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Can Dogs Eat Chicken Nuggets? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 22, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Nuggets

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Nuggets? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo


Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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We’ve all run by our favorite drive-thru on a busy day to grab food we shouldn’t be eating. There are even times we buy frozen foods at the grocery store so we don’t have to cook when we’re tired. One of the most popular options for a lot of people in a hurry is the famous chicken nugget. Yes, most fast-food restaurants have a chicken nugget on the menu. Some, like McDonald’s, are even famous for them.

Chicken nuggets are even an easy meal to pop in your oven after a long day at work. If you’re a dog owner, you’ve most likely kicked back and offered your pooch a few nuggets to share with you. But, have you ever asked the question, can dogs eat chicken nuggets? While most pet owners instantly think of chicken as something safe for their pets, chicken nuggets aren’t the same. No, a chicken nugget isn’t toxic to your dog, but there are harmful ingredients inside that should keep you from sharing them with your pooch.

Below, we’re going to take a more in-depth look at chicken nuggets, why your pooch shouldn’t be eating them, and alternatives you can safely share with your best friend.

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What Are Chicken Nuggets?

chick-fil-a chicken nuggets on white background
Image Credit: P Maxwell Photography, Shutterstock

Unfortunately, answering that question is more difficult than it appears. Why? Not all chicken nuggets are made the same. Most fast-food restaurants and store brands claim their chicken nuggets are made from only the best chicken meat. That isn’t always the case. Chicken nuggets are made by taking this questionable chicken meat, grounding it up, then rolling it in a batter. Once the nugget is coated, it is then deep-fried. Now, it’s clear to see where so many unhealthy ingredients can come into play here. Lots of salt, fat, processed meat, preservatives, flavorings, and colorants are only a few things that can be in chicken nuggets that aren’t ideal for your pet.

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The 5 Ingredients Hidden in a Chicken Nugget

Now, if we’re being honest, not only should our dogs not eat chicken nuggets, but we probably shouldn’t either. Yes, we occasionally have a nugget or 6-piece, but dogs shouldn’t have them very often. Let’s take a look at reasons why you shouldn’t share chicken nuggets with your beloved pooch.

1. Processed Chicken

Yes, chicken is a great source of protein and nutrition for your pet. However, chicken nuggets are typically made with processed chicken, which isn’t good for pets. This type of meat often includes lots of salt and chemicals that are used when making it. Instead of processed chicken, your dog should have healthy, boiled chicken if you want them to enjoy this healthy meat.

2. Fats

There are healthy fats that your dog needs as part of a balanced diet. If you buy nuggets from a restaurant, they are deep fried in vegetable oil that is used multiple times. Too much fatty food can trigger painful pancreatitis, as well as other digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Over time excess fat in the diet can lead to weight gain and obesity.

Chicken nuggets production line
Image Credit: Andrew Will,Shutterstock

3. Too Much Salt

While the salt in chicken nuggets can raise our blood pressure, it’s also not good for your dog. Yes, dogs need a certain amount of salt to stay healthy, but feeding extra salty foods is not recommended. Salt can be toxic to dogs in high amounts. Although dogs won’t reach this level from eating chicken nuggets, it’s not healthy for them and can be more of an issue for dogs with underlying conditions such as heart disease.

4. Sugar

As we mentioned, not all chicken nuggets are the same. Some out there can have sugar included in the batter recipe. Hidden sugar can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Regularly having excess sugar can cause obesity as well as stomach issues.

sugar in a wooden bowl
Image Credit: Faran Raufi, Unsplash

5. The Batter

Batters made for food are typically made from flour and breadcrumbs. Sometimes these ingredients can cause digestive issues and bloating.

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The 4 Alternatives to Feeding Your Dog Chicken Nuggets

We understand how difficult it is to eat in front of your dog and not share a bite or two with your best pal. Now that you’ve learned how bad chicken nuggets are for your dog, it’s time we learn about a few healthy snacks you can share with your pooch.

1. Lean Meats

Whether it’s chicken meat or other meat, dogs will want to take part in eating it. While protein is great for your pooch, the key is to ensure the meat you offer your pet is of the highest quality and lean. By providing your dog with cooked lean meats you can ensure they are getting essential energy and help them build muscle.

Shiba Inu dog eating from stainless steel bowl
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

2. Veggies

Yes, there are lots of veggies out there that are safe for your dog to eat. The key is to feed them to your dog in moderation, ensure they are small enough to not cause choking, and make sure they are dog-safe. A few ideas include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and carrots.

3. Healthy Fats

When preparing the veggies, or any food you share with your pooch, you should generally avoid too much additional oil or fat. Flaxseed oil and coconut oil can be good options though in small amounts.

4. Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Yes, if you simply cannot do without a chicken nugget in your life, you can make your own. This will help you provide both you and your dog with a healthier alternative to the quick versions. You’ll get to choose safe ingredients for your nuggets and how they are prepared. Of course, it’s best to avoid deep-frying them as frying foods for your dog is another bad health decision.

Homemade Chicken Nugget
Image Credit: Liudmyla Chuhunova, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

While it’s super easy to run through the local drive-thru to grab nuggets and take them home to share with your pooch, this isn’t something you should do. No, chicken nuggets won’t poison your dog, but the ingredients inside are not healthy. If you simply want your pooch to enjoy chicken nuggets with you, your best option is to whip up your own so you can monitor what your dog is eating.

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Featured Image Credit: Nitr, Shutterstock

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