The concept of the dog-friendly fast-food menu is one that continues to delight dog owners everywhere. The notion that there are special items that we can order for our pets is cute and stops our canine companions from feeling left out. But, there is the danger here that some people will get the wrong idea and start feeding any fast-food meal to their dogs. So, can dogs eat McDonald’s food, or is it best to give them something else?
The short answer here is no. It is a bad idea to give anything from the standard menu to your pets because it is unhealthy human food that was never designed for canine consumption. If it is bad for us, it is bad for them too. We can’t force the negative consequences on our pets who don’t know any better.
This advice goes for all items on the menu. There are items that you might assume to be harmless, but there are hidden dangers. Below, you can see why these items are unhealthy and why we should avoid giving dogs fast food. It also helps to take steps to discourage dogs from eating McDonald’s if they have already acquired a taste for it. The sooner you stop your dog developing a love of this food, the healthier they will be.
Can I Give My Dog a McDonald's Burger?
When we consider the potential issues in giving our pets a McDonald’s burger, we have to think about how unhealthy these meals are. We know that we should only eat them occasionally ourselves as a treat because they are loaded with calories, salt, sugar, and fat.
We can eat one on the weekend as part of a balanced diet, but we have to realize that our pets can’t handle that sort of dietary intake. Your pet needs around 25-30 calories per pound each day. So, a 30lb Labrador needs roughly 800 calories a day. A Big Mac burger – without the fries – is 550 calories alone.
It is easy to forget about the extras in the burger too. The cheese, gherkins, and special sauce put your dog a dangerous path to poor nutrition and obesity. Cheese means unnecessary dairy, gherkins aren’t ideal, and onions can be dangerous in large quantities.
Some pet owners may think that they can get away with giving their dog a McDonald’s burger patty on its own. While this is undoubtedly a healthy option than a whole burger, it still isn’t recommendable. This is processed meat with little nutritional value, and there may still be too much salt.
Can I Give My Dog McDonald's Fries?
You might think that a few fries won’t hurt your pet here and there. But, these fries can be just as harmful. You are dealing with a piece of potato, fried in greasy oil, covered in salt, and potentially enhanced with sugary ketchup or BBQ sauce. It is tasty but very unhealthy. Also, how do you determine a safe number of fries? What happens if they get scraps from everyone in the family, every single time you get take-out?
Can I Give My Dog McDonald's Ice Cream?
Ice cream is another problem area on the McDonald’s menu. The ice cream is full of dairy and sugar, neither of which are good for your pets. The hit of dairy and lactose could lead to digestive discomfort and even bouts of diarrhea.
What Can I Give My Dog from the McDonald's Menu?
Ideally, you don’t want to give your dog anything from the McDonald’s menu because they don’t offer any special dog meals. You might find that there are drive-thru windows with dog treats available.
This could be nice for any pet in the back seat that has to deal with the delicious smell of food but ultimately go hungry. But, there isn’t a guarantee that this is possible. Also, you don’t know what treats are on offer, how sanitary the system is, or if they are any healthier.
How to Discourage Your Pet from Eating McDonald's Food?
Remember that your pet will get little out of this experience. They get a chance to explore some exciting tastes and smells and eat with the family, but it isn’t worth it when they are at risk of malnutrition and obesity. You don’t want to encourage bad habits where a little bit of fast food now and then adds up to a health condition.
The best thing to do is to eliminate McDonald’s and all related fast-food outlets as an option for your dog. If they are never exposed to the tastes and smells, then they can’t beg for scraps. But, this might not be an option if you go for drive-through on the way back from a family outing and your pet is in the car.
Make sure that all family members understand that while they can have this unhealthy treat now and then, they aren’t to feed it to the dog, no matter how much they beg. This also means that they can’t try disassembling a burger to give the dog a “plain” patty. It doesn’t work.
If this is going to be difficult, keep some treats in the car that can keep your dog happy while you eat. Also, be careful with any leftovers or trash collected from your meal. Your dog might sniff them out and decide to finish them off.
Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat McDonald's?
It isn’t a good idea to let your dog eat anything at McDonald’s. This means no leftover fries, no licks of the bottom of the ice cream cup, and definitely no burgers. The biggest obstacle here is self-control – not just from the perspective of the dog but also of your family.
It is too easy to give in, especially if you’ve permitted McDonald’s dog meal in the past. Understand that you aren’t doing them any favors with this diet and be stricter. Take your kids for a treat now and then but leave your dog at home.