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Can Dogs Eat Chicken Nuggets? 9 Dangers + 5 Safety Tips

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Nuggets

There’s no doubt about it:

Chicken nuggets are tasty (and it looks like our dogs would agree).

However, is it safe for dogs to eat chicken nuggets (on a regular basis)?

Or are they harmful to their health and wellbeing?

Read on to discover:

  • What the harmful ingredients of chicken nuggets are for dogs.
  • 11 dangers of dogs eating chicken nuggets that you must know.
  • How to recognize an allergic reaction if your dog gets one after eating a nugget.
  • 5 easy tips that will give you ideas on what to do if your dog eats chicken nuggets.
  • And a lot more…

Can dogs eat chicken nuggets? (McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A & more)

Dogs can eat chicken nuggets from Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, and others but they shouldn’t because it could be harmful to them. The dangers lie in the fact that chicken nuggets are high in fat, as they’re deep-fried in oils, plus the breading contains seasonings such as high amounts of salt. 

People also ask:

Common situations:

Now, let’s look at a few specific situations. They’ll help you understand the risks of your dog eating chicken nuggets better: 

9 dangers of feeding chicken nuggets to your dog

What happens if a dog eats chicken nuggets depends on the number of nuggets eaten, their quality, the seasonings used for the preparation, how often your dog eats these, whether your dog is neutered/spayed. You should also take into consideration your pet’s overall health and age.

The below-listed dangers concern health problems in the long term if your dog eats a lot of chicken nuggets often.

The following dangers do not apply if your dog has gotten a bite of a chicken nugget once or a few times. Whether it was given to them or they found it on the floor or ground.

That being said, here are the dangers to look out for:

#1: Gaining weight

Dog Gaining Weight Due To Eating Chicken Nuggets

Before we get into the nitty gritty doggy business…

Let’s talk about sex humans, baby.

In specific: The health issues of eating chicken nuggets.

I know. I know. You didn’t come here for a health lecture.

But bear with me for a few seconds.

The thing with fast-food restaurants is that they use the same oil over and over again. This is detrimental to your health because it will lead you to gain weight faster. 

The kilos gained will not be easy to get rid of. Take for example, the documentary Super Size Me. The guy was eating only McDonalds food for a whole month. 

But the effects were long-lasting. It took him 2 years to lose all the extra fat and weight he has gained in just one month. 

Now let’s see how fast food such as chicken nuggets could affect dogs, shall we?

You can take a look at this calorie calculator for canines.

It shows you how many calories you should give your dog a day, regarding their weight and whether they’ve been spayed/neutered.

Note: This is good for giving you an approximate idea of how many calories your dog should have. But for maximum accuracy and relevant advice, you should always turn to your vet.

But hey, you don’t feed your dog only chicken nuggets, right? 

The number of calories in a single nugget might not seem that high to you. But consider all the other calories your dog gets from their daily food intake. It all adds up. 

Warning: Most of the calories in a chicken nugget come from fat. According to Fast Food Nutrition, fat in these amounts to 55%.

Something else to bear in mind is your size vs. your dog’s size. 

Whether you have a small or a big dog, their daily calorie intake will be less than yours. And feeding your dog high-calorie human food will make your dog fat.

Here’s how you can check whether your dog is getting too round for their own good:

Touch your dog’s rib cage with your hand and apply slight pressure. Are you able to feel the ribs? Then all’s good. If not, your dog might need to go on a diet. 

But before you put them on one, consult with a vet or a licensed dog nutritionist.

#2: Developing nutritional deficiency

One of the most serious arguments I’d give against feeding your dog chicken nuggets is that they have no nutritional value for your dog. Sure, they’re tasty (and cheap) but that’s about it. 

Besides that, if your dog eats chicken nuggets often, this might lead to nutritional deficiency. 

Vetericyn lists the signs that point out nutritional deficiency:

  • Depression.
  • Skin disorders.
  • Coat disorders.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Changed excrements.

#3: Salt

Salt can cause a number of problems in healthy dogs. The truth is that dogs cannot handle a high content of salt in their bodies. 

