Can Dogs Have Orange Chicken? (A Culinary Mystery Unraveled)

can dogs have orange chicken

Who would thought that a simple combi of orange and chicken could lead to the creation of such a wonderful dish. I find it more palatable than lemon chicken and a very close second to my all-time favorite, sweet and sour chicken.

But what has orange chicken got to do with dogs you say?

Being such a popular dish to many, there will be dog owners who wouldn’t think twice about feeding their dogs orange chicken as a treat. But can dogs eat orange chicken without any issues?

Dogs should not be eating orange chicken due to the ingredients used in the dish. Some of the ingredients can be toxic to your dog is eaten in large amounts. Although one to two pieces should be fine for most dogs, it is best to not take the risk.

If you have been feeding your dog human food, please read this article for the sake of your dog’s health.

What Exactly Is Orange Chicken?

To the unknowing, mention the phrase ‘orange chicken’ and they would probably picture a chicken that is orange.

No kidding.

Many would consider orange chicken to be a classic Chinese-American dish that is widely ordered at Chinese restaurants.

Panda express orange chicken is one that many have tried before.

The original orange chicken flavor was more towards the citrusy side rather than being sweet like how it is today.

This dish has evolved over the years to cater to the American palate which tends to favor something sweet and fried.

What Are The Ingredients In Orange Chicken?

If you know our way around the kitchen, orange chicken is actually not difficult to make.

The main ingredients are:

  • Boneless chicken or skinless chicken thighs
  • Orange juice
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chili flakes
  • Cornstarch

Search through recipes on the internet and you will probably find many variations of how to cook orange chicken. But the main ingredients don’t differ much.

Why Is Orange Chicken Bad For Dogs?

Why Is Orange Chicken Bad For Dogs

To all your orange chicken hardcore fans out there, don’t get me wrong. As much as I love this dish, I wouldn’t want to let my dog eat some.

Right off the bat, there are a number of ingredients in orange chicken that are bad for dogs even in very small quantities.

Let’s start off with ingredients that are known to be toxic to dogs.

Citrus Juice

Orange chicken wouldn’t be called orange chicken if not for the use of orange and/or lemon juice in the dish.

The juice of such citric fruits contains citric acid. The consumption of too much citric acid can upset your dog’s stomach.

This can lead to side effects like nausea, diarrhea and stomach pain.

If you have never been through an episode of your dog having loose stools and farting the whole day long, you don’t want to go there.

There was once when my dog had severe diarrhea after finishing an entire big jug of fresh milk that was left unattended on the kitchen counter.

The sight and smell of his explosive diarrhea still haunt me to this day.


Most dogs won’t fall sick by licking a lemon or drinking a little bit of orange juice but we have to be careful of dogs that can be very sensitive to citric acid.

The adverse reaction can be very severe even in small quantities which can result in a depressed central nervous system.

Is Orange Toxic To Dogs?

In general, orange contains less citric acid as compared to lemon, lime or grapefruit. But if consumed in large enough quantities, it can give your poor dog a pretty bad stomach upset.

Onion And Garlic

onion and garlic toxic to dogs

Don’t you just have your breath after having some onions and garlic?

The thing is, onion and garlic can do more damage than just bad breath if your dog ate orange chicken.

Anything and everything that is onion related is toxic to dogs. This even includes powered onion.

Other vegetables from the onion family like garlic, leek and shallots are also bad for dogs.

Garlic and onions contain a compound called N-propyl disulfide. This compound will attach itself to the red blood cells in the dog’s body depriving these cells of carrying adequate oxygen.

The dog’s body will also regard this compound as a foreign body and start breaking down the blood cells.

And what happens when there is an inadequate supply of oxygen in your dog?

A lack of oxygen in your dog’s can cause it to be anemic.

Here are some symptoms of amenia in dogs:

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pale gums
  • Fainting spells

A dog doesn’t need to consume a large amount of garlic to be in danger. A medium-sized onion is toxic enough to cause health issues in a 40 lbs dog.

