Can Dogs Eat Chicken Nuggets?

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can dogs eat chicken nuggets

Whenever I am making chicken nuggets, my dog does a series of calculated, comical steps. He rushes into the kitchen, then feigns disinterest and sits by my legs, only to slowly reveal those sad puppy eyes, begging for a bite.

I can’t count the times I gave him a small piece and then wondered if dogs can eat chicken nuggets.

Read on to learn why feeding chicken nuggets to your dog might not be the best idea and which chicken nuggets are safest.

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Nuggets?

Most chicken nuggets are bad news for dogs. Our furry companions can eat a small bite or one whole chicken nugget and be fine. However, don’t mistake them for dog food or a dog treat.

Chicken nuggets are processed meat and offer low to no nutritional value to your dogs. To make things worse, they are breaded and fried in a batter that is very high in salt and fat.

Should you never feed your dog chicken nuggets? If you are stuck in traffic and your dog is starving, sure — let your dog eat a small bite of a chicken nugget.

chicken nuggets

Dangers of Chicken Nuggets?

If dogs eat chicken nuggets regularly, they are exposed to many health risks. While chicken meat is okay for dogs, the ingredients and preparation of chicken nuggets can be dangerous to their health.

Let’s look at the common health risks associated with most chicken nuggets.

High Sodium Intake

One of the biggest issues with chicken nuggets is that they are very high in sodium because of frying batter. Excessive salt causes high blood pressure and leads to sodium ion toxicity.

Symptoms of salt poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling and excessive thirst
  • High temperature
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Blood in the urine

You must monitor your dog’s daily salt intake since sodium-ion toxicity causes dehydration, organ failure, coma, and death in extreme cases.

Weight Gain

Chicken nuggets have a very high fat content. Moreover, fast food chains are known to use the same oil multiple times for frying.

The amount of calories in chicken nuggets is way too much for your furry friend. More importantly, the weight gained is tough to get rid of.

Weight gain can lead to obesity, an extremely common condition that can shorten your dog’s life. Obesity can also put dogs at risk for arthritis and diabetes.


Any food with high fat content can contribute to pancreatitis, and chicken nuggets are no exception.

Pancreatitis is a painful inflammation of the pancreas and could require life-long treatment. Chicken nuggets are made with vegetable oil. This can lead to diabetes in dogs in combination with pancreatitis.


Unfortunately, chicken nuggets can trigger allergies in dogs. The wheat and soy used to produce the batter can cause canine food allergies.

Did you know that dogs can be allergic to chicken? If your dog is allergic to chicken, you would have probably found out already since most dog food contains chicken.

Allergic reactions can be mild or lead to chronic health conditions like arthritis if your dog eats chicken nuggets regularly. Symptoms of allergies include:

  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Skin rashes
  • Chronic gas
  • Biting paws and pawing at the face
  • Ear infections and inflamed feet

If you suspect your dog has an allergic reaction to any food, call the vet immediately and take them to a vet clinic for treatment.

Digestive Problems

The high fat content can lead to diarrhea and stomach upset. Furthermore, chicken nuggets are full of harmful ingredients: soy, salt, corn, wheat, various additives, and white flour. Every one of these ingredients is potentially harmful to your dog. If you feed your dog chicken nuggets, they can cause digestive problems and other health issues.

For example, lemon juice in McDonald’s chicken nuggets causes stomach upset, irritation, and central nervous system depression in dogs.

If you notice your dog having loose stools or rumbling after eating chicken nuggets, it’s best to avoid feeding them this food in the future.

Nutritional Deficiency

Like most junk food, chicken nuggets have very little nutritional value. Fast food is mostly filled with empty calories from trans and saturated fats.

If they are more than an occasional treat, chicken nuggets can cause nutritional deficiency with the following symptoms:

  • Skin and coat disorders
  • Changed excrement
  • Lack of energy
  • Depression


Chicken nuggets have various ingredients, and some of them are extremely dangerous. Some of the spicier ingredients can be hazardous to the dog’s digestive system, and others can be downright toxic and life-threatening.

Symptoms of general poisoning include:

  • Sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficult breathing
  • Racing heart
  • Lethargy
  • Coughing up and vomiting blood
  • Low blood sugar
  • Loss of consciousness

The last four symptoms in the list above are life-threatening, and you should take your dog to a vet clinic immediately.

Suppose you feed chicken nuggets with onions or garlic to your pooch. In that case, they might experience garlic or onion toxicity with the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale gums and oddly colored gums
  • Oral irritation

If you notice these symptoms, call the vet immediately, or better yet, take your dog to a vet clinic.

Yeast Ingestion

Did you know that McDonald’s chicken nuggets have yeast extract? Yeast is used to make the dough rise, but it can be awful for your dog.

Can dogs eat chicken nuggets with yeast? They can, but it is not recommended. The yeast overgrowth can potentially be dangerous for your dog.

Mild symptoms of yeast ingestion include gas, flatulence, and general discomfort.

