Even though Chinese food usually contains some ingredients that are good for dogs, like chicken and vegetables, you should never let your pup eat your leftover takeout. If your dog just wolfed down a big plate of Chinese food, keep reading to find out what you should do…
Why Chinese Food Is Bad for Dogs
The simple explanation for why Chinese food is bad for dogs is it’s way too salty and spicy for them. Even though the noodles, rice, meat, veggies, etcetera probably pose no risk, the spices and sauces can make your dog sick, and could even be potentially fatal.
Garlic and Onions
Garlic, onions, and other members of the allium family, such as leeks and scallions, are common ingredients in Chinese cooking. Not only are these ingredients used in many dishes, Chinese restaurants tend to use a lot in their recipes.
Alliums are toxic to dogs, with garlic being the most potent of the family. Although most dogs would have to consume a massive amount to actually kill them, a small portion can still make them sick.
Salt and MSG
Most Chinese dishes contain a lot of sodium. Dogs do not have the same tolerance for high salt intake like humans do. The RDA of sodium for small to medium sized dogs – dogs around 30 lb – is about 200mg. To put that in perspective, the vast majority of Chinese food contains 2 to 3g of salt per dish – 10 times the amount!
Believe it or not, some Chinese dishes are just as sugary as they are salty, and sugar is also bad for dogs. For example, a typical recipe for brown garlic sauce contains almost a quarter cup of sugar.
Many Chinese dishes are deep fried or stir-fried in vegetable oil. Vets advise against feeding dogs fried foods because it can inflame their intestines.
Lots of Chinese dishes contain spicy peppers, which contain capsaicin, the chemical that makes them hot. Capsaicin effects dogs the same way it effects people, and it can cause them a great deal of discomfort and inflammation.
When you combine all these harmful ingredients in one dish, it can be a real recipe for canine illness.
Before you begin hyperventilating, you should know your dog is probably going to be fine, so you should remain calm. In fact, there’s a good chance your dog will vomit the Chinese food they’ve just consumed before they even digest it. If your dog does throw up the undigested food, you have nothing to worry about.
Monitor Your Dog’s Water Intake
After your dog has consumed a large amount of Chinese food, it’s important that you pay close attention to how much water they are drinking. The salt from the Chinese food can make them dehydrated and thirsty, but if your dog drinks too much water too quickly, it can cause bloat, which is potentially fatal.
As a general rule of thumb, don’t allow your dog to drink more than a few ounces of water per hour after ingesting Chinese food, or any other salty food for that matter.
Symptoms of Toxicity
To determine whether or not you need to take your dog to a vet, you need to observe them closely for the symptoms of toxicity. Primarily, you’ll be looking for the symptoms of allium toxicity, which would be the greatest threat in this scenario.
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Pale gums and mucus
Large dogs can tolerate foods that are bad for them much better than small dogs. If you have a small dog, and they ate a large quantity of Chinese food – a human-size serving or more – your safest bet is to take them to a vet. A large dog, like a German Shepherd could eat an entire head of garlic, and they probably would be fine; but a small dog, like a Chihuahua, could get very ill from that same amount or less.
Dana Dovey (March 15, 2018). Some Chinese-food Meals Have More Salt than Five Big Macs. Retrieved from https://www.newsweek.com/high-salt-uk-chinese-food-beef-noodles-847025
Connie K. All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce (Brown Garlic Sauce). Retrieved from https://www.food.com/recipe/all-purpose-stir-fry-sauce-brown-garlic-sauce-87748
Wag!. Can Dogs Feel Heat from Peppers? Retrieved from https://wagwalking.com/sense/can-dogs-feel-heat-from-peppers
- Can Australian Shepherds Have Short Hair? (Yes, and It’s OK) - May 28, 2020
- Can Dogs Eat Za’atar Spice? - May 27, 2020
- Can Dogs Eat Beyond Meat? - May 17, 2020