So you’ve had a long day, and you decide to treat yourself to some Orange Chicken from Panda Express. Your dogs come over and beg for some of your sweet and sour meal while you are eating it. They lick their nose, wag their tail, and give you puppy dog eyes. You’re thinking about giving your dog a bite, but you’re not sure if Orange Chicken is dog-friendly. To start, I’ll give you the quick explanation.
Is Orange Chicken safe for dogs to eat? Some of the ingredients in Orange Chicken sauce are toxic and harmful for dogs, so it is not safe to feed them to your dog.
While a small amount of Orange Chicken (one or two pieces) is safe for canine consumption, the high levels of sugar, fat, salt, and calories in Orange Chicken can lead to serious health problems like diabetes, obesity, salt poisoning, and even pancreatitis if consumed in excess.
In the absence of color vision, dogs would likely mistake Orange Chicken for regular old Chicken Nuggets. In this piece, I’ll explain why it’s best to keep your dog away from that tasty but potentially dangerous treat. Start right now!
Can dogs have Orange Chicken?
Despite its name, dogs should not eat Orange Chicken because it is made with battered dark meat chicken and a sauce that includes salt, spices, sugar, and soy sauce. Many dogs are allergic to the ingredients in Orange Chicken.
Let’s rewind a bit and look at what’s involved in making Orange Chicken and what ingredients are typically used.
What is Orange Chicken?
Orange Chicken is available at many Asian fast food joints, including Panda Express. Chicken wings are bite-sized pieces of chicken (usually dark meat, but sometimes white meat) that have been battered and fried until crispy.
The name “Orange Chicken” comes from the process of coating the fried chicken with an orange and chili sauce that is sweet, tangy, and sticky.
Here are some of the main things you’ll need to make some Orange Chicken:
- Chicken breasts without the skin (or dark chicken if you’re making it from scratch).
- Pepper, black.
- Flour made from wheat.
- Vinegar that has been filtered and refined to a pure white color.
- The use of sesame oil.
Primary components of Orange Chicken sauce include:
- Tomato paste and soy sauce.
- Juice made from oranges or orange extract.
- Flakes of hot pepper.
We can see that the sauce and the Orange Chicken contain some ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Let’s examine the harmful effects of each of these ingredients on our dog individually.
What Is Orange Chicken Made Of?
Chicken in orange sauce is a classic Chinese dish loved for its tangy sweetness. A bite of this dish reveals citrus and sugar as the first flavors, followed by the allure of juicy, breaded chicken.
This dish gets its name from the sweet orange sauce that coats the chicken chunks after they have been breaded and deep-fried.
The dish itself might not seem too bad for dogs before the sauce is added, but once the sauce is there, it becomes clearly unsafe for dogs. Let’s examine the potentially dangerous components of orange chicken for pets.
Is Orange Chicken bad for dogs?
Dog owners should certainly refrain from feeding their canine companions any Orange Chicken.
Dark meat Chicken in Orange Chicken may lead to pancreatitis in dogs
Dark chicken meat is more decadent and flavorful than white, but it can be too rich and fatty for our pets’ stomachs.
Regularly feeding your dog rich, fatty food (dark Chicken meat in this case) can cause your dog’s pancreas to swell and inflame, leading to pancreatitis, so most vets advise against it.
The pancreas is a vital organ, and pancreatitis is a potentially fatal condition that is extremely painful. Pancreatitis symptoms and signs include:
- To throw up frequently (once an hour or over the course of a few days).
- Lack of hunger.
- Slouched over.
- An inability to maintain adequate fluid intake leads to dehydration.
- Insufficient muscle strength.
- Stomach ache.
Canine pancreatitis is a medical emergency that needs to be treated right away, so if you think your dog has it, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
Fun Fact: Were you aware that there is a wide variety of canine eructation? It’s possible to deduce the cause of your dog’s sickness from the color and consistency of his or her vomit.
Check out the Dog Throw Up Color Guide for more details. You should save this page for future reference.
