It is an undeniable fact that Chinese food is the favorite dinner option for thousands of people worldwide. This unusual mix of salty and sweet and uniquely mixed spices are intriguing and offer an explosion of tastes. If Chinese food often finds its way in your kitchen, it is normal to feel the urge to share some delicacies with your dog.
So, can dogs eat Chinese food? The simple answer is no. dogs cannot eat Chinese foods. The reason behind this answer is not in the food itself but in the added salt, spices, and frying oils. Namely, the rice, the noodles, the meat, and most veggies are perfectly safe for dogs but only if prepared in a dog-friendly way – plain and boiled instead of fried.
In this article, we will offer an in-depth explanation of why dogs should not eat Chinese food. This does not mean you should stop ordering Chinese food – just do not share your meals and make sure you discard the leftovers in a dog-proof garbage can.
IS IT SAFE TO GIVE DOGS CHINESE FOOD?
Although the main ingredients in Chinese foods are safe for dogs, their additions and preparation methods are not. Here is a short overview of the troublesome elements and their consequences for dogs.
Sodium chloride or salt
If you have ever tasted Chinese food, you know how salty it is. However, unlike us, dogs have a much lower tolerance for salt. In fact, the salt RDA for a medium-sized (30-pound) dog is around 200 milligrams.
In comparison, the average Chinese food dish contains between 2 and 3 grams of salt – that is over ten times the dog’s capacity. Therefore, eating Chinese foods can quickly lead to salt intoxication – a life-threatening situation that warrants immediate veterinary attention.
A dog with salt intoxication will show vomiting, drooling, staggering, diarrhea, dehydration, lack of coordination, tremors, seizures, and eventually coma.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Monosodium glutamate (also known as Chinese salt), or shortly MSG, is a popular additive used in many Chinese specials. Often added because of its taste-enhancing abilities, this additive is actually tasteless.
MSG is a specific neurotransmitter called excitotoxin, and it works by tricking the brain that the consumed food was good. The trick is accompanied by dopamine release, thus resulting in an overall state of well-being and satisfaction.
MSG also has an addictive component – it prevents the brain from receiving signals sent from the hormone leptin (responsible for signalizing the feeling of satiation). In a nutshell, eating foods with MSG leads to craving even more foods with MSG.
Notoriously known as “the taste that kills,” MSG is associated with an array of health issues in both dogs and humans – the most severe of which is brain damage.
Garlic and onions
Garlic and onions are almost indispensable parts of many Chinese dishes. They are also highly toxic to dogs. All Allium family members (garlic, onions, leek, chives, and shallots) are harmful, but garlic and onions are most commonly found in Chinese foods.
Garlic and onions damage the red blood cells – responsible for carrying oxygen around the body, thus causing anemia. The compounds responsible for this effect are different, but the result is the same.
It is worth mentioning that even in powdered or dried form, garlic and onions are toxic to dogs and must never be offered.
Believe it or not, some Chinese dishes contain more sugar than salt. For example, one brown garlic sauce portion has almost one-quarter cup of sugar. Unlike salt, sugar might not be intoxicating, but it is dangerous – it leads to diabetes and obesity.
The dog’s digestive system is often described as fragile and sensitive. The truth is, the dog’s digestive system is built differently than hours, meaning it cannot process the same foods we can. Spices are the perfect example of a food ingredient dogs cannot process.
In smaller amounts, spices cause gastrointestinal upset manifested with diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, dehydration, abdominal pain, and lethargy. However, in more substantial quantities, the irritation of the digestive tract lining can be so severe that it can result in defects or so-called bleeding ulcers. Simply put, the spices can dig holes into the lining, leaving it severely damaged.
Fats, oils, deep-frying
Most Chinese dishes are deep-fried, meaning they are soaked in tons of oils or fats. This ingredient group is hazardous to dogs and associated with both short and long-term consequences.
Eating foods that are high in fats can cause gastrointestinal upset or trigger pancreatitis – excruciating inflammation of the pancreas, which, if left untreated, can have lethal consequences. Eating high-fat foods leads to weight gain and obesity.
