It’s no mystery: dogs love chicken. Often the main ingredient in many dog foods, chicken smells even more tantalizing as a warm and crispy filet. If your dog perks up when you pull into the Chick-fil-A drive-thru, you might wonder if it’s okay to toss a nugget or waffle fry into your backseat. While Chick-fil-A shouldn’t be an everyday experience for your dog, it’s generally fine to treat them with a fried chicken nugget as an occasional snack. Believe it or not, though, the fried chicken is safer for Fido than the grilled option here. Let’s dive into the menu and see why.
What Can My Dog Eat At Chick-fil-A?
As founder Truett Cathy said it best, “We didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.” Even so, there’s truly something special about Chick-fil-A. Perhaps it’s the way their chicken is marinated in pickle juice and then fried in peanut oil that retains the moisture, giving it a fresh flavor that’s never stale. At any rate, they’ve garnered many loyal fans, and we don’t know many dogs that would pass up the opportunity to eat more chick’n.
We already know it’s palatable to dogs, but should they eat it? Chick-fil-A chicken made the traditional way is fairly safe for your dog, but we wouldn’t say it’s a healthy choice. As a fried food, it’s relatively high in fat and calories, but the sodium content is most concerning for pets. An eight-count box of chicken nuggets holds 1,210 milligrams of sodium, which is more than five times the daily recommended amount for dogs.
The classic chicken sandwich holds even more concerns. A simple chicken sandwich boasts 420 calories and more than 50 ingredients, including quite a few preservatives. The bun contains unnecessary carbohydrates and calories, and the pickle is too salty for their taste. You’ll want to skip the sauce, too. Most sauces and dressings contain seasonings and other ingredients that may be harmful to your pup, from garlic powder to sugar.
If you’re going to feed your dog Chick-fil-A chicken, opt for a nugget or a couple bites of a chicken strip instead of the sandwich. None of the ingredients are known to be toxic to dogs, which makes them a safe choice in moderation. In such a small serving, you don’t have to worry about any negative repercussions from overeating or salt toxicity. The only exception would be if your dog is on a low-fat diet to lose weight, or if they’re at risk of developing pancreatitis. In those cases, it’s best to not give them anything outside of the food recommended by their vet.
What Else Can My Dog Eat At Chick-fil-A?
In addition to fried chicken, tasty classic sides like waffle fries and macaroni and cheese are usually okay in moderation. Of course, it depends on the individual dog and their health conditions. For example, dogs that have sensitive stomachs or are at risk of pancreatitis may not tolerate fried foods. And of course, lactose-intolerant canines should steer clear from the mac ‘n cheese.
The milkshakes aren’t a good choice—regardless of the flavor—because they all contain way too much sugar for your pup. A vanilla ice cream cup has a relatively lower amount of sugar at 24 grams per serving, so it’s safe to at least let them lick the bowl clean. Here’s a tip: ask for a pup cup. While this usually refers to a cup of whipped cream served at coffee shops, some Chick-fil-A locations up the ante. Their upgraded version of a pup cup includes a small scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a dog treat! And it’s free.
Why Grilled Chicken Might Not Be Best
Humans who are seeking a health-conscious snack might choose grilled chicken over fried because of the lower fat content. For dogs, however, we would advise you to indulge them with a small bite of the fried nuggets only. The grilled chicken options at Chick-fil-A are seasoned with several ingredients that are toxic to dogs, including onion powder, garlic powder, and lemon peel. Since they’re only having a sample, it’s not worth saving a few calories and fat in exchange for toxic ingredients.
If you’re swinging by Chick-fil-A with your dog, it’s okay to treat them with a fried chicken nugget as long as they aren’t at risk of developing pancreatitis or on a low-fat diet. The fried chicken doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients, but it does have a lot of sodium, so be careful not to feed too much to your dog and always provide them with plenty of water. Avoid the grilled chicken, however, since it does contain toxic seasonings, such as garlic powder. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, you can give your dog a bite of your vanilla ice cream, or ask your local store if they offer a pup cup.