Before I begin, I wanted to advise that I am by no means recommending you should you’re your dog eat McDonald’s food. You don’t need to be a vet or a canine nutritionist to agree with me, it’s just common sense… the nutritional value of any fast food is extremely low and should not be part of a dog’s diet.
However, there could be times where your dog accidently eats McDonald’s food, or you have no other option than to let them have a bite on a burger or nugget… perhaps when you’re on the road with no access to proper dog food, you can’t resist giving them the occasional McDonald’s as a treat.
Can dogs eat McDonalds? Whilst most of the McDonald’s menu for the most part isn’t fatal to dogs; it is an unhealthy meal choice. There are also ingredients in McDonald’s food that are toxic to dogs in large quantities, such as onions. There is also a high salt content and sauces in McDonalds which could upset your dog’s stomach.
The bottom line is this; dogs can have McDonald’s food, but it should only be a last resort, and you should also remove some of the ingredients before letting them eat. You can scroll down to find out which parts will need to be removed.
That being said, if you want to feed your dog some food from McDonalds, there is a right way and a wrong way of going about it. This article will explore how to safely give your dog McDonalds as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
What can a dog have from McDonald’s?
Below is a selection of the what could be described as McDonald’s dog-friendly, with each of the item’s nutritional values and potential dangers to your dog listed.
What I have also done is explain how many calories are in each item and then crunched some numbers for you based on:
- Dogs should only eat 25 calories for each pound they weigh each day.
- Dogs should only have treats as 10% of their total daily food intake (the 90/10 rule).
This will help you to decide what a dog can have from McDonald’s if you really are certain this is something you want to feed your dog.
What I then did was list the weights of two popular breeds, so you can then understand what you can order your dog from McDonald’s without compromising daily calorie limits.
- Average French Bulldog is 25 pounds: Should eat no more than 625 calories daily.
- Average Labrador is 70 pounds: Should eat no more than 1,750 calories daily.
But, to re-iterate, I would rather you didn’t let your dog eat anything from the McDonald’s menu. All of the data presented below on what a dog can have from McDonald’s is for informational purposes only.
Can my dog eat a McDonald’s burger?
McDonald’s burgers can be ok feed to your dog, providing it’s just the meat patty part. However, bear in mind that it doesn’t offer any nutritional value due to the fact that it is largely processed meat which has also been prepared with salts and peppers.
If you really do want to let your dog have a McDonald’s burger, make sure you order it without any possible stomach upset-inducing ingredients such as processed cheese, onion, pickles, and sauces.
Handy Hint: For more information on a study I did into the nutritional values of a Big Mac on a dog’s diet, please read this blog post; can dogs eat Big Macs?
Alternatively, you can always take this stuff out, but bear in mind that traces may remain.
Whilst these traces might not be inherently harmful (unless it is onion which is toxic to dogs), they certainly aren’t healthy and will almost definitely cause some kind of stomach upset. This is why it is beneficial to just feed your dog the patty itself if you’re getting them food from McDonald’s, as it will fill them up without making them feel unwell.
In terms of calories counting, here’s how much each McDonald’s burgers could account for in both a French Bulldog and a Labrador:
- McDonald’s Big Mac (563 calories): 90% French Bulldog / 32% Labrador daily intake.
- McDonald’s Cheeseburger (303 calories): 48% French Bulldog / 17% Labrador daily intake.
- McDonald’s Hamburger (250 calories): 40% French Bulldog / 14% Labrador daily intake.
Can my dog eat a McDonald’s fries?
A few McDonald’s French fries are not going to poison your dog. Technically, it’s not going to be a massive problem in small moderation, but with potatoes being high in carbs, and potentially a lot of salt being present, I would avoid fries in your dog’s diet completely.
Then there’s the way in which McDonald’s fries are cooked. Yep, it’s the oil factor. The type of oil that fries are cooked in are not good for dogs to eat as they include a lot of trans and saturated fats; these are the bad kind of fats.
In high quantities, fat can lead to upset stomachs for dogs, and in the longer term could even cause diabetes, obesity, or pancreatitis.
- McDonald’s Large Fries (498 calories): 80% French Bulldog / 28% Labrador daily intake.
- McDonald’s Medium Fries (378 calories): 60% French Bulldog / 22% Labrador daily intake.
Can dogs eat McDonald’s chicken nuggets and hash browns?
In the same way as burger patties, the chicken in McDonald’s chicken nuggets is filling, but offers hardly any true nutritional value to your dog; it’s processed food after all. It’s the same with the potatoes in hash browns.
Whilst you might think it fine to let your dog eat chicken nuggets and hash browns from McDonald’s, just stop a moment and think about what they are coated and then cooked in.
Yep, the battered breadcrumb coating, and then the nuggets and hash browns being cooked in a fryer. When you put it like that, it’s not really a dog-friendly food you would want to order from McDonald’s is it?
In medical terms, batter coating on the nugget serves little purpose other than blocking your dog’s arteries, raising their cholesterol and being difficult for them to chew, swallow and digest.
If you really do want to let your dog eat McDonald’s nuggets, please peel off the batter first, so it’s just the chicken element that’s left. You might struggle to do that with the hash browns, so avoid feeding these to your dog altogether. You can read more here about why hash browns are bad for dogs.
