People love fried chicken.
In America in 2019, over half of all Americans had eaten some frozen fried chicken.
And by 2025 they will spend nearly $3 billion eating fried chicken from fast food restaurants.
And so it is natural to ask, can dogs eat fried chicken?
Below I will provide a quick and simple answer but if you want more details, read on.
Can dogs eat fried chicken? Dogs shouldn’t eat fried chicken but it’s not for the reasons that most people might think. When it comes to fried chicken, most dog owners are concerned about the fat content- which is high. And then the spices used in the batter are also a cause for concern. Hopefully though, if your dog eats fried chicken it will be so rare and in such small quantities that the fat content and spices won’t be an issue. To me, the real danger of fried chicken is that some of it contains bones- which can be a real danger to dogs.
Why are fried chicken bones dangerous?
Not every piece of fried chicken contains bones but many do- as wings, legs and thighs can all be fried whole.
Leaving aside the issue of whether dogs should eat bones in the first place, if you are going to feed your dog bones there are a few simple rules to follow.
And the bones in fried chicken don’t follow these rules.
Dogs are far safer eating bigger bones that they can gnaw at instead of eating smaller bones that might get stuck in their throat.
And the bones found in chicken wings and thighs in particular are small.
Next, raw or uncooked bones are safer than cooked bones.
Cooked bones are more brittle and more liable to break into sharp pieces which when swallowed can injure a dog.
Having explained the greatest danger posed by fried chicken I will now explain how nutritious fried chicken can be for your dog (just kidding!)
What is the nutrition in fried chicken?
I have created a chart below which shows the most relevant nutrition data about a fried chicken wing.
To place it in context, I have also added the nutrition details of a unfried chicken wing
It is for a 100g serving.
|Cholesterol||93 mg||69 mg|
|Protein||18 g||23 g|
It is easy to see from the chart just how much more unhealthy a fried chicken wing is than a chicken wing which is just baked.
The fried version has almost a third more calories and cholesterol and it has double the amount of sodium (salt) in it.
Rotisserie chicken also contains a huge amount of salt.
The fried version has a slightly higher fat content and a slightly lower protein content.
In terms of vitamins and minerals, the two versions of the chicken wings are very similar. They are both highest in vitamin B3 and the mineral selenium.
But how does this nutrition affect your dog?
A dog with too many calories and fat in their diet might become fat and obese.
Although fat is an important part of a dog’s diet.
High cholesterol levels in dogs are closely associated with fatty foods but high cholesterol isn’t as dangerous for dogs as it is for people.
Protein in the right amount is important for dogs.
It provides energy as well as building and repairing muscles and other body tissues.
Vitamin B3 is important for the healthy function of nerves within your dog’s body.
Selenium which is a mineral which is found in tiny amounts in foods plays a crucial role in metabolism.
What are the ingredients in fried chicken?
I have chosen to look at two different types of fried chicken in answering this question.
The possible ingredients of KFC chicken and the ingredients from a well known brand of frozen fried chicken.
What are the ingredients in KFC?
The exact ingredients in perhaps the world’s most famous fried chicken, KFC are a closely guarded secret.
Although there have been a few people who claim to have found the recipe.
The chicken is soaked in buttermilk and coated in a bread mixture before the spices are added.
Famously there are 11 spices of which the three biggest ones are paprika, white pepper and garlic salt.
Are these ingredients dangerous for dogs?
Buttermilk and bread mixture aren’t a healthy ingredient but neither are they toxic for your dog.
The worst result of your dog eating these ingredients will be a touch of diarrhea.
The spices are a slightly different matter.
Most dogs won’t like eating spices because they aren’t used to those strong flavours.
But the seasoning that is a bit of a cause for concern is garlic salt.
Now you might have heard that if a dog eats too much garlic it might kill them.
Fortunately, a dog needs to eat quite large amounts of garlic before it poisons them.
It takes anywhere between 15 and 30 grams of garlic per kilogram of body weight to poison a dog.
So if we put that in the context of one of my golden retrievers who weighs 30 kg, they would need to eat between 450g and 900g of garlic.
When the average garlic bulb weighs 40 grams, a dog will need to eat 10 bulbs!
Not only that, but garlic salt is mostly salt with a bit of garlic thrown in.
As far as I’m aware, garlic salt is 75% salt.
Garlic is a seasoning which is used in BBQ chicken too.
What are the ingredients in frozen fried chicken?
When it comes to frozen fried chicken, one of the biggest brands in the US is Banquet.
Apart from chicken pieces, the main ingredient is wheat flour.
Which will be bad news is your dog has a gluten allergy but for most dogs flour poses no real risks- or any real nutritional benefits for that matter.
Then there are several much smaller ingredients such as different seasonings.
But since these are only present in such small quantities, they won’t cause your dog any real problems.
How much fried chicken should I feed to my dog?
If at all possible, you don’t want to feed any fried chicken to your dog.
This is partly because of how unhealthy the food is but also because once you start feeding your dog fried chicken they will want to eat some whenever you eat fried chicken.
So, be strong! Shut the dog in another room if you can or just ignore those eyes that give you that pitiful look!
If you are as weak and pathetic as me, then the secret is to give them tiny amounts.
Don’t give them a whole piece of fried chicken straight from the bucket- remember the bones.
Tear a small piece off from a piece of fried chicken breast and feed it to them as you finish eating it.
That way you won’t be tempted to feed them bits all the way through the meal.
My dog ate fried chicken, what should I do?
The biggest danger with your dog eating fried chicken is the bones.
So if they have got into your trash or the bucket of eaten fried chicken pieces when you weren’t looking, then you need to keep a close eye on your dog.
The biggest danger is that your dog will choke on one of the bones and if this is the case then it will be pretty obvious, pretty quickly.
If your dog is gagging or wheezing then you need to phone your vet and get them to try and drink some water.
If none of this happens then another symptom that you might see is a blood in their stool, which would indicate that a sharp piece of bone has damaged the digestion system as it worked its way through your dog.
There is no cause for alarm if you see a bit of blood in their stool on one occasion but if you see quite a lot of blood on more than one occasion then phone your vet.