Can dogs eat orange chicken? Well – here’s what you need to know. One of the most challenging things about being a dog parent is resisting giving your dog human food. Every time we order take-out and eat at the table or in front of the TV.
Chinese take-out is a popular cuisine worldwide, with orange chicken being a common favorite menu item. With this information in mind, you may be wondering, can dogs eat orange chicken? Dogs should not eat orange chicken.
When giving dogs human foods, there is confusion since some things we eat are okay for dogs. Orange chicken contains fat, sugar, soy sauce, and spices that can upset your dog’s stomach. Garlic and onion in orange chicken can cause potentially fatal toxicity if ingested by dogs.
But certain common ingredients could lead your dog straight to the emergency vet. In this guide, we will tell you all you need to know about the safety of orange chicken for your dog.
What Is Orange Chicken Made Of?
Orange chicken is a perennial Chinese entree popular for its sweet and zesty taste. This dish’s primary flavors are citrus and sweet, followed by the allure of juicy, breaded chicken in each bite. The chicken chunks for this dish are usually breaded and deep-fried and then coated in a sweet orange sauce that gives the dish its name.
While it may not seem too bad for dogs before the sauce is added, it is undoubtedly the sauce in this dish that is unsafe for dogs. Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients in orange chicken that can be harmful to your pet.
What Ingredients in Orange Chicken Are Unhealthy for Dogs?
One standout feature of dog food that is easy to recognize is its overall blandness. Canines evolved through the ages to become carnivores primarily, so this excludes much of what we eat every day. Therefore, the high sodium, sugar, and spices in a dish like orange chicken do not correlate to a dog’s overall digestive system.
Dogs primarily eat protein like chicken, but a dog only needs minimal amounts of sodium and sugars each day to maintain adequate health. So when you add in processed sugar, flour and cornstarch, spice, and garlic, a dish like orange chicken is a big no-no.
Here are the specific ingredients in orange chicken that make the dish a bad idea for canines:
Orange chicken is usually deep-fried in oil. Cooking oils, no matter the variety, are heavily concentrated in fats. Dogs can gain weight rapidly if given fatty foods and cooking oils certainly meet this threshold. Cooking oils are not outright toxic to dogs but should be avoided due to their fat content.
2. Orange Juice
This dish is prepared with either orange juice or orange peels. Orange juice has high concentrations of sugar, which is bad news for diabetic dogs. The zest of orange peels is not exactly sweet, but the high concentration of citrus could give your dog a bad case of indigestion.
In addition to orange juice, most orange chicken recipes call for sugar to be added to the sauce. This gives the dish its sweet flavor. Sugar is filled with empty calories that correspond to weight gain if not properly burned off. Like humans, added sugar is not listed as an essential nutrient for dogs. Too much can throw a dog’s insulin levels off balance and lead to diabetes.
4. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a staple of orange chicken, and if given to a dog, this can lead to salt toxicity quite quickly. Soy sauce is made from soybeans, which are not toxic to dogs, but it’s the salt and other ingredients that pose a problem. Canines should only receive sodium from their specially-formulated dog food with a 0.07% daily sodium allowance in dry dog food alone.
Depending on the brand, soy sauce contains roughly 1,000 mg of sodium in a single tablespoon alone. This far exceeds a dog’s daily sodium needs. This could lead to high blood pressure and potential kidney damage if a dog overeats. Furthermore, soy sauce typically contains garlic and onion extract as well. Both of these ingredients should be avoided at all costs.
5. Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions are certified staples in virtually any person’s diet. It is hard to imagine a diet that has to avoid these prolific ingredients, but this is the reality for dogs. The Allium family of plants, to which garlic and onion belong, contains harmful ingredients for dogs that can severely damage a canine’s red blood cells.
Orange chicken may include chopped onion and garlic in the dish itself or sprinkled in the sauce. The ingredient thiosulfate causes this, and this ingredient is present no matter what form the garlic and onion take, either raw or powdered. This alone makes the dish off limits at all costs to dogs.
When it comes to a dog’s overall diet, the blander, the better. Orange chicken may include red chili flakes or may even be prepared with diced chiles, depending on your order. Spicy ingredients can severely upset a dog’s digestive tract. Spices could also potentially lead to severe allergic reactions for canines sensitive to capsaicin.
Can Dogs Eat Orange Chicken in Moderation?
Due to the presence of garlic, onion, and soy sauce, you should refrain from ever giving your dog a dish like orange chicken. The sugar, fat, and sodium concentrations would likely be okay with one or two pieces. Still, the ingredients above could lead to an emergency depending on the amounts added to the dish.
In the circumstances such as this, it is best to avoid the temptation altogether. You can give your dog many safe alternatives to prevent them from begging (more on this below).
Orange Chicken Alternatives For Dogs
When you sit down to eat your orange chicken, consider preparing or buying some similar snacks to give your dog. Here are some close and safe alternatives to orange chicken to give your dog.
1. Boiled Chicken Breast and Rice
Boiling chicken is the best way to prepare this protein for dogs, but it is also a great source of protein. Cooked chicken that has not been seasoned is safe to give your dog in moderation. Cooked rice is also safe for dogs and is a popular remedy with boiled meat for dogs with upset stomachs.
Avoid adding any seasonings to the chicken and rice, including salt. Although this may seem bland, dogs will not know the difference and should happily devour the dish. Make sure you boil the chicken long enough (20 to 30 minutes) to ensure it is fully cooked. Raw or undercooked chicken poses the same health risks for dogs as it does for people.
2. Chicken Flavor Dog Treats
The easiest substitute to please your dog would be chicken-flavored dog treats. Some dog treats can be filled with too much salt, artificial ingredients, or dyes. Try and purchase a treat that uses organic ingredients or limits the number of preservatives within the snacks.
3. Chicken and Unsweetened Apple Sauce
Since orange chicken is typically sweet, you can consider preparing your dog-boiled, diced chicken mixed with unsweetened applesauce. Apples are generally safe for dogs if given in moderation.
It is recommended to purchase the unsweetened applesauce varieties since this cuts down on the overall amounts of sugar in the sauce. Chop up the chicken and mix it with about a cup of applesauce. Your dog can now have a general idea of what you are eating.
Should I Notify a Veterinarian If My Dog Ate Orange Chicken?
With all of this information at your disposal, you may be panicking if you give your dog some orange chicken. There is no cause for alarm unless your dog begins to show symptoms that are not normal.
If your dog drinks a lot of water afterward, this is normal due to the sodium content in the dish. It would also be expected for your dog to dry heave, which could be from indigestion or spices that did not agree with them.
Call your vet immediately if your dog starts vomiting, breathing rapidly, has a fast heart rate at rest, or looks pale or yellow. These symptoms correlate with possible garlic or onion toxicity or even kidney damage due to the sodium content. Monitor your dog’s behavior for a few hours.
Conclusion For “Can Dogs Eat Chicken”
In summary, you should avoid giving your puppy orange chicken. There are too many unsafe and unhealthy ingredients in this dish for dogs. It is even riskier when eating orange chicken take-out since it can be hard to verify the exact ingredients used in the dish’s preparation. Consider some of the above-mentioned safe alternatives for your dog so they will not feel left out when you are dining on orange chicken.
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