There are many kinds of plant products that dogs will happily eat, and most of them take us by surprise. But one thing we all know dogs love is yams. Whether they should eat them or not, most dogs will gobble them up like candy. But what about purple yams, or Ube? If you brought home purple yams for Thanksgiving just to add something different to the mix, you might have been tempted to let your dog have some. But should you? Should dogs eat purple yams?
The short answer to this question is, Yes, dogs can eat purple yams. Purple yams are an excellent source of fiber for dogs as well as antioxidants and other vitamins. But, as usual, this is not an entirely straightforward issue as there are a few things to keep in mind.
OK, So Can Dogs Eat Purple Yams?
Dogs can indeed eat purple yams. But they are not native to the canine diet, and therefore some caution is called for. The key to giving your dogs purple yams successfully is to do it in careful moderation. Purple yams are high in both carbohydrates and in sugars, which means that too much is not good at all. However, the natural fiber content of purple yams does protect dogs from the sugars and carbs to some extent. The amount of protection the fiber offers will differ from one dog to the next, since each animal and each breed is always going to be different.
The best guideline we know of for giving this particular food to a dog is to keep it at no more than 10 to 15% of your dog’s total dietary intake. That’s a pretty liberal portion if you think about it. It’s nearly 25% of their total intake. But this is good news because it means you have a wide margin for error.
That being the case, as usual, we recommend giving your dog far less than that if the animal has never had purple yams before. You never know if they are going to have an allergic or other adverse reaction. So it’s best to err on the side of caution and give them no more than 5% in purple yams for the first few days. If they don’t have any problems after the first week or so, then you can go ahead and up their portions to 10 to 15%, or whatever amount you want to give them within those limits.
The Health Benefits of Purple Yams for Dogs
While there are some risks, and reasons for caution, there are also well known health benefits that your dog may enjoy after you have made purple yams a regular part of their diet. The first among these is their value as an aid to digestion. The dietary fiber and the probiotics that come with purple yams can help prevent constipation in a handful of ways.
Purple yams also have a fair amount of vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as a healthy helping of antioxidants. These nutrients help the body produce killer T cells.
A pleasant side effect of anything that boosts immunity is a reduction in inflammation. Inflammation is the immune response of any creature to toxins and pathogens. In nature, in the absence of medicine and antibiotics, inflammation is all we have. But when it’s persistent, it’s harmful.
Finally, purple yams will offer your dog a welcome boost of energy. If your dog has been a bit sluggish, or if he is getting on in years, this could provide your four legged friend with the motivation to get up and have fun.
Are Purple Yams Toxic to Dogs?
Cooked purple yams are not at all toxic to dogs. But this brings us to perhaps the biggest potential danger. These root vegetables contain a substance that is known to be a toxin to dogs, namely, saponin. If a dog ingests this substance it will induce weakness, diarrhea, and vomiting. If enough is eaten, it could threaten the dog’s life or long term health.
Fortunately, saponin is a fairly fragile compound and will be destroyed by heat as long as the purple yams you give your dog are completely and thoroughly cooked.
As an aside, you should be wary of the fact that some pre-made foods may contain purple yams and therefore also saponin. So be careful to check the ingredients of anything you give your dog unless it is 100% homemade.
Can Dogs Eat…
Speaking of pre-made food, there are many common foods that are made with or contain purple yams. They are;
Purple Yam Bread
Dogs normally should not have bread. But bread in small amounts can be okay. Since cooked purple yams are okay for dogs to eat, a small amount of purple yam bread should also be okay.
Purple Yam Cake
Dogs should never eat refined sugar, and cake is right out. This goes for purple yam ice cream as well.
Purple Yam Pandesal
Pandesal may be similar to bread, but it has other things in it that dogs should not eat. These include chocolate, cheese, and purple yam jam.