Severe symptoms can, unfortunately, rupture your dog’s stomach and intestines.

If dogs eat chicken nuggets with yeast extract, it can also cause alcohol poisoning. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning usually show up 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion and include the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Slow heart rate
  • Difficult breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Mood swings
  • Unusual pH levels in the blood

Call the vet immediately or take your dog to a vet clinic for treatment if you notice any of these symptoms.


A dog eating chicken nuggets regularly can develop diabetes. It can become a vicious cycle since obesity can cause diabetes in dogs, and feeding them fast food can make them fat, leading to diabetes.

At the onset of diabetes, the dog will show symptoms like weight loss, dehydration and excessive thirst, excessive urination, and increased appetite. Bear in mind, however, that these symptoms can point to other issues as well. You should take your dog to a veterinarian for a detailed examination.

As diabetes progresses, these will develop into seizures, kidney failure, fatty liver, urinary tract infections, cataracts, and blindness.

Diabetes requires life-long treatments and consists of insulin injections, a strict diet, and regular exercise.

homemade chicken nuggets

Are All Chicken Nuggets Bad for Dogs?

Not all chicken nuggets are made in the same way, and not all are super bad for your dog. If you rarely let your dog eat chicken nuggets, it is unlikely they will harm your dog. However, remember that any fast food should not be considered a staple in a dog’s diet.

Let’s look at the popular brands and whether you should feed dog chicken nuggets.

Can Dogs Eat McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets?

McDonald’s nuggets are heavily processed meat, which isn’t suitable for anyone. Each nugget is bread-crumbed and rolled in batter, then cooked in a fryer.

The batter is loaded with trans- and saturated fats, mainly from vegetable oil. Vegetable oil in fast food contributes to both obesity and diabetes. All of these ingredients are bad for humans and dogs alike.

The batter can also block a dog’s arteries, raise cholesterol, and it’s difficult to chew and digest.

McDonald’s serving consists of six chicken nuggets. Combined, they have 287 calories.

For smaller dogs, one serving of McDonald’s nuggets represents 46% of their daily caloric intake, while it is somewhere around 15% for larger breeds. In both cases, this is too much and can lead to weight gain and obesity.

These nuggets are rich in fats, sugar, salt, and carbs. If you plan on giving them to your dogs, remove the batter first since that’s where the bulk of calories are.

They are especially bad for diabetic dogs and dogs with heart conditions since they are high in sugar and salt.

A small amount of McDonald’s nuggets won’t poison the dog. Still, fried batter and sodium carry significant health risks.

Can Dogs Eat Wendy’s Chicken Nuggets?

Wendy’s chicken nuggets are even higher in calories: only one serving contains whopping 400 calories.

To translate this into your dog’s daily needs, one serving is an astronomical 67% of their daily calories for smaller breeds. Treats shouldn’t be more than 10% of your furry friend’s daily intake.

Not only are these nuggets rich in salt, fat, and sugar, they also have harmful ingredients: sodium, oils, spice extracts, xanthan gum, and anti-foaming agents.

If your dog ate one chicken nugget, they should be okay. But it’s best to avoid them.

Can Dogs Eat Burger King Chicken Nuggets?

Burger King chicken nuggets are similar to any other fast food. They are deep-fried, filled with preservatives, and very high in fat and salt.

Salt is the primary concern in chicken nuggets because it can lead to a host of medical problems. Salt poisoning is a severe medical condition that can result in organ failure and coma.

Not only that, but these chicken nuggets contain toxic additives which can be harmful to your dog if taken in excess.

Can Dogs Eat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets?

Nuggets from Chick-Fil-A are somewhat lower in calories: one serving contains 190 calories. However, this still makes 30% of a smaller dog’s daily calories. It is not recommended that you feed chicken nuggets to your dog regularly.

The main concern is that Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets have worrying ingredients, definitely not good for your dog. These include spices, paprika, bleached flour, and sodium aluminum phosphate. Spicy foods are known to irritate your dog’s digestive system.

If you must, give your dog a small bite of Chick-Fil-A nuggets, but no more.

Can Dogs Eat Frozen Chicken Nuggets?

Make sure to read the ingredients and make sure there is no onion or garlic in these nuggets. With frozen chicken nuggets, it’s best to remove the batter first. Do not deep fry these nuggets if you want to feed them to your dog.

If dogs eat frozen chicken nuggets in moderation, they won’t cause significant damage. However, it’s best if you prepare and serve them yourself. Read the ingredients, let your dog eat only a tiny bite, and pay attention to any symptoms of stomach upset or allergies.

Can Dogs Eat Bird’s Eye View Chicken Nuggets?

These are frozen chicken nuggets, so they are not the best option for your dog. Make sure to remove the breading and bake them instead of deep-frying them.

Bird’s Eye View chicken nuggets are made with 100% real chicken, which is good. But, if you look at other ingredients — onion, shallots, leek, onion, and garlic powder — you will quickly conclude that it’s best to avoid them altogether.

