As a chicken product, we expect chicken nuggets to be a healthy treat for our dogs. The problem is dogs cannot digest food the same way we can.
Your dog can eat chicken nuggets in moderation. Chicken nuggets, however, should not be a staple in your dog’s diet. The breading on a chicken nugget is high in saturated fat and salt. Foods with high-fat content can cause your dog to gain weight. Salt and seasoning are also a concern in your dog’s diet.
Your dog does not understand how unhealthy some foods can be for them. It is up to you to decide for them. Let’s talk about how foods like salt, fat, and sugar can affect your dog’s digestive system.
Why Are Chicken Nuggets Bad for Your Dog?
Dogs have perfected the “sad puppy” look, and they can sneak food should the “sad puppy face” fail. It doesn’t matter how your dog gets the chicken nuggets; the outcome is still the same.
Chicken nuggets (especially from fast-food restaurants) are deep-fried and breaded. They are high in artery-clogging fats. Dogs do not need to worry about cholesterol. They do need to worry about heart disease and weight gain. A few extra pounds on a dog is more detrimental than a few extra pounds on a person due to their small size.
Dogs also react differently to salt in their diet.
The Effects of Too Much Salt in Your Dog’s Diet
Too much salt causes dogs to drink and urinate more and can also cause extreme dehydration. A high sodium diet will lead to kidney failure. Dog kidneys cannot process salt the same way human kidneys can.
Sodium ingested in high doses in a short amount of time can poison your dog. Symptoms of sodium toxicity include vomiting and diarrhea. In extreme cases, sodium poisoning can cause death.
A dog cannot ingest more than 1.5 grams of salt per pound of body weight.
The Effects of Seasoned Meat on Your Dog’s Diet
Seasoned meat may sound like a great idea for your dog. The problem with seasoned meat is the amount of sodium in the seasoning and the ingredients. Did you know onion and garlic are toxic to dogs?
The vegetables contain N-propyl disulfide (thiosulfate). This chemical compound causes red blood cells to break down. It removes oxygen in the blood and causes a dog to become anemic.
Symptoms of onion and garlic toxicity include:
- Pale gums
- Itching in the mouth
What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Too Many Chicken Nuggets
Dogs need fat in their diet. They do best with 10% — 15% fat a day. Chicken Nuggets from a fast-food chain have 20% fat. Chicken Nuggets contain processed meat with almost no nutritional value for your dog.
One or two nuggets will not harm your dog in the short term. Long-term effects of eating chicken nuggets can include weight gain, nutritional deficiencies, kidney issues, and pancreatitis.
Ingesting lots of nuggets in a short amount of time can be concerning. Sodium toxicity and reactions to certain ingredients may require a vet visit. It is best to call your vet if you are concerned. Your vet may advise you to monitor your dog or visit an animal hospital depending on symptoms.
Healthy Dog Chicken Nugget Recipe
Chicken nuggets should be considered a treat, not a meal. Even when made with ingredients your dog can eat. A balanced dog diet includes protein, vegetables, grains, fats, and micronutrients.
Your dog is at the optimal weight if you can press lightly on your dog’s side and feel its ribs. Your vet can help you determine if you are feeding your dog the right mix of food for a balanced diet.
Here is a great dog-friendly recipe for chicken nuggets.
½ pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of flaxseed
¼ cup of unseasoned bread crumbs
- Grab a pot with boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Slice chicken into strips
- Boil chicken for 6 to 8 minutes
- Food process (or blend) the rolled oats and flaxseed until it becomes flour
- Add the breadcrumbs to the processor
- Set aside ¾ cup of the boiled chicken water
- Let the boiled chicken and water cool
- Add chicken in the processor to the flour mix
- Add water to the food processor slowly
- Roll dough into chicken nugget shapes
- Bake for 25 minutes
Healthy Treat Alternatives For Your Dog
Dogs love treats. Chicken nuggets, when made properly, are a great treat for your dog. There are many other healthy options to give your dog.
Other healthy dog treat ideas.
- Boiled de-boned chicken (great for upset stomachs)
- Freeze-dried chicken
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
Treats should only be 10% of your dog’s daily food intake. Dogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy.
The AKC has an extensive list of the food your dog can and cannot eat.
How Do McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets Affect My Dog?
McDonald’s chicken nuggets will not harm your dog in moderation. They can have long-term negative effects on your dog’s health.
McDonald’s nuggets contain fatty processed meats, salt, sugar, and carbs. All ingredients your dog doesn’t need in their diet. Here is a breakdown of the calorie ratio to give you a better idea of how McDonald’s stacks up in a dog’s diet.
McDonald’s nuggets average 300 calories per 6 nuggets. Your dog should have roughly 25 calories for every pound of weight. For example, if your dog weighs 20 pounds, the chicken nuggets are 60% of their total daily calories. That means only 40% of their food intake will be considered nutritious.
Your dog will survive (and likely enjoy) an order of McDonald’s chicken nuggets if they are the only thing available. The treat is best in moderation and should supplement, not replace a balanced diet.
These calories are similar to every fast-food chain chicken nugget. Some chains have better nuggets with less processed meats. If you remove the outer breading, the nuggets are better for your dog. The most important thing to remember is to give treats like chicken nuggets in moderation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dogs Eating Chicken Nuggets
Can Dogs Eat French Fries?
Your dog will not get sick of one or two French fries. Fries with salt in large quantities can cause sodium toxicity. The fries can also cause your dog to gain unnecessary weight. The added weight puts a strain on their limbs and breathing.
If your dog ingests fries for an extended period, your dog can develop conditions like pancreatitis from too much fat, kidney problems from too much salt, or diabetes from increased sugars.
Can Dogs Eat Chicken Bones?
Dogs should not eat chicken bones because they can break or splinter, causing trauma to your dog’s digestive tract. Bones are also a choking hazard. Blockages or tears in the intestinal tract can be extremely dangerous and painful for your dog.
If your dog has ingested chicken bones, call your vet immediately. Monitor your dog’s bowel movements closely.
Can Dogs Eat Vegan Chicken Nuggets?
Vegan chicken nuggets often include onion, garlic, and other ingredients considered toxic to dogs. It is not unusual for dogs to have allergies to certain types of soy.
Vegan chicken nuggets have very little nutritional value. It is best to avoid feeding them to your dog.
Dogs can live on a meat-free diet. The diet must be carefully balanced and formulated with your vet’s help. It is not uncommon for dogs with unique allergies to eat vegan or meat-free diets.
Will Frozen Chicken Nuggets Make My Dog Sick?
Frozen chicken nuggets will cause your dog discomfort when eaten, causing gas and bloating as it melts.
Frozen nuggets will not cause any greater harm than regular chicken nuggets. Frozen nuggets are pre-cooked and do not carry any salmonella concerns.
What Can My Dog Eat from McDonald’s?
Fast food is not a healthy option for dogs. If you are in a pinch and have no other choice, a hamburger without the bun or condiments is best.
The second best option is chicken nuggets. Make sure to remove the breading to eliminate the extra carbs, sugar, and salt. These items do not offer much nutritional value, but they will work if your dog needs food immediately.