Your dog could start vomiting if they have too much salt. What’s more, vomiting might be a sign of sodium ion poisoning. The latter could result in death.

Other signs of ion poisoning include:

  • Tremors.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Drooling.
  • Lethargy.
  • Seizures.
  • Weakness.
  • Depression.
  • Bloody urine.
  • High temperature.

#4: Pancreatitis

“What is pancreatitis and why is it so dangerous?”, you might ask.

Pancreatitis is an infection of the pancreas. According to AKC chronic pancreatitis can lead to diabetes in dogs. 

Giving foods high in fat can cause pancreatitis. These include fat trimmings and chicken nuggets. 

That’s because chicken nuggets are fried in vegetable oil. As a result, they could lead not only to pancreatitis but also to diabetes.  

#5: An allergic reaction

10% of allergies in dogs are food allergies. 

But did you know that your dog could be allergic to chicken?

It’s the most common ingredient of dog food though. So if your dog is allergic to poultry, you’ll likely find out before they even get a chance to taste a chicken nugget. 

Note: An allergic reaction will not happen the first time the dog is exposed to the allergen. It’ll take time before it shows.

Signs of allergic reactions in dogs include (but are not limited to):

  • Vomiting.
  • Coughing.
  • Wheezing.
  • Skin rashes.
  • Chronic gas.
  • Skin injections.
  • Biting the paws.
  • Pawing at the face.
  • Chronic ear infections.
  • Constantly inflamed feet.

#6: Digestive issues

The following ingredients could cause your dog to experience digestive problems:

  • Soy.
  • Salt.
  • Corn.
  • Wheat.
  • Additives.
  • White flour. 

One of the ingredients in McDonald’s chicken nuggets is lemon juice solids. If ingested more often, this could cause your dog’s stomach to be upset. 

Otherwise, citrus fruits could cause irritation and central nervous system depression in dogs. When consumed in large amounts, that is. 

#7: The effects of yeast

Dog Eating Yeast Meme

McDonald’s chicken nuggets for example contain yeast extract. 

Yeast can be very dangerous for your dog. 

The reason? 

You know that yeast is put in bread for volume. So it rises. And it might rise in your dog’s stomach. 

Mild cases of yeast ingestion include:

  • Gas. 
  • Farts.
  • General discomfort.

In severe cases, your dog’s stomach and intestines can get ruptured. 

And that’s not all.

As yeast makes the dough rise, it causes fermentation. This could lead to alcohol poisoning in your dog. 

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning start showing around 30-60 minutes after your dog has ingested the substance.

Signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Seizures.
  • Dehydration.
  • Disorientation.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Abnormal blood acidity.
  • Mood swings (from excitement to depression).

#8: Toxicity

Spicy foods can be toxic for dogs. McDonald’s chicken nuggets for example, have spices on their list of ingredients. 

Warning: Never feed your dog spicy chicken nuggets.

Signs that indicate general toxicity are: 

  • Lethargy.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Sickness.
  • A racing heart.
  • Having difficulty breathing. 
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood.
  • Losing consciousness due to low blood sugar. 

Now let’s look at the signs of onion toxicity: 

  • Nausea.
  • Drooling.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Pale gums. 
  • Oral irritation.

#9: Diabetes

As I mentioned in danger #4, one of the culprits for diabetes is vegetable oil.

The early signs of diabetes in dogs are:

  • Weight loss.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Excessive urination.

When left untreated, diabetes in a later stage could cause: 

  • Seizures.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Fatty (enlarged) liver.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • Cataracts eventually leading to blindness.

Treatment of diabetes includes:

  • Insulin shots.
  • A suitable diet.
  • Consistent exercise routine.

BONUS: Some chicken nuggets are more breading than chicken

Not all chicken nuggets are made equal. So even though the products of different fast-food restaurants resemble each other, some might have more breading than others.

This means more trouble for your dog.  

I don’t eat chicken nuggets. But another dog parent from my neighborhood shared their opinion the other day. 

From their experience, McDonald’s chicken nuggets contained more breading than chicken. While Burger Kind’s nuggets were mainly meat and less breading.