Garlic is known to be five times more toxic than onion. One small clove is enough to pose a serious health risk to most dogs.

When dogs eat orange chicken, they are taking in small quantities of garlic and onions.

Not only should you be aware of the garlic and onion present in orange chicken, make it a point to read the ingredients label of any human food before giving it to your dog.

The same thing goes for pet owners with cats. Garlic and onions are also very toxic to our feline friends.

In the event that your pet has eaten anything that contains garlic or onions, please get in touch with your vet for the next course of action.

The vet might want you to bring your dog in for a proper examination.

In severe cases, some dogs might require a transfusion.

High Salt Content

All living things do require some amount of salt or sodium in their system to function properly. The same goes for our pets.

The problem happens when your dog consumes too much salt in its diet or dog food.

The ballpark recommendation of sodium intake for dogs is about 100mg per 100 calories of food.

If your dog has any existing medical conditions, it’s best to check with your vet on the recommended amount.

Salt poisoning can occur when your dog starts taking more salt than recommended on a daily basis or a large amount at one time (eating a whole bag of chips)

A 100g serving of orange chicken has about 506mg of sodium which is way above the healthy daily range of most dogs.

Another popular human food that many dog owners like to feed their dogs is rotisserie chicken.

Letting your dog eat rotisserie chicken isn’t the best thing to do due to the high salt and fat content.

Dogs with salt toxicity can experience the following symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Weakness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of coordination

Dogs with salt poisoning need to see the vet immediately. The vet will need to rehydrate your dog to slowly return the sodium level in your dog back to normal.

Can Dogs Have Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is something you do not want your dog to consume due to its high sodium content. Just so you know, 100g of dark soy sauce contains close to 5g of sodium.

Not 5mg mind you but 5g!

That is a lot even by human standards. So please keep your dog away from such sauces.

Too Much Sugar

too much sugar bad for dogs

If you have eaten orange chicken before, you know that it tastes sweet. Some places serve it a lot sweeter than usual.

This is due to the brown sugar that is used in the cooking.

Here’s the down low on your dog’s natural diet.

They don’t need any sugar or carbs at all. In fact, sugar consumption in dogs isn’t natural.

It is common to see dogs eating food that contains sugar like strawberry jelly and carbs as compared to cats.

But the only macronutrient that your dog really needs is protein from animal meat.

They do need some fats too which come from animal meat. Unlike humans that derive our energy source from carbohydrates, dogs get it from protein and fat.

Too much fat and sugar in your dog’s diet can lead to a whole range of health problems:

  • Obesity
  • Weight gain
  • Dental issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Upset stomach

Dogs Don’t Like It Hot

When you eat orange chicken, it usually has some level of spiciness to it. This is from the red chili flakes or paprika that is used.

Needless to say, dogs don’t handle spicy food well.

Me too.

My stomach has a mind of its own after a spicy Mexican meal.

Food that is spicy can give your dog diarrhea and stomach pain. Given how sensitive your dog’s nose and mouth areas are, it will lead to a bad burning sensation.

Some dogs will drink a lot of water to try and quell the burning in their mouths. Too much fluid in your dog’s stomach can lead to bloating which can be a very serious condition.

Cooked Bones

Most of the orange chicken that I’ve eaten uses boneless chicken. However, they are times when some restaurants do not debone the chicken before cooking.

Some chefs believe that cooking the meat with the bone intact gives it more flavor.

All the better for us but not for our dogs. Giving your dog cooked bones is very dangerous.

Not all bones are made equal especially when it comes to cooked and raw bones.

There’s no problem giving your dog a raw bone to chew on provided it’s not too big. The same goes when cooking pig feet in some cuisines.

I’ve heard of some dog owners giving their dogs cooked pigs feet.

The cooked bones need to be removed first.

Cooked bones on the other hand are