So, you just pulled up to the McDonald’s drive-thru, and you’re wondering what you can order for your dog…
The unfortunate truth is, you technically shouldn’t feed your dog anything from McDonalds – except for apple slices – but a few small bites of your food won’t hurt ’em, either.
Why McDonald’s Is Bad for Dogs
McDonald’s has a lot of meat on their menu, and we all know dogs can eat meat, so it might seem reasonable to order your dog a cheeseburger without a bun, or a small order of chicken nuggets, but there’s something important you might not be considering…
Most of the food at McDonald’s is fried and/or loaded with sugar and/or loaded with salt; all of which are bad for dogs. There’s a big difference between the skinless chicken breast you made for dinner the other night, or the steak you grilled at your last cookout, and the processed patty on your Big Mac.
For example, the original McDonald’s hamburger – the small one – has 480mg of sodium! That’s way too much for a dog to eat in one serving. Even for a human, that’s 20% of the RDA. In fact, vets advise against feeding dogs processed meats in general, regardless if they’re from McDonald’s or anywhere else, because of the high sodium.
Just about everything on McDonald’s menu is technically too salty for a dog, and the fact that most of their foods are also deep fried only makes matters worse.
McDonald’s burgers and sandwiches also have other ingredients on them that are bad for dogs, like pickles and onions.
Excessively fatty foods, like fried chicken, are toxic to dogs. These fried foods can inflame your dog’s pancreas and do damage to their intestines.
Sugar and Dairy
Sugar and dairy are also culprits lurking in McDonald’s menu. Just like salt, too much sugar can be harmful to your pet’s health. It’s actually just as bad for dogs as it is for people, and has similar effects, such as obesity, tooth decay, and even diabetes. And while you may think milk and other dairy products are good for dogs, too much dairy can give them diarrhea.
A Little Taste Won’t Hurt
It’s common knowledge that McDonald’s food is not healthy. Sure, eating it once in a while isn’t going to hurt you, but eating it on a regular basis can lead to serious health problems. You can apply this same logic to your dog…
Feeding your dog an entire Big Mac or large fries is a bad idea, but giving them a small bite of your sandwich, a few fries, or even a chicken nugget or two is fine. It’s just like the difference between you eating a few potato chips verses a whole bag.
You should also keep your dog’s size in mind. If you have a big dog – 50+ lb – they can tolerate a lot more bad stuff than a smaller dog. If your dog is very small, I’d suggesting breaking one french fry or chicken nugget into three or four small pieces, rather than giving them three or four whole pieces.
Apple Slices for The Win!
There’s actually one item on McDonald’s menu that’s not only safe for dogs, but good for them, too: apple slices. For dogs, apple slices are a safe source of antioxidants and vitamin C.
If It’s Bad for Humans, It’s Probably Bad for Dogs
Let’s shift the focus away from McDonald’s specifically for a moments, and talk about bad foods in general. No matter what restaurant you’re at, if you’re eating something you know is bad for you – i.e., junk food – then you should assume it’s also bad for your dog.
So whenever you’re eating junk food, even if it might not be that bad for your dog, or not even bad for them at all, the safest choice is to keep it to yourself.
As a general rule – minus the occasional french fry – I only share whole foods that have not been fried or cooked with any seasoning with my dogs.
Julia Calderone (March 23, 2018). 8 Toxic Foods for Dogs. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/pets/toxic-foods-for-dogs/
Tails.com (August 6, 2018). Is Salt Bad for Dogs? Retrieved from https://tails.com/blog/2018/08/06/myth-buster-is-salt-bad-for-dogs/
Kimberly Gauthier. Can Dogs Eat Apples? https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/can-dogs-eat-apples