You can test this out for yourself. But my general advice would be to avoid giving your dog processed food such as chicken nuggets altogether.

Read also: 9 Reasons Why Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Goldfish Crackers + 5 Tips

5 tips on what to do if your dog eats chicken nuggets

#1: Check the ingredients

Checking the ingredients of certain foods, you plan to give your dog could be a life-saver. 

I’d also advise you to keep a list of all the ingredients that are toxic for dogs. And make your choice based on comparing the list with the contents of the product in your hand. 

Note: Food labels list the quantity of ingredients from the most to the least. 

#2: Moderation

Remember this as it’s one of the most important things you can take away from this article. 

If you choose to give your dog chicken nuggets, do so in moderation. But let’s get specific so that it’s crystal clear what to avoid. 

Giving a small bite of a chicken nugget will be fine. But not every day. 

Giving a whole chicken nugget might be okay if your dog is a big one. But it’s not advisable. 

In comparison to that, giving several chicken nuggets at a time is not okay. By that, I mean more than one. And not even a whole one if the dog is small.

Warning: Never make chicken nuggets a regular treat for your dog as this can result in serious long-term health consequences.

#3: Exercise

Do you toss a bite of a chicken nugget to your pooch every now and then? 

Then exercising your dog is an absolute must. 

I’ve discussed the issue with obesity. A big reason for a dog being obese is the food they eat. But exercise also plays a role.

It’s essential to keep your dog in shape. Or if they’re already obese, to prevent the condition from worsening. 

By exercise, I mean playing fetch. Letting the dog run with other canines. 

If your dog is obese, you should be careful not to overexercise them though.

Have water with you. Take breaks and keep the exercise routine consistent. It should last at least 30 minutes a day.

#4: If your dog eats a frozen chicken nugget, do this

Did your dog manage to get their paws on a frozen chicken nugget? You’re not alone!

Dog parents whose dog gulps a frozen chicken nugget freak out. And it’s normal since they don’t know what to expect.

But there’s good news. There’s little likelihood that there’ll be a problem. 

In case the frozen nugget causes discomfort to your dog, they’re likely to throw up or get diarrhea. 

Plus, a frozen chicken nugget has already been precooked. It just needs to be reheated so you can eat. This means that your dog should be okay. 

People I know have been in this situation, and their dog was fine afterward. The chicken nugget didn’t hurt the pooch.

Just to be sure, monitor your dog’s bowel movements. Some dogs might get a sore tummy. 

#5: Give your dog a healthier substitute

By this I mean give your dog boiled or baked chicken meat. Without any seasoning of course.

Chicken meat in this form is a great source of protein for your dog. Another benefit is that it contains far less fat than meat like beef or pork.

But raw chicken bears dangers as well. It sometimes is contaminated with Salmonella. That’s why it’s crucial to wash your hands well after handling raw chicken.

Plus, to not touch any door handles after you’ve just held the chicken. Otherwise, you and anyone living with you might become sick.

Don’t also forget to wash any surfaces and utensils the chicken has touched. After that, make sure you cook the chicken at 165 degrees.

But hey, if you want, you could also make chicken nugget treats for your dog. Here’s a recipe shared by Modern Dog Magazine.

Why it doesn’t make sense to give your dog chicken nuggets

Did you know that dogs’ sense of taste is inferior to humans’?

That has to do with the number of taste buds dogs have compared to humans. We have 9,000, while our canine companions have the modest 1,700.

As an article written by Stanley Coren on Psychology Today states:

“In a taste sensitivity contest with dogs, humans clearly win.”

In other words, your dog may not enjoy the chicken nuggets even as half as much as you do. But they’ll eat them nevertheless. 

This is because the taste buds on a dog’s tongue are developed to register meat. It’s a survival thing that their ancestors used. After all, 80% of the diet of wild dogs was meat. 

So, even though your dog gives you puppy eyes when you eat nuggets, don’t feel guilty. Rest assured that by not giving them chicken nuggets, you’re doing your furry friend a favor. 🙂