Can Dogs Eat Chicken Nuggets? (What Happens to Dogs on Nuggs)


If you own a dog, you’ll likely have been in a situation where they give you their best puppy eyes and beg for food. Whether this is on a long journey in the car or when dinner’s being cooked at home, it’s always difficult to say no. 

Unfortunately, dogs aren’t quite clever enough to know what’s okay for them to eat and what’s not. Given the chance, they’d gobble up pretty much anything put in front of them, so it’s up to you to stop them from eating anything that could be potentially dangerous. 

So, what about chicken nuggets? 

Are chicken nuggets safe to eat for dogs? 

It’s a difficult question to answer, but yes, most chicken nuggets are safe to eat for dogs. Despite this, It’s important to remember that most of the meat used in chicken nuggets from fast food outlets will be processed, therefore offering very little nutritional value. Certainly a lot less than standard chicken breast. The vast majority of chicken nuggets are also fried in batter, so this needs to be removed if you’re giving them to your dog. 

While they’re safe to eat, feeding your dog chicken nuggets should only be a last resort. For example, if you’re stuck in a traffic jam for hours and have nothing else to give them. It should never become a staple of their diet or a regular treat. 

There are however, some exceptions to chicken nuggets being safe to eat for dogs, which will now be covered in greater detail. This includes taking a look at what goes into some of the popular nuggets from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A, as well as the Vegan and Quorn varieties available to buy. 

Are chicken nuggets from McDonald’s safe to eat for dogs? 

In theory, dogs can safely eat nuggets from McDonald’s, but the heavily-processed meat isn’t great for their health. Another issue is the batter, especially when you stop to think about what the nuggets are coated and cooked in. 

Each breadcrumbed nugget is fried and battered, while being cooked in a fryer. The type of oil typically used also includes a lot of trans and saturated fats, which aren’t good for dogs to consume.

In medical terms, the batter coating will only serve to block your dog’s arteries, raise their cholesterol and make it more difficult for them to chew and digest. So, if you’re really desperate to give your dog a try of a McDonald’s nugget, at least peel the batter off, so it’s just the meat remaining. 

Looking at the nutritional value of McDonald’s nuggets, a typical portion of 6 nuggets contains 287 calories. Taking into account that dogs should only have 25 calories for every pound they weigh each day and only 10% of their total daily food intake should come from treats, it’s interesting to see the effect a portion of McDonald’s nuggets has on their daily calorie limit.

For small to medium-sized dogs like a French Bulldog, a serving of McDonald’s nuggets takes up 46% of their daily calorie intake. This is significantly higher than the recommended 10% for snacks and treats. For larger dogs like a Labrador, the same serving of chicken nuggets would take up 16% of their daily intake. While this is notably lower, it still remains too high, especially given the unhealthy-nature of the treat. 

What happens if my dog eats chicken nuggets from McDonald’s? 

The reaction to eating McDonald’s chicken nuggets will all depend on how many they ate, whether there was anything extra on them, such as salt or ketchup, and your individual dog. 

Ultimately, there’s a reason why dogs need different foods to humans. The dog food they eat contains all the nutrients they need in order to grow and live a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, McDonald’s nuggets not only lack the essential dog-tailored nutrients, but are also rich in fat, sugar, salt, carbohydrates, and much more. 

If your dog suffers from diabetes, foods containing large amounts of sugar and carbs will be sure to worsen their condition. Therefore, it’s imperative that you remove any batter if you feel the need to feed them a nugget from McDonald’s. It’s similarly important to tread carefully if your dog has a heart condition, with most of McDonald’s food high in salt. 

To put it simply, if you value your dog’s health, you shouldn’t feed them chicken nuggets from McDonald’s. While they won’t poison your dog and won’t be too much of a problem in small moderation, the fried batter and salt are certainly things that shouldn’t be anywhere near your dog’s diet. 

Are chicken nuggets from Wendy’s safe to eat for dogs? 

The answer to this question is similar to the answer on McDonald’s nuggets. If you can avoid it, don’t give your dog Wendy’s chicken nuggets. They’re not healthy and will do your dog more harm than good.

Looking at the calorie consequences of a dog eating a typical portion of ten Wendy’s nuggets, it doesn’t make for good reading. For small to medium-sized dogs, take a French Bulldog for example, a portion of Wendy’s nuggets contains over 400 calories and takes up an alarming 67% of their daily intake. This is significantly over their snack allowance. 

There are also a number of ingredients that are really bad for a dog’s stomach in Wendy’s nuggets. To name a few: anti-foaming agents, oils, spice extracts, sodium and xanthan gum. Not the type of ingredients you want swallowed by your dog, right? Avoid giving them the runs, and don’t feed them Wendy’s nuggets. 

Are chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A safe to eat for dogs? 

Just like the aforementioned brands, chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A won’t poison your dog, they’re just not the best thing you could be feeding them. A typical portion of six Chick-fil-A nuggets contains 190 calories which is 30% of a French Bulldog’s daily intake. Certainly not ideal for a suitable snack in terms of calories.

