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Can Dogs Eat McDonald’s? Vet-Approved Health Risks & FAQ

Written by: Chelsea Mortensen

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat McDonald

Can Dogs Eat McDonald’s? Vet-Approved Health Risks & FAQ


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Is McDonald’s healthy for dogs? In general, McDonald’s is not a healthy option for dogs. Most foods at McDonald’s are higher in fat, carbs, or salt than are ideal for canines. They should have a diet high in protein and moderate in fat, and their “plant food” should include a variety of whole grains and healthy vegetables to help them get all the necessary nutrients. Food made for dogs is balanced to meet all their nutritional needs.

But most people who give McDonald’s food to their dogs know that it’s an occasional thing, not a replacement for their main meals. In a pinch, certain options can even make an adequate meal for a canine. So, if you need to feed McDonald’s to your dog, look for foods that will provide them with healthy proteins without excessive amounts of fat, salt, and processed carbs.


Dangerous Ingredients in McDonald’s Food

Most McDonald’s food isn’t especially healthy, but some of it can be downright dangerous to dogs. Onions are toxic to canines and found in many McDonald’s foods—only a few grams can put your dog in big danger. They are also in danger from garlic and other related herbs.

Another major problem in fast food is sodium. Sodium poisoning is a serious worry for canines, especially smaller ones.1 As little as 1,500 mg of sodium per pound of weight can poison a dog. So, if you divide your dog’s weight by four, that’s roughly the number of teaspoons of salt that would make them very sick. Most McDonald’s foods won’t have that much sodium, but it’s still better to avoid it as much as possible. Skip the ketchup, pickles, and other add-ons that will add extra salt.

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What’s the Healthiest McDonald’s Food for Dogs?

So, if you do decide to feed your dog some McDonald’s food, what is the best choice? One great option is a McDonald’s Grilled Chicken sandwich. You can order it without a bun or toppings to cut down on the unhealthy ingredients. A plain grilled chicken breast from McDonald’s is 120 calories. It has 29 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fat. It also has 400 mg of sodium. Eating nothing but McDonald’s chicken breasts wouldn’t be good for your dog, but it’s a great high-protein snack or emergency meal.

Can Dogs Eat a McDonald’s Hamburger?

McDonald’s hamburgers are another option many pet owners choose. If grilled chicken is leaner than ideal, a hamburger is the opposite. Like the grilled chicken sandwich, you should hold the bun, ketchup, and other toppings. A McDonald’s hamburger patty is 90 calories, with 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat. A 50% fat patty isn’t the healthiest for your pet, but it probably won’t hurt them either.

What About Fries and Ice Cream?

French fries and ice cream are both common treats for humans, but they’re bad for dogs. French fries are deep-fried in fat and covered in salt. They’re low in protein and can easily be oversalted.

Dairy products like ice cream also aren’t the best for your dog. They aren’t built to process sugars like humans can, and the cream in ice cream can lead to an upset stomach. If it’s a hot day, your dog might like a cup of ice cubes and some cool water instead.

mcdonalds fries and burger
Image Credit: Polina Tankilevitch, Pexels

Are McChickens or Chicken Nuggets Okay?

Chicken nuggets, McChicken sandwiches, and other breaded chicken products aren’t the best for your dog. The breading is usually deep fried, leading to lots of unhealthy fat. It’s also made of white flour—not ideal for dogs, which should be getting whole grains. Some breaded chicken products at McDonald’s also have extremely high sodium content. Overall, it’s probably not going to hurt your dog, but it isn’t the best choice either.

Are Dogs Allowed Inside McDonald’s?

If you plan to feed your dog McDonald’s, you’ll have to do it outside. McDonald’s doesn’t allow pets inside its stores. That means that unless you have a service dog, you’d better stick to the drive-thru.


Summing Up

McDonald’s food might not be the same as your favorite dog food, but that doesn’t make it inedible. Although some options are dangerous or unhealthy for your dog, there are good choices out there. A plain grilled chicken filet is the best choice for dogs from McDonald’s. Burger patties can be a little fatty but are generally pretty good too. Whatever you feed your dog, make sure to check its nutrition facts to see how safe and healthy it is.

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Featured Image Credit: ready made, Pexels

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