Can Dogs Eat Sesame Chicken?

Photo by Paul Keller on Flickr

Although when it comes to takeaway food, pizza is the world’s number one choice, in the US Chinese is the King

A survey in 2019 showed that the average Brit spent £451 on take away food and that Chinese food was the most popular.

But should our dogs be joining us when we eat our takeaway food?

Specifically, can dogs eat sesame chicken?

Let’s find out.

What is sesame seed chicken?

Sesame seed chicken is a very popular dish served in many Chinese restaurants across the US.

But what is interesting about the dish is that it was invented in American and isn’t traditional Chinese cuisine.

Chicken pieces are deep fried before being covered in a thick and sweet sauce made corn starch, vinegar, wine, stock and sugar.

Just before the dish is served, sesame seeds are sprinkled on top. 

Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

But how safe is it for your dog?

Is it safe for a dog to eat? 

The good news is that there is nothing in any of the ingredients that are toxic or poisonous to your dog.

So you won’t be having to rush to the vet or to phone the Pet Poison helpline if your dog happens to eat any.

But, your dog might suffer a touch of diarrhea or might even vomit after their meal.

Let’s be honest, sesame seed chicken is a very rich food which isn’t doing your dog any favours.

But just how much your dog may suffer depends on how much sesame seed chicken that they ate and the exact ingredients used.

Or whether the dish was homemade, a takeaway, or a ready meal. 

First I want to discuss individual ingredients. 

Chicken

There is nothing wrong with adding a bit of cooked chicken to your dog’s diet- raw chicken could be a lot more dangerous

But, it is not the chicken itself but the way that it is cooked.

Fat/ oil

Most dogs will struggle with deep fried food because of the amount of oil used.

Fatty foods are harder for a dog to digest- partly because they should hardly ever eat fried food. 

Sugar

Most sesame seed chicken requires quite a bit of sugar, which is another dodgy ingredient. 

I have looked at the nutrition data on a few sesame seed chicken ready meals and the sugar content is around 3-5 %

Which is pretty high.

The biggest threat to a dog from one of sugary treats such as this, will not be obesity but the damage that the sugar might do to their teeth.

How Much Chicken To Feed A Dog Daily? 

Wine/ Sake

I don’t think that wine or sake will affect your dog much as most of it will have burnt off during cooking. 

Salt

Earlier I mentioned about the different places that your sesame seed chicken dish could have come from (homemade, restaurant or ready meal) and this will influence the exact ingredients that were used.

What I can be fairly confident of, is that if you bought your meal either from a restaurant or a grocery store then the amount of salt used will be very high.

A 100g serving of the dish might contain about 444 mg of sodium (salt) which is about 20% of a person’s recommended daily amount- forget about what a dog needs!

Like humans, dogs need salt in their diet because it helps to keep the body functioning properly, but they need it in moderation and the levels found in this chicken dish are very high. 

Salt will increase a dog’s thirst and therefore make them more dehydrated. 

Spices

Now a standard recipe of sesame seed chicken doesn’t require any spices.

It is a sweet dish rather than a spicy one. 

But there are lots of variations of this dish which do include spices.

Most spices aren’t toxic to your dog- the biggest threat comes from the lowly garlic and onion.

Some spices won’t be very pleasant for your dog to eat because they’re not pleasant for us to eat. 

Can Chinese food kill a dog?

Chinese food in and of itself cannot kill your dog (just like British or American food can’t) but there are a couple of things to bear in mind.

Firstly, if you regularly eat Chinese takeaway and your dog has the odd bite or two then there are two specific ingredients to be wary of.

Onion and Garlic

Onion and garlic in quite small quantities are poisonous to your dog and they shouldn’t be eating any food which contains them.

This is regardless of whether the dish is “Chinese” or “Indian” or whatever.

I don’t think that garlic is a particularly common ingredient used in Chinese food as soy sauce and ginger are more high profile, but just check the ingredients or the food label.

Onions would be more commonly used in Chinese food, particularly in vegetable dishes.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

MSG is a controversial substance, which is added to many foods, including chinese dishes, to increase flavour

It has hit the headlines because some people have had very bad side effects after eating food that contained some MSG. 

Lots of bad press followed about the dangers that MSG poses to humans and dogs

But the truth is that very little proper research has been done about the effects it has on people or dogs. 

This was a year long study carried out on some dogs that had MSG added to their diets. 

And it found no adverse effects.

And it is easy to be distracted by all of that.

But the real threat from MSG is that it is salt.

Just take a look at its sodium levels.  

So should my dog just steer clear of any Chinese food?

What is the healthiest Chinese food for my dog? 

I might be stretching a point here but I think that your dog can eat the occasional bit of Chinese food, as long as it is homemade and simplified.

By which I mean, stripped of many of the spices. 

A main ingredient in many Chinese dishes is rice.

Simple, boiled or steamed white or brown rice can be fed to your dog in moderation.

You can even add egg to the rice- just don’t fry it!

You can add meat to the dish.

Chicken is the most obvious one and instead of frying it, try boiling or grilling it. 

And Chinese food traditionally contains lots of steamed vegetables.

As long as you avoid onion and garlic you should be fine.

If you want to add spices you could use a bit of ginger…

Which chicken is best for dogs?

If sesame seed chicken is a dish best avoided by our dogs, should they eat chicken at all?

Chicken can be very nutritious for your dog. 

It is a great source of protein, which dogs need for energy.

It is a good source of vitamins and contains lots of vitamin B6- which helps convert food into energy. 

Although many people feed their dogs raw chicken quite happily, raw chicken does pose a health risk.

This is because it might contain a bacteria such as campylobacter or salmonella, both of which could make your dog very ill.

And so the safest thing to do is to cook any chicken that you feed to your dog.

And the best way to cook the chicken is to use the minimum of ingredients- just lightly steaming it is a great way of preparing it.

Cutting a chicken breast in half and wrapping it in foil will probably take about 20 minutes to cook. 

Or you can grill it- just make sure that the temperature isn’t high enough to burn the chicken.