Orange Chicken may contain bones which can lead to choking and bowel obstruction in dogs
Due to the presence of bones in some preparations, Orange Chicken poses a health risk to canine companions even after cooking. Dogs love to gnaw on raw bones, but cooked bones are bad for their teeth.
When your pet chews on a cooked bone, it is more likely to shatter into sharp splinters. When dogs try to chew on cooked bones, they can easily cut themselves on the sharp shard, which can penetrate the lips, tongue, cheek, and even the roof of the mouth.
Dogs can choke to death if they try to ingest a cooked bone because it can get stuck between the dog’s teeth or in the esophagus.
Sharp bone shards from an Orange Chicken can tear the soft tissues in the throat or even pierce your dog’s esophagus, potentially causing internal bleeding if your dog manages to swallow them. Ouch!
Bone fragments can even lodge in your dog’s trachea (windpipe), making it extremely difficult for him or her to take a breath.
If a dog gets too excited, it might gulp down its food without chewing it first. Choking can also occur if your dog tries to swallow a piece of Orange Chicken that contains small bones and becomes stuck in his or her esophagus.
If the small bones make it to the digestive tract, they can cause an obstruction in the bowels by blocking the stomach and intestines.
When something (bones in this case) blocks off all or part of your dog’s digestive tract, it is called a bowel obstruction. Both solids and liquids are blocked from entering the digestive tract when this occurs.
A number of potentially disastrous outcomes are linked to this obstruction.
- Lessen the amount of blood circulating through the body.
- cause the intestines to rot away.
- Take in poisonous material.
When a bowel obstruction is severe enough, emergency abdominal surgery or endoscopy may be necessary. The consequences of a blocked bowel are dire. It is critical that you contact your veterinarian immediately if you observe any of the following symptoms of a bowel obstruction.
In dogs, bowel obstruction symptoms include:
- Cyclic vomiting syndrome.
- Your dog is throwing up both liquids and solids, leading to severe dehydration.
- Lack of hunger.
- Muscular deficiency.
- Feeling uneasy in one’s stomach.
- hurting stomach.
Sharp pieces of the cooked bones can puncture the stomach and intestinal lining, causing internal tears, bleeding, and leaking, in addition to causing blockage.
Food and other intestinal content can leak into the abdominal cavity of a dog if the stomach or intestine walls are torn or damaged. This can lead to a life-threatening abdominal infection called peritonitis. Aggressive treatment of this condition may not be effective in some patients.
Consequently, before giving Orange Chicken or any chicken to your canine or feline companions, make sure to clean the meat thoroughly and remove any bones, no matter how small.
High salt levels in Orange Chicken can cause sodium poisoning in dogs
It’s worth noting that Orange Chicken has a lot of sodium, which isn’t necessarily obvious. An average serving of Orange Chicken has more than 600 milligrams of sodium. It may not seem like much to you and me, but for our beloved dog, this is an excessive amount of salt.
The recommended sodium level for canine diets is between 0.25 and 1.5 grams per 100 grams of food. It is important to remember that our canine companions should get all the salt they need from the healthy, balanced diets we provide them.
Snacking and treating in addition to regular meals would contribute to their daily salt intake.
Giving your dog Orange Chicken as a snack or treat is a bad idea if they have already consumed their daily sodium limit. The sodium content of Orange Chicken, at 600 milligrams per serving (or 5.7 ounces), equates to about 0.6 grams of salt. Quite a bit of salt for our beloved dog!
Dogs are susceptible to sodium poisoning from this. Some of the symptoms of canine salt poisoning include:
- Tongue swelling.
- Parched, with an insatiable need for fluids.
- Urinating frequently.
- Diarrhea that’s watery and loose.
- Decreased hunger.
- Fluid accumulation.
- Discomfort or difficulty breathing.
- Extremely high temperature.
- Rapid heartbeat, also known as tachycardia.
- Spasms in the muscle tissue.
- Lack of muscle strength.
- discomfort in the stomach area.
- Unease in the stomach.
