Can Dogs Eat BBQ Chicken?

Can dogs eat BBQ chicken? ¹

Did you know that in 2020 over 271 million Americans used BBQ sauces and marinades.. 

Now I have no idea how much of this would have been placed on chicken. 

But we know that chicken is the favourite meat in America so I’m guessing that the answer is loads. 

But should we be feeding it or sharing it with our dogs. 

Let’s find out shall we?

Can dogs have BBQ chicken?

Dogs can eat barbecue chicken in moderation. 

It is a very unhealthy food to feed your dog and it does contain some ingredients which are toxic at high levels to dogs. 

There are lots of ingredients that make up barbecue chicken and there is a huge number of BBQ chicken products out there. 

And so it is easy to become overwhelmed by all the options. 

In this article, I will examine lots and lots of ingredients and work out how safe they are to feed your dog. 

What is BBQ chicken?

Barbecue chicken is raw chicken that is covered in a BBQ sauce and then cooked on a BBQ or it is raw chicken that is covered in a BBQ sauce and then cooked in a conventional oven. 

Chicken balls and sesame chicken are two other chicken dishes which are served with a sauce and aren’t great options for your dog.

As well as the different ways of cooking the chicken, there are three main different ways of preparing it. 

Buying cooked BBQ chicken, buying a BBQ sauce to cook your chicken in or making your own sauce to cook it in. 

I will take a look at each of these options in turn to see how dog friendly they are. 

Can dogs eat ready made cooked BBQ chicken?

I’m on the Walmart site and I’m looking at a couple of popular products. 

This shredded chicken in original BBQ sauce has an ingredient list that is packed full of chemical sounding names. 

Here are the main ingredients. 

Cooked seasoned chicken (including added salt) 

Tomato puree

High fructose corn syrup


Brown sugar

The good news is that none of these are toxic for your dog, the bad news is that most of them aren’t exactly healthy either! 

The three most concerning ingredients are the salt which has been added to the chicken, the

corn syrup and brown sugar. 

Can dogs eat salt?

In all probability, your dog already has enough salt in their diet and they don’t need anymore. 

The amount of salt that is in this product won’t harm your dog as long as they only have a few mouthfuls every so often. 

Don’t let your dog eat a whole portion every Saturday night. 

Rotisserie chicken is another chicken dish which isn’t dog friendly because of how much salt it contains.

Can dogs eat sugar?

OK And it is the same story with the corn syrup and brown sugar. 

Your dog doesn’t need sugar in their diet, just keep it to a minimum. 

Can dogs eat tomato paste?

Tomato paste isn’t toxic for your dog but it is very rich and many dogs will struggle to digest it properly. 

I know that is the case with my two dogs. 

Eating anything with tomato paste in it might make a dog’s stool a bit soft or runny the next day. 

But don’t be alarmed as their stool will soon return to normal. 

Can dogs eat vinegar?

Eating a bit of vinegar won’t harm your dog. 

Can dogs eat onion and garlic?

 This product also contains a little onion and garlic powder. 

I don’t know the exact amount because we never do but it is less than 2%.

Onion and garlic are toxic to dogs but not when the amounts are as small as they are in this product. 

My next ready cooked product is honey BBQ boneless chicken bites. 

And the main ingredients are pretty similar.. 

Can dogs eat wheat flour?

Flour in this product is used as a means to get the sauce to stick to the chicken. 

The only dogs who will have trouble with wheat flour are food with a wheat allergy. 

Can dogs eat honey?

Honey is a very popular flavour within BBQ sauce.

Some of the most popular products tend to be honey BBQ instead of just original BBQ.

Most dogs would love the sticky sweetness of honey and it definitely isn’t toxic for them. 

But honey is packed full of calories because, after all, it is just another form of sugar. 

Having looked at a couple of ready cooked BBQ chicken products, I will move on and take a look at some ready made BBQ sauces. 

If they contain any ingredients that we haven’t already mentioned, I will write a few notes. 

Can dogs eat ready made BBQ sauce?

I have looked at two popular BBQ sauces: 

  • Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce and 
  • Kraft’s slow simmered Sweet Honey Barbecue sauce. 

And the main ingredients in these two sauces are ingredients that have been mentioned already.

Which is great news and tells us that although the sauces are unhealthy for a dog, they aren’t poisonous!

So that was a nice and quick section, wasn’t it? 

That just leaves me to look at homemade barbecue chicken sauces. 

I will root out the most popular ones and check to see if they contain anything that might be dangerous for your dog. 

Can dogs eat homemade BBQ sauce?

I have looked at two popular recipes for homemade sauce and the ingredients that these recipes use are incredibly similar. 

The four ingredients that haven’t been mentioned before are:

Molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder and smoked paprika. 

I will talk about each of these now. 

Can dogs eat molasses?

Dogs won’t have a problem with molasses which is just an unrefined form of sugar at the end of the day. 

Molasses are about 15% higher in calories than table sugar. 

Can dogs eat Worcestershire sauce?

This sauce contains onions and garlic in the ingredients but it is difficult to gauge how much is used. 

Perhaps the most famous brand of Worcestershire sauce is Lea & Perrins. 

In their recipe, onion is the sixth most used ingredient and garlic the eighth. 

And since the amount used is only a tablespoon, your dog should be OK. 

Can dogs eat mustard powder?

This is an interesting ingredient as far as our dogs are concerned. 

A few pet sites claim that mustard is toxic to dogs but I can find no mention of mustard poisoning on really trusted sites such as the pet poison hotline. 

I can well believe that mustard is an irritant for a dog if they eat too much of it and will cause many dogs to suffer with a bit of diarrhea or have mouths that are on fire or eyes that are watering. 

But that doesn’t make it toxic for dogs. 

However both of these records for barbecue sauce do require quite a lot of mustard powder so it is something to bear in mind. 

I think we are done. 

There are a lot of BBQ chicken ingredients that I have discussed. 

But in my next section I want to move on. 

I want to discuss another danger that BBQ chicken might pose to your dog. 

Can dogs eat under cooked barbecue chicken?

Raw chicken contains some nasty bacteria, including salmonella and campylobacter. 

The USDA believes that 1 in 6 Americans suffer from food poisoning every year. 

Undercooked and BBQ’d chicken isn’t responsible for all of this poisoning but it is responsible for lots of people getting ill. 

Now those figures are for people, not dogs. 

And a dog’s tolerance of undercooked chicken is different to a person’s tolerance but it can still affect them. 

A dog’s stomach acid is far stronger than a human’s and so that provides extra protection against bacteria. 

But the safest way for you and your dog to enjoy BBQ chicken is to cook it thoroughly. 

To wrap this article up I want to discuss what type of barbecue chicken to feed your dog. 

Can dogs eat BBQ chicken wings or legs?

If there is something which makes a bit of BBQ chicken taste even more delicious it is when you are holding a sticky wing or leg in your hand and nibbling at the meat around the bone. 

Left to their own devices, I’m sure our dogs would feel the same. 

But dogs shouldn’t be given any meat that contains cooked bones- which is one of the many dangers of fried chicken.

This is because when bones are cooked they become harder and more brittle. 

When a dog bites into a cooked bone, the bone is more likely to splinter and leave a sharp piece in your dog’s mouth or throat. 

Raw bones are far safer for your dog to eat although dogs should be supervised when being fed any bone. 

What does this mean for our BBQ chicken? 

Take the meat off the bone before you share it with your dog.

Photo credits

¹ Photo by Daniel Hooper on Unsplash

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!