Most dogs have a soft spot for chicken in all forms. Give your pup a few pieces of chicken nuggets and he will surely gobble them down like a hungry dog. Like, who would say no to these treats?
It is not difficult to understand why our dogs would die for chicken nuggets. They are so popular even with our kids! These fried foods are tasty, juicy, and they have an inviting smell. But can you offer them to your dog without worrying they might cause stomach problems? Let’s see what the deal with chicken nuggets is and what you need to know before giving them to your dog.
What’s inside your nuggets?
Are chicken nuggets healthy? To answer whether they are bad for your pooch or not, it is best to look at each and every single ingredient in chicken nuggets. Unfortunately, the ingredients of typical chicken nuggets do not include substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals, and they are also low in fiber and antioxidants.
Here are the ingredients of regular chicken nuggets:
- Boneless chicken meat
- Wheat starch
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Autolyzed yeast extract
Can dogs eat chicken nuggets?
Chicken meat and eggs are both healthy for dogs. In fact, your dog can benefit from the good amount of lean protein in chicken. However, the rest of the ingredients of chicken nuggets may cause potential harm to dogs. We all know the excessive consumption of salt and spices can cause harm to both us and our pets.
Some chicken nugget recipes also use garlic powder and onion powder. Did you know that garlic is five times as toxic than onions for animals? This is because garlic is more concentrated than onions. Garlic toxicity can happen even a small dose is ingested. Most pet nutritionists do not recommend adding garlic powder to your dog’s meal because, over time, it may harm your dog. On the other hand, around 15 grams of onion can poison dogs.
What about autolyzed yeast extract? What is it that you have to be careful about when giving your dog foods containing this ingredient? Autolyzed yeast extract contains glutamates. More commonly known as monosodium glutamate (MSG), autolyzed yeast extract is added to chicken nuggets to enhance their flavor.
A research at the Colorado State University confirmed that autolyzed yeast extract contains hidden gluten. So if you are following a gluten-free diet, it’s best to avoid foods containing this additive.
Chicken nuggets are usually deep-fried in vegetable oil. Did you know that when foods are deep-fried at high temperatures, the starches become Advanced Glycation End Products? When starches are processed at high temperature, the food reacts to form carcinogens.
Basically, chicken nuggets contain trans fats that that can increase the blood cholesterol concentration in canines. Several studies in the past have already linked dietary trans fatty acids to the risk of different cancers. They also raise bad cholesterol levels while decreasing the lower good cholesterol levels.
Effects of deep-fried foods on dogs
Fried foods increase the risks of life-threatening disorders such as heart diseases and diabetes not just in humans but also in dogs. Fatty and fried foods can cause pancreatitis in canines, meaning the inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for releasing enzymes into your dog’s digestive tract so it can break down fats.
Once the dog develops pancreatitis, the organ produces enzymes that can damage it as well as the nearby organs. When left untreated, pancreatitis can cause complications that can kill your dog. Aside from a high-fat diet, pancreatitis in canines can also be caused by diabetes mellitus, obesity, and hypothyroidism.
Healthy Nuggets for Dogs
If your dog loves chicken nuggets, skip those deep-fried ones from fast foods and restaurants especially if you are not sure how they are made. There is a better and healthier way to prepare them for your dog. Try these recipes when you feel like indulging on chicken nuggets with your dog:
1.Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets – baking is healthier than deep-frying because it does not require oil. Baked foods have a lower calorie content than their deep-fried counterparts. You may use just a little bit of oil to prevent the food from sticking to the pan. The best way would be to spray olive oil to keep the nuggets from sticking to the baking pan.
2.Baked Crispy Coconut Chicken Nuggets – your dog will surely delight with the crunchiness of these nuggets. This dish is done by combining the breadcrumbs with shredded coconut for the breading. Adding just a bit of salt and pepper to flavor the meat will not hurt.
3.Skinny Chicken Nuggets – this recipe uses skinless chicken breast fillets that are cut into small cubes. It is actually better if the nuggets are cut in smaller sizes because your dog will not have a hard time chewing them. These nuggets are drizzled with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil so they definitely make a wholesome treat.
4.Quinoa Chicken Nuggets – as long as Peanut does not have a hard time digesting quinoa, you may use it as an ingredient in your puppy’s meals. The quinoa coating of these nuggets gives them a crunchiness both you and your dog will surely love. Quinoa is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, and fiber and also contains omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your dog’s heart.
5.Baked Tofu Nuggets – as long as your pooch is not sensitive to soy products, you can definitely offer him this delicious treat. For the seasoning, you may skip the garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, and paprika and add just a bit of salt to add some flavor to these nuggets – this should be enough. Tofu is actually a staple among vegan households. It does not contain any cholesterol, it has a very little amount of sodium and is rich in potassium, iron, and calcium.
6.Veggie Nuggets – this recipe uses broccoli, carrots, golden beet, parsnip, and Serrano pepper. You may also add a bit of cheddar cheese if your puppy can tolerate dairy. This snack only requires a tablespoon of canola oil for frying, since the balls are just about a tablespoon each.
7.Chickpea Nuggets – this vegan nugget recipe uses the wholesome combination of rolled oats and garbanzo beans. You can use only kosher salt to season and totally skip the garlic powder and onion powder. The recipe also uses gluten-free breadcrumbs. Chickpeas are a great source of protein, dietary fiber, manganese, folate, copper, and phosphorous.
8.Baked Panko-Breaded Chicken Nuggets – panko breadcrumbs have a coarser texture compared to regular breadcrumbs which means you can get a bigger crunch from your nuggets. The best thing with panko is that it does not make the food soggy after you cook them. Panko is also a good source of fiber while having low amount of sodium, fat, and calories.
9.Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets – this recipe uses a bit of grated parmesan cheese. Like any other type of cheeses, parmesan is fine for dogs that can easily digest dairy. Parmesan has a very low level of lactose, so you should not worry too much that it might cause stomach problems and is rich in vitamin B, calcium, and vitamin A.
10.Broccoli Nuggets – these vegetarian nuggets are quick to prepare and only use a few ingredients, namely broccoli florets, eggs, cheese, a bit of salt, and a cup of cheddar cheese. You may skip the garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B6.
11.Pretzel Coated Chicken Nuggets – pretzels are fine for canines. You will need a food processor to finely mix the pretzels and parmesan, and then simply combine them to create the crust for your nuggets.
12.Potato and Chickpea Nuggets – another vegan option, these nuggets contain sweet potatoes, canned chickpeas, flax meal, seasonings, basil, and water. You can prepare them for your pup without the garlic cloves, onion powder, and pepper.
When preparing homemade chicken nuggets, it is best to use organic chicken. It is also healthier if you get rid of any excess fat before cutting the chicken pieces in small sizes. If you want to have uniformly baked nuggets, use a kitchen mallet to pound them. This trick gives your chicken a soft and juicy texture on the inside.
Remember that your dog does not need a lot of salt and spices so if you are preparing nuggets for both yourself and him separate a batch just for your pooch. He can also get along just fine without the dip.
Chicken nuggets are not bad for dogs as an occasional treat. Giving it once a week would not hurt. They only become unhealthy if they are consumed regularly and in large amounts. Supposing you are still eager to offer nuggets to your pooch, consider the baked ones or those that use healthy ingredients such as quinoa, vegetables, and chickpea. This way, you can offer your dog his favorite treat without feeling guilty! Share those nuggets with Peanut and he will surely love it.