- a state of listlessness or fatigue.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your dog has sodium poisoning. If your vet thinks your dog needs a full checkup, he or she may ask you to bring him or her in.
Once you get your dog to the vet, make sure they know how much salt he ate and how long it’s been since he ate the Orange Chicken.
You can expect your vet to check your dog’s heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, reflexes, breathing, temperature, hearing, vision, height, and weight among other things.
Your vet will also want to check your dog’s urinalysis, blood count, blood chemistry, and blood gases to be sure that sodium poisoning is indeed the problem. An electrocardiogram (EKG) or cardiac examination may also be done.
When a dog is dehydrated, the veterinarian may use intravenous fluids and electrolytes. Your dog may have to spend the night at the animal hospital if he or she ate too much Orange Chicken, which is very high in sodium.
The salt concentration must be reduced gradually over time for this reason. If your dog’s sodium level suddenly drops, he or she may experience brain swelling and even a heart attack.
Too much sugar in Orange Chicken can lead to diabetes in dogs
Too much orange chicken can cause health problems in dogs like diabetes, tummy aches, tooth decay, altered metabolism, and extra weight gain because of the high sugar content.
Too much sugar in a dog’s diet can lead to dental problems, just like in humans. Our dogs have it even worse, though. Acids are produced by the bacteria in their mouth from the sugar that has accumulated on their teeth and gums.
These acids dissolve the protective enamel coating on your dog’s teeth. Teeth in dogs are more susceptible to dental disease when their enamel loses its protective mineral layer.
Make sure your pets get to the vet or dentist every six months if they eat a lot of treats high in sugar. It’s always possible to set one up for today.
Dogs can get stomach aches from eating too much sugar because the sudden ingestion of a large amount of sugar can throw off their digestive system’s delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. These microorganisms or bacteria in the dog’s digestive tract aid in food digestion.
When the delicate balance of microorganisms is upset, the result can be explosive, bloody diarrhea. Dogs can also throw up when they have an upset stomach.
What Ingredients in Orange Chicken Are Unhealthy for Dogs?
The general lack of flavor in dog food is a defining characteristic. Since dogs have historically evolved to be primarily carnivorous, this rules out a wide variety of common human foods.
So, the high levels of sodium, sugar, and spices in something like orange chicken have no effect on the canine digestive system as a whole.
Dogs’ primary dietary needs are met by proteins like chicken, and they require very little sodium and sugar on a daily basis. So, a dish like orange chicken is a no-go because of the added white sugar, flour, cornstarch, spices, and garlic.
The following are some of the orange chicken’s ingredients that are toxic to dogs:
Fried in oil is the typical preparation method for orange chicken. There is a high concentration of fat in all types of cooking oils.
Fatty foods, such as those found in cooking oils, can cause rapid weight gain in canines. While not directly toxic, the high fat content of cooking oils makes them unsafe for dogs to consume.
2. Orange Juice
One can use either orange juice or orange peels in the preparation of this dish. High levels of sugar in orange juice are bad news for diabetic dogs.
Zest from orange peels is not particularly tasty, and the high concentration of citrus may not sit well with your dog.
Most recipes for orange chicken also call for sugar to be added to the sauce, in addition to orange juice. This is what imparts a sugary taste to the dish.
Without adequate physical activity, the empty calories in sugar lead to weight gain. To the same extent that it is not an essential nutrient for humans, added sugar is not required for canines. A dog’s insulin levels can become unbalanced from too much of this food.
4. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a key ingredient in orange chicken, but it can quickly cause salt toxicity in a dog if given to them. Dogs can safely consume the soybeans used to make soy sauce; it’s the salt and other seasonings in the sauce that should be avoided.
Only 0.07% of a dog’s daily sodium intake should come from dry dog food, as this is the recommended amount for canines.
One tablespoon of soy sauce can have as much as one thousand milligrams of sodium, though this varies widely by brand. The sodium content of this dish is excessive for a dog.
