioned, it’s best not to give your dog french fries very often. You could give your dog a couple of french fries once per week if you often stop at a fast food restaurant.
Dogs probably love french fries as much as we do. However, french fries are not the healthiest food for dogs or for us. French fries are not toxic but the calories, fats, and high amount of sodium are not good for your dog. If you want to share some french fries with your dog, try oven-baked french fries without salt or fries made with an air dryer. As long as you avoid the high salt and fat content, these versions of french fries would be better for your dog.