All the members of the Allium family are highly toxic to dogs. Foods like onion and garlic can damage red blood cells and induce hemolytic anemia, resulting in the dog’s death in severe cases.

Can Dogs Eat Tyson Chicken Nuggets?

Tyson chicken nuggets might seem like the best option of all the commercial nuggets. These don’t contain any artificial ingredients.

Yet, they do have traces of onion and garlic, which makes them extremely dangerous to dogs. Onion and garlic are highly toxic to our four-legged friends and can cause severe medical conditions. It’s best to avoid these chicken nuggets altogether.

Can Dogs Eat Vegan Chicken Nuggets?

The majority of vegan meat substitutes are simply not meant for dogs. Vegan chicken nuggets contain harmful ingredients, like extra spice, salt, onion, and garlic for flavor.

Vegan chicken nuggets are very dangerous for our furry companions. When dogs eat vegan chicken nuggets, they can experience digestive issues, salt toxicity, and onion toxicity.

Additionally, vegan nuggets contain soy, which is known to pose considerable health risks to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Quorn Chicken Nuggets?

Quorn chicken nuggets don’t contain soy, which makes them better than vegan ones. But they are incredibly high in calories, so they can contribute to weight gain, obesity, and associated health risks.

If you’re feeding your pooch Quorn chicken nuggets, use minimal amounts — just one chicken nugget for big dogs — and offer them very rarely.

Can Dogs Eat Fried Chicken?

Other than its form, fried chicken is not much different than chicken nuggets when it comes to your dog’s health. Whether it is homemade, frozen, or deep-fried — it doesn’t matter. It will still be very high in salt and fats, which is a big no-no. Fats lead to obesity and diabetes, while salt can induce sodium toxicity. Sodium toxicity is a severe and life-threatening condition.

Fried chicken can also cause diarrhea, vomiting, heart problems, and lethargy if a dog overeats.

chicken nuggets box

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Chicken Nuggets?

If you decide to let your dog eat chicken nuggets, there are some steps you can take to ensure your pet’s health.

Check Ingredients

Whichever chicken nuggets you use, and whenever you are introducing new food — always check the ingredients.

It’s best to make a list of all the toxic and dangerous ingredients — like onions, salt, sugar, fats, artificial flavors and sweeteners, soy. Compare it against the chicken nuggets’ ingredients.

While it is unlikely that one small bite will cause serious harm, certain substances are more toxic than others.

Give Nuggets In Moderation

What do we mean precisely by a moderate amount of chicken nuggets?

For big dogs, one whole chicken nugget might be okay. It is not recommended, though. A few chicken nuggets are too much.

One whole nugget is too much for small dogs — they can get one small bite and no more.

For both types of dogs, don’t feed your dogs chicken nuggets every day nor use them as treats.

Keep Your Dog In Shape

Chicken nuggets are super high in calories. Your dog must burn off the extra energy. Take them for a walk, play fetch and other games, and make sure you always have enough water nearby.

Chicken nuggets, because of the high-calorie content, are not recommended for dogs that are not active.

Healthier Substitutes

If your dog is bent on getting chicken nuggets and actively seeks them out, try to find safer and healthier alternatives. Your dog probably won’t know the difference, and you won’t have to worry.

Alternatives to Chicken Nuggets

It’s best to avoid chicken nuggets altogether. Instead, offer your dog some of these tasty alternatives:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Plain chicken
  • Doggy treats
  • Chicken snacks for dogs

Also, you can try homemade chicken nuggets for your dog. However, don’t deep fry them and don’t add seasoning. Cooking is perfect for your dog. You can offer your dog plain boiled chicken — this is by far the best option.

Golden Nuggets of Wisdom

Can dogs eat chicken nuggets? While chicken meat is great for dogs, chicken nuggets are not safe dog food. They are high in salt, fats, and sugar and can contain highly toxic ingredients for dogs.

One small bite of chicken nugget won’t hurt your dog, but a regular treat and larger quantities can be dangerous.

Understandably, we want to share food with our furry friends. They are like family, after all. However, in the case of chicken nuggets, it might be best to look out for our family’s health first and choose better options.


Can dogs eat chicken nuggets that are breaded?

The breaded part of a chicken nugget is the most dangerous because it contains fats, salt, and other toxic ingredients. It’s best to remove it before giving your dog the nugget.

Can dogs eat chicken nuggets that turned cold?

USDA states that you should throw chicken nuggets left out in the open for a few hours. If left in the refrigerator, they might last a day or two, but they are still very bad for your dog.

Can dogs eat McDonald’s french fries?

Most dogs can eat french fries, but they are not recommended. French fries can be very unhealthy for your dog and cause a lot of health problems.

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As a dog breeder's daughter, I've always been surrounded by many dogs of many breeds. I've made it my job to learn about our furry best friends and share my findings with other conscious dog owners. My Bichon is called Piper by the way :)

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