If a dog were to overeat, it might develop hypertension and suffer permanent kidney damage. Additionally, garlic and onion extracts are common in soy sauce. You should stay far away from both of these components.
5. Garlic and Onions
Onions and garlic should be part of everyone’s daily diet. To think that dogs have to stick to a diet that excludes such common foodstuffs is difficult, but it is their reality.
Garlic and onions, both members of the Allium family, contain compounds that are toxic to dogs and can cause permanent damage to the canine immune system and red blood cells.
Chopped onion and garlic are optional but delicious additions to orange chicken.
This is due to thiosulfate, an ingredient that is present in all forms of garlic and onion, including raw and powdered forms. This fact alone should prevent any dog from ever touching the dish.
The more neutral a dog’s diet is, the better. Diced chiles or red chili flakes, depending on your preference, may be added to your order of orange chicken.
A dog’s digestive system can be very easily irritated by spicy ingredients. Dogs with a sensitivity to capsaicin may also have an adverse reaction to spices.
Can Dogs Eat Orange Chicken in Moderation?
Never feed your dog orange chicken because of the soy sauce, garlic, and onions in the dish.
A single or small serving should be fine in terms of sugar, fat, and sodium content. However, depending on how much of each is used, the ingredients listed above could still cause a major catastrophe.
If you’re in a situation like this, resisting temptation is your best bet. More on this below, but there are plenty of safe options for you to offer your dog if you want to discourage it from begging.
Orange Chicken Alternatives For Dogs
The next time you sit down to a meal of orange chicken, think about making or purchasing some treats that are nutritionally analogous for your dog. If you want to feed your dog orange chicken, here are some close and secure alternatives.
1. Boiled Chicken Breast and Rice
Chicken is an excellent source of protein for dogs and can be easily prepared by boiling. Small amounts of cooked, unsalted chicken are fine to feed your dog. In addition to boiled meat, cooked rice is often given to dogs to settle their stomachs.
If you’re making chicken and rice, don’t season them with anything. Despite its lack of flavor, this should be devoured with gusto by any dog.
To ensure the chicken is cooked through, boil it for at least 20-30 minutes. Like humans, dogs can get sick from eating raw or undercooked chicken.
2. Chicken Flavor Dog Treats
Dog treats flavored like chicken would be the most convenient replacement. Unfortunately, some dog treats contain unhealthy levels of salt, artificial ingredients, or even dyes. If you’re going to buy a snack, see if you can find one that avoids or minimizes the use of preservatives.
3. Chicken and Unsweetened Apple Sauce
Dog-boiled, diced chicken combined with unsweetened applesauce is a tasty alternative to the traditional orange chicken sauce. In small amounts, apples are fine to feed to your dog.
To reduce your sugar intake, choose the unsweetened varieties of applesauce.
Chopping the chicken into small pieces, combine it with about a cup of applesauce. What you’re eating can now be roughly deduced by your dog.
Should I Notify a Veterinarian If My Dog Ate Orange Chicken?
With this much knowledge at your disposal, you might start to worry if you feed your dog orange chicken. You shouldn’t worry unless your dog develops out-of-the-ordinary symptoms.
Due to the sodium content, it is normal for your dog to drink a lot of water after eating. It’s normal for dogs to dry heave after eating, especially if the dog has indigestion or is sensitive to certain spices.
In the event that your dog begins to vomit, breathes quickly, has a high resting heart rate, or appears pale or yellow, you should contact your vet immediately.
Some studies have linked these symptoms to possible garlic or onion toxicity or even kidney damage from sodium. Keep an eye on Fido for a while to see how he reacts.
Conclusion For “Can Dogs Eat Chicken”
Orange chicken is not good for puppies, period. This dish is not suitable for dogs due to the presence of several potentially harmful ingredients.
Since it is often impossible to verify the exact ingredients used in the preparation of orange chicken when ordering it for takeout, eating it is even riskier. If you don’t want your dog to feel left out when you eat orange chicken, you might want to consider some of the safe alternatives mentioned above.