Again, similar to McDonald’s and Wendy’s nuggets, the biggest worry is some of the awful ingredients in the recipe. In this case, Chick-fil-A nuggets contain salt, spices, paprika, bleached flour, sodium aluminium phosphate, and much more. It isn’t rocket science to know that these ingredients and dogs aren’t a match made in heaven. 

Can I feed my dog frozen chicken nuggets? 

As with the previous advice, it all boils down to a number of determining factors, such as ingredients in the recipe, quality of the chicken and whether they’re coated in batter or not.

If needs must, and you do indeed decide to give your dog frozen chicken nuggets, we highly recommend removing the batter. So long as the batter is peeled off, frozen nuggets in moderation shouldn’t do any significant damage to your dog. 

What about Tyson chicken nuggets? 

While it goes without saying that no chicken nuggets are ideal for dogs, of all the commercially available frozen chicken nuggets, the Tyson brand looks to be the most acceptable. This is mainly because they include no artificial ingredients in their recipe. 

Despite this, it’s important to note that there are traces of onion and garlic in Tyson’s chicken nuggets, which is far from ideal for dogs. Don’t worry, these traces won’t be enough to poison your pooch, but for those with dogs who have delicate stomachs, it’s probably best to keep in mind. 

Can I feed my dog vegan chicken nuggets? 

Many dog owners fall into the trap thinking vegan nuggets will be fine for their dogs. After all, it’s a reasonable assumption to make. However, while on the surface it may appear to be a good option for dogs, vegan meat substitutes aren’t much better, with the majority of them not designed for a dog’s digestive system. 

These vegan meat substitutes used in vegan chicken nuggets contain a number of ingredients which can be damaging for dogs. For example, extra amounts of spice and salt are often added to improve the depth of taste, while onion and garlic – both toxic to dogs – are similarly used to enhance flavor. 

Another ingredient commonly found in vegan meat substitutes is soy. This is a major red flag, with soy strongly linked to health risks in dogs, adding further weight to the argument that it really isn’t worth the risk feeding your dog vegan chicken nuggets if you can avoid it. 

Can I feed my dog Quorn chicken nuggets? 

Unlike their vegan nugget counterparts, Quorn chicken nuggets don’t contain soy. While this immediately makes them less of a risk for dogs to eat, it still doesn’t gloss over some of their drawbacks. 

Mainly the fact that Quorn chicken nuggets contain more calories compared to other brands. With this in mind, it’s important not to overload your dog with a calorie count that far exceeds their recommended daily intake.

So if you still want to go ahead and try your dog with Quorn nuggets, it’s best to opt for very small portion sizes – and of course, with all the batter removed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can chicken nuggets make a dog sick?

Yes is the simple answer to this question. There are a number of ingredients in many chicken nugget recipes that shouldn’t be digested by dogs. As a result, this will often cause them to be sick and react negatively to the food. 

For example, the high amount of fat in chicken nuggets can cause your pooch to experience unpleasant after-effects, such as gastric distress, lethargy, and indeed vomiting.

Similarly, the high salt content can also lead to excessive thirst and urination. In extreme cases, and if consumed regularly, chicken nuggets can cause kidney failure and heart problems in your dog. 

Can dogs eat chicken nuggets from Burger King? 

As with many of the fast food chains explained above, you shouldn’t feed your dog chicken nuggets from Burger King. This is because they’re typically full of preservatives and high in both salt and fat. It’s also difficult to know about some of the potentially toxic additives that are in the nuggets. 

So, as is the case with most chicken nuggets, it’s best to keep your dog away from them to avoid any risks to their health. If for some reason, they eat some, make sure to keep an eye on them and report to your vet if you notice anything unusual. 

What about fried chicken? 

Like chicken nuggets, we recommend that you don’t feed your dog fried chicken, irrespective of whether it’s homemade, frozen or fast food. 

This is because fried chicken has a similarly high fat content to chicken nuggets due to the oil it’s fried in. If you let your dog eat a piece of fried chicken, it won’t do them any good in a nutritional sense, and will only result in them potentially being sick or experiencing diarrhea and lethargy. 

While the occasional piece of fried chicken may not have too much of a detrimental effect, in extreme cases, consuming fried chicken in bulk can cause your dog to have heart problems. 

Final Thoughts

As with any junk food, it’s always good to err on the side of caution when it comes to feeding your dog with it. Most dogs are invariably going to like the taste of fat-rich foods, so it’s best to keep them out of their diet as much as possible. If you risk giving them a try of treats such as the odd chicken nugget here and there, they’ll only end up begging for more. 

Therefore, feeding your dog with chicken nuggets should be avoided unless there is no other option. The processed meat, fatty batter and artificial ingredients of nuggets are all really bad for dogs and risk damaging their health and quality of life. The occasional one won’t be too damaging, but for many, it isn’t worth the risk.

If your dog consumes a significant amount of chicken nuggets, whether by accident or by you feeding them, you should keep a close eye on them, and immediately contact a vet if you notice anything strange. 

Kerry White

Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.

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