- McDonald’s Nuggets 6 Pieces (287 calories): 46% French Bulldog / 16% Labrador daily intake.
- McDonald’s Hash Browns (136 calories): 22% French Bulldog / 8% Labrador daily intake.
Can my dog eat McDonald’s ice cream?
There are many different varieties of ice cream available at McDonald’s, so I’ve just decided to focus on one; the standard and plain McFlurry ice cream with no toppings and sauce.
Whilst a little ice cream probably is fine for most dogs, and they will lap it up, I would not personally let my dog eat a McDonald’s McFlurry at all.
Ice cream contains huge levels of sugar and milk. Sugar is a terrible diet choice for dogs, and dairy-based products will often lead to stomach upsets, gas, and diarrhoea.
If you do decide to let your dog have a McFlurry, just give them a very small amount and see how they react, but even then, I don’t recommend it.
Most importantly though, never, ever let your dog eat chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, and just a small amount can lead to vomiting and dehydration.
If your dog consumes a lot of dairy, you should expect symptoms like vomiting, soft stools and prominent flatulence – so consider whether it’s best to skip the ice cream if you’re in an enclosed space like a car!
- McDonald’s McFlurry (223 calories): 36% French Bulldog / 13% Labrador daily intake.
Can dogs eat McDonald’s McChicken?
Whilst McDonald’s advertise the McChicken sandwich as being 100% chicken breast, don’t let that fool you into thinking you should let your dog eat one, and certainly not without removing the bun and sauces.
Even if you do remove the McChicken sandwich from the sesame seed bun, it’s still got the batter coating on it which has been in the fryer. Just like the nuggets I spoke about earlier; this is hardly a healthy choice.
Peel the batter off, and then you have something that is far better for your dog. In fact, if I was to let my dog eat anything from the McDonald’s menu, it would probably be the McChicken sandwich with the batter removed so it’s just the breast part.
- McDonald’s McChicken (357 calories): 57% French Bulldog / xx% Labrador daily intake.
Can dogs eat McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish?
Fish can be part of a dog’s healthy diet, providing it’s not been cooked in batter, oils, salts, and seasoning… which rules out the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish for your dog in one fell swoop!
Just like the McChicken sandwich, you could remove the batter. However, I would still not risk it as there could be traces of bones in the meal which might cause a blockage in your dog’s insides.
- McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish (379 calories): 61% French Bulldog / 22% Labrador daily intake.
Can dogs eat anything from McDonald’s and be ok?
Some of the ingredients commonly found in McDonald’s food such as raw onion is actually considered poisonous in dogs, so if you suspect your dog has consumed some onion it is best to take them to see a vet, even if they appear fine.
Sugar-free ketchup is also considered poisonous for dogs because it contains the ingredient xylitol, which is a substance that is toxic for dogs regardless of how small the amount may be.
Even so, any kind of ketchup does more harm to your dog than good, as it’s acidic nature can cause stomach upset, diarrhoea or vomiting.
There’s also thing like mayo, sesame seeds in the buns, oils, salts, and seasonings which can all cause upset stomachs.
I would also say that anything from the McDonald’s dessert menu is incredibly risky for dogs. Whilst a plain McFlurry could be ok in small doses, desserts containing chocolate chips, chunks or sauce can also be incredibly dangerous due to the fact that chocolate is considered toxic and is very dangerous for dogs.
What happens if my dog eats McDonald’s food?
If your dog does eat McDonald’s food, then the reaction will be down to what exactly they ate from the menu. As explained, it’s far better to ensure any food you give them has batters, sauces, salts, and dressings removed.
But just because you can, it doesn’t mean that you should.
If the documentary Supersize Me taught us anything, it is that McDonald’s has minimal nutritional value, cannot be used as a substitute for every meal and can have catastrophic health consequences when eaten in large quantities.
There’s a reason why dogs and humans need different food – dog food contains all the necessary nutrients that are essential for dogs to grow, develop and live a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.
Indeed, as well as McDonald’s lacking in essential dog-tailored nutrients, their menu is also rich in fat, sugar, salt, carbohydrates, artificial preservatives, seasonings and condiments.
If your dog suffers from diabetes, foods rich in sugar or carbs could end up worsening their condition. This means it is especially important to remove any buns before giving them the food and/or avoiding sweeter items on the menu altogether.
You can usually customise your order so things like hamburgers come without the bun.
You should also tread carefully if your dog has a heart condition, because a lot of the food in McDonald’s, especially their French fries, are incredibly high in salt. You should always check the salt (and calorie) content in food before ordering it, or just outright avoid foods you know to be high in salt like fries.
Furthermore, if your dog has a dairy intolerance, vanilla ice creams or milkshakes will absolutely cause more harm than good – stopping their begging for a short time isn’t worth it if you then spend that evening cleaning up after their inevitable stomach upset.
All of these ingredients will not only damage your dog’s health in the long term if consumed regularly but can also lead to temporary digestive issues such as diarrhoea, which is uncomfortable for both your pup and for whoever has to clean it up!
While you should definitely err on the side of caution when it comes to feeding your dog McDonalds, there are ways to do it safely.
However, I don’t recommend it at all, and letting your dog eat any form of fast food should be completely avoided unless there really is no other option.