DOGS AND THE DIFFERENT CHINESE FOOD SPECIALS
We already explained the most questionable and potentially dangerous ingredients frequently found in Chinese food recipes. Now it is time to review some of the most popular Chinese dishes – are they dangerous for dogs and why.
Can dogs eat Chinese fried rice?
No, dogs cannot eat Chinese fried rice. Boiled plain rice is a dog-friendly and perfectly safe, and even beneficial food. However, fried rice is not mainly because of the preparation method, which involves adding oils and deep-frying.
Can dogs eat soy sauce?
No, dogs cannot eat soy sauce. The main reason why soy sauce is bad for dogs is its high salt content. However, this is not the only issue – namely, some dogs are allergic to soy and can develop severe reactions if exposed. Plus, some untraditional soy sauce recipes include toxic ingredients like garlic and onions.
Can dogs eat orange chicken?
No, dogs cannot eat orange chicken. If prepared in a dog-friendly way, the chicken is allowed for dogs; however, oranges can be tricky. In small amounts, they usually do not pose any danger – however, in diabetic dogs, they affect the blood sugar levels and, in sensitive dogs, can cause digestive upsets because of the acid content.
Can dogs eat egg rolls or spring rolls?
No, dogs cannot eat egg and spring rolls. Both egg and spring rolls include various deep-fried appetizers wrapped in a flour or rice wrapper. The only difference is the wrapper’s thickness – in spring rolls, it is thin and soft, and in eggrolls, it is thicker and crispier. In addition to being deep-fried, these delicacies can be filled with ingredients that are not dog-friendly and are heavily salted and seasoned.
Can dogs eat sesame chicken?
No, dogs cannot eat sesame chicken. Once again, the chicken part is perfectly fine as long as it is boiled and served plain. However, sesame chicken can be harmful, especially for dogs that are sensitive or intolerant to sesame. Sesame is a common allergen for both humans and dogs. Not to mention that sesame chicken is loaded with spices.
Can dogs eat Wonton soup?
No, dogs cannot eat Wonton soup. Wonton soup is a no-go for dogs because of the filling of the Wonton dumplings, which traditionally contain pork, mushrooms, onions, soya sauce, cornstarch, and seasonings. Except for the pork, all the listed ingredients are dangerous for dogs.
Can dogs eat Chow Mein noodles?
No, dogs cannot eat Chow Mein noodles. This delicacy consists of noodles covered with the Chow Mein sauce – a spicy mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, canola oil, garlic, onions, and veggies. In addition to containing toxic ingredients, the dish is heavily spiced and high-fat.
Chinese food is tasty and somewhat addictive. However, just because some human food is delicious does not mean it is safe for consumption when it comes to dogs. Sadly, Chinese food is a huge no-go for dogs. Even in small amounts, most Chinese dishes can trigger severe health problems in dogs.
If your dog steals Chinese food from the countertop or steals the leftovers from the trash cans, or you shared your takeout dinner without knowing the consequences, just stay calm and call your trusted veterinarian. Never try to self-treat your dog – call the vet and follow the instructions.
What happens if a dog eats Chinese food?
If a dog eats Chinese foods, there are several potential options – best-case scenario, the dog will eat only a small amount and do not develop and consequences. Worst-case scenario, the dog will end up in the emergency room due to intoxication. However, the most common outcome of eating Chinese food in dogs is gastrointestinal upset.
Should I induce vomiting if my dog ate Chinese foods?
If your dog at Chinese foods, it is essential to stay calm and call your vet. The vet will instruct you on what to do based on the information you can provide. Before calling your vet, try establishing what exactly did your dog ate – your vet’s instructions will depend on the comprehensiveness of the information you can provide.
Can dogs develop Chinese restaurant syndrome?
Chinese restaurant syndrome is a common health concern associated with the additive MSG in humans. In dogs, MSG does not trigger the actual syndrome but is related to several hazards and risks, including severe brain damage.