Can Dogs Eat Chicken Nuggets? Only In Moderation

Contrary to the popular notion that dogs are carnivores, they are actually omnivores, meaning, not only do they eat meat but they also eat plant produce. As omnivores, chicken is one of those meats that is healthy for dogs to eat.

While chicken is relatively safe for dogs, perhaps you are wondering if you can share some pieces of chicken nuggets from popular fast-food chains like McDonald’s with your dog.

Yes, dogs can eat chicken nuggets but only in moderation. Chicken nuggets are coated with batter and then deep-fried until crispy and golden brown. The cooking oil along with the other ingredients can cause an upset stomach. In the longer term, dogs that are always fed with fatty food like chicken nuggets may suffer from pancreatitis.

Today is all about the goodness of chicken nuggets, how much is safe for them, what are the possible health risks, and what should you do in case your dog enjoyed too many chicken nuggets.

Are Chicken Nuggets Safe For Dogs?

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Yes, for as long as you do not overindulge your dog with chicken nuggets. One or two pieces of chicken nuggets when given occasionally won’t harm your dog. But the story is different if you constantly give these as regular treats.

What’s in chicken nuggets that make these delicious foods not good for your fido if given in huge amounts? Can your dog get some nutrition from these? Read on to find out why you have to give chicken nuggets only in moderation to your dog…

What Are Chicken Nuggets Made Of?

Similar to what we eat, there are some risks involved every time we indulge in fatty and greasy food. To fully understand what these risks are, you need to understand how chicken nuggets are made.

What makes these nuggets crispy is the thick batter that is laden with salt, flavorings like garlic and onion salt, pepper, flour, and preservatives. Depending on the quantity, these ingredients can be safe or harmful to your fido. For example, salt is not really bad for as long as it is given in small amounts.

Not to forget that chicken nuggets are deep fried twice to achieve a golden color and crisp that we all love. Cooking oil has saturated fats and trans fat that are not safe for your fido. Unlike us, our dog’s digestive system is not designed for greasy and fatty food.

Too much grease can lead to vomiting and diarrheaWorse, if they are continually fed with fried and fatty foods like chicken nuggets, they can be susceptible to an inflammation of the pancreas commonly referred to as pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis typically happens if a dog eats a large serving of fatty food in one sitting. In the event, you suspect that your dog may have feasted on chicken nuggets, take it to the vet immediately because pancreatitis is often viewed as a life-threatening medical emergency. Some of the signs include vomiting, a hunched back, and bloating.

Besides pancreatitis, what are the other health risks you should be concerned with if you fail to limit the number of chicken nuggets for your dog? Let’s look at them in the next section…

Health Risks Of Eating Too Much Chicken Nuggets 

While your fido will not die right after consuming chicken nuggets, the long-term effects can shorten the life of your dog. Here’s why:

Obesity Concerns

Obesity is the number one risk because chicken nuggets given as treats are high in calories. For example, 6 pieces of McDonald’s chicken nuggets contain 287 calories while 10 pieces of Wendy’s chicken nuggets have 420 calories. And, to think that for a 20-pound dog, the required caloric intake is only 325 to 400 calories every day.

Nutritional Deficiency

Though chicken nuggets contain protein content, chicken nuggets, all in all, have a lower nutritional content when compared to feeding boiled and skinless chicken to dogs. It’s because nuggets contain more salty breading than chicken meat. Therefore, a diet consisting only of chicken nuggets often leads to nutritional deficiencies.

Allergic Reaction

In case your pooch is allergic to poultry, you should see visible signs, such as skin redness, chronic ear infections, and wheezing.

Digestive Problems

Given that chicken nuggets contain additional ingredients such as flour, breadings, and cooking oil, it is highly likely that the consumption of these ingredients can lead to digestive problems in dogs. Stomach upsets are often the symptoms one can see when this happens.


Diabetes often goes hand in hand with overweight issues in dogs, leading to high blood sugar levels and disrupting normal body functions. Hence, to avoid excessive weight gain, you should be firm to your pooch and only give chicken nuggets occasionally and in moderate amounts.

Kidney Failure

This is largely because of the high sodium content chicken nuggets have. Since their bodies cannot tolerate high levels of salt, eating too many chicken nuggets can cause excessive thirst and urination. In the worst-case scenario, high levels of salt result in kidney failure.

Onion And Garlic Toxicity

Onion and garlic toxicity is a concern as they can be often used as flavoring additives in chicken nuggets. Breathing problems and lethargy are some of the common symptoms.

What To Do If Your Dog Ate Too Much Chicken Nuggets?

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Dogs are fast movers, before we knew it, they’ve already ‘stolen’ some of our food. So, in case your fido has stolen a piece of chicken nugget or two, relax and stop worrying because no harm will happen.

The problem is when your dog keeps on stealing chicken nuggets and has eaten more than what is safe. Then that’s the time you should watch out for vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargic behavior. It’s because unsafe levels of sodium can lead to a condition known as salt poisoning.

In case you buy from Wendy’s, each chicken nugget contains 95 mg of sodium while in Burger King, it is 100 mg of salt per nugget. So, for example, the recommended sodium intake for a 30-pound dog is only 100 mg. This is why chicken nuggets must only be given in moderation.

If you notice that your dog walks like it is drunk and is consuming a huge volume of water, don’t wait any further and go to the vet clinic right away. Those are signs that your fido had too many chicken nuggets.

Are Vegan Chicken Nuggets OK For Dogs?

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No, most vegan chicken nuggets are not okay for dogs. While it may appear like a good idea, vegan meat substitutes are not healthy alternatives for chicken nuggets. First of all, these meat substitutes are not designed for dogs’ digestive system.

To make up for the taste of real chicken, vegan chicken nuggets are made with different spices that are not meant to be eaten by dogs. These spices include salt, pepper, garlic, and onion.

On top of these ingredients, soy is used as a meat substitute for chicken. Although there is still no strong evidence that says soy is toxic for dogs, but, the main issue here is the dog’s allergic reactions to soy.

What About Quorn Chicken Nuggets?

If you are unfamiliar with Quorn, it is a meat substitute made from fermented fungus, which is then processed into a protein-rich substance to provide the same texture as real meat. So, are Quorn nuggets okay for dogs to eat?

Unlike vegan chicken nuggets, you can absolutely give your dog a moderate serving of Quorn chicken nuggets. These nuggets do not contain soy, so they should be safe for your fido. But, again, only in moderation as Quorn chicken nuggets do also have a high caloric content.

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Pete Decker