Can Dogs Eat Hash Browns? (Homemade Or McDonald’s)

Can Dogs Eat Hash Browns? Photo of a dog looking into three hash browns and licking his lips.

Interested in sharing your side of hash browns with your dog and want to know what the details are? Below is everything you’ll want to know about hash browns and your dog’s digestive tract.

Dogs cannot eat hash browns. Many restaurant-made hash browns, including those from McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts, are deep-fried, making them very unhealthy for dogs. As well, hash browns are high in fats, preservatives, and salt, all of which are very bad for a dog’s health. Lastly, many hash browns contain onion seasonings, which can be toxic for dogs. 

Why are hash browns so bad for dogs?

After all, they’re just tasty little patties of fried potatoes. What’s so dangerous about these treats for your dog every once in a while? A lot, it turns out. Most of the danger comes from three elements:

  • Deep frying
  • Ingredients in the patties
  • Seasonings

Deep frying

Deep frying is first for a reason! Anything deep-fried is going to be bad for a dog’s gut. The use of fatty oils in the cooking process worsens hashed browns’ saturation in bad fat and salt.

Even though dogs love the taste of deep-fried food, it doesn’t love them back. It can actually hurt their health in the short-term and long term. More on that later!

Ingredients in the patties

To our eyes, hash browns are just minced potatoes blended. Harmless. But, hash brown patties contain other things, like rice, egg, and more oil to help bind everything together. These all can be risks for your dog, especially if he is prone to food sensitivities.

Then there’s the fact that potatoes contain solanine, which is known to be toxic for certain dogs. In small quantities, this particular point should be okay.

Seasonings

Seasonings and spices are where the specifics factor in. Over 90% of hash brown recipes will contain seasonings, many of which include some form of onion. These often aren’t listed outright in the ingredients, so it’s okay if you didn’t know this!

However, onion spice is very dangerous for dogs. It can even kill them, especially in combination with other seasonings like garlic and excessive salt.

One little extra: the calorie count

If you’ve ever accidentally read the nutrient profile on your takeout hash brown, or frozen ones, you know they are very high in calories! Most of those are carbs, too, making it even worse. For you, it’s a cheat day. But, dogs have very specific diets that are easy to upset.

For example, dogs should take in about 25 calories per pound that they weigh. Of that total calories, only 10% of that should be dog treats, the 90% being healthy and nutrient-rich dog food of some kind.

If you’re doing the math frantically and find it impossible for hash browns to fit in, there’s a reason for that! Hash browns are always going to blow that ratio and percentage out of the water! Their calorie count alone is going to completely disqualify them as good options for your dog’s diet.

Basically, there is nothing good in hash browns for dogs and a lot of potential for bad! Yet, you may find yourself still considering the option of offering him up a bite or two. It’s okay, with a puppy dog pout like that, you aren’t alone!

Can dogs eat homemade hash browns?

As you might guess, this depends on who made them, and what they have included! If they were made for humans to eat them, the odds are still against your dog’s body enjoying them (no matter what his eyes say).

However, there is a way to make dog-safe hash browns if you have your heart set on sharing with him.

What about baked hash browns?

Some restaurants or home chefs will offer up the option of baked hash browns, too. Compared to deep-fried hash browns, baked hash browns are technically safer. But that doesn’t mean that hash brown itself is safe!

Remember the list above and the other noted causes of danger for dogs.

Are frozen hash browns good for dogs?

No, frozen hash browns are no safer for dogs. Most frozen options you have sitting in your deep freeze have many seasonings and large amounts of salt (which is why salt has such a strong smell when cooking them).

Since most of us tend to pop them into a frying pan with some oil to heat them, this further complicates things.

Can dogs eat hash browns from fast-food restaurants?

If you’re used to giving your dog a snack from every takeout option you have, hash browns might be on that list. However, you have to remember all of the points that we’ve already talked about above.

Eating hash browns from fast-food restaurants is going to be worse than homemade or frozen ones. For instance:

  • Hash browns from Dunkin Donuts
  • Hash browns from Chick Fil A
  • Hash browns from Burger King
  • Hash browns from McDonald’s

Can you see a trend? Exactly. Any fast-food restaurant hash brown is going to have lots of deep-fried fats, seasonings, excessive salts, and poor-quality potatoes, on top of it all.

None of this is going to be good for your dog’s belly — or yours!

Symptoms to look for if my dog ate hash browns

If you’re panicking because you’ve been feeding your dog hash browns in the past completely unaware, it’s okay! Take a breath and keep reading.

Firstly, we’ve all given tasty food to our dogs that we really shouldn’t. That’s part of being a pet parent, right? Feeding your dog hash browns in the past doesn’t mean you’re a bad pet parent. But you’ll want to make this the official stop point of sharing your side with your dog, okay?

If your dog’s managed to snatch it right out of your hand — oops! — here are some of the symptoms that your dog may be struggling with due to all of that grease and salt:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Lack of appetite
  • Panting and licking his lips a lot
  • He is constantly whining to go out
  • He seems uncomfortable

With these symptoms, you’ll want to feed him a bland diet and help him pass the food through his digestive system as quickly as possible. A plain potato puree is a popular option, for instance. Also, give him plenty of access to fresh water, as he will be very thirsty! 

When to contact the vet

You can call your vet if you see any of the symptoms above, or you can choose just to wait it out and see how it does — you know best since he’s your dog. However, signs of any of the symptoms below mean you need to get him to a vet ASAP:

  • Seizures or uncontrollable shaking
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Repeated vomiting and diarrhea

Signs like this mean that you could be dealing with salt toxicity, which can be fatal in dogs. You’ll need to act quickly by getting him to a vet to keep him safe and sound.

What happens if I keep sharing my hash browns?

If you’re asking this question, it’s okay. We get that you want to share your favorite foods with your dog! However, if you keep feeding your dog hash browns, you will end up with some costly vet bills and a very unhealthy dog.

Let’s ignore the ingredients issue for a moment now. Dogs with high levels of fat and calories will have problems with cardiomyopathy (a disease that can lead to heart failure), obesity (which brings many complications), diabetes, and so on. There are often even more complications or health when you get specific to your dog’s breed.

No matter how you think about it, feeding your dog frozen, baked, or deep-fried hash browns are going to cause him more harm than good.

Is there a safe hash browns recipe for dogs?

You’ve been waiting for this, right? You’ll be happy to know that there is a way for you to make dog-friendly hash browns that you can share with your dog guilt-free!

As noted in this recipe for homemade sweet potato hash browns for dogs, you’ll use a sweet potato, one egg, and a bit of coconut oil.

You can shred the potato as usual and then add the egg to help bind it together. One egg will be all that you need! When you fry them in your pan, use coconut oil as your oil. It might be the safest for your dog, and you don’t need as much of it as other oils, too.

It’s essential to make sure you don’t add any seasonings to the hash browns! Seriously, put down the salt shaker! If you can’t eat your hash browns without some salt, then separate yours from theirs so that they get the seasoning-free ones.

Regular hash browns cause more harm than they are worth for your dog, so make sure that you remember all of these crucial points next time you head to the drive-thru!

Conclusion

Hash browns are loaded with calories, salt, dangerous spices, and fat, making them very dangerous for dogs to have. It would be best if you never shared your hash browns with your dog. You can make dog-friendly ones at home, though!

Know someone who is prone to sharing and needs to read this? Please share this article with them!

Was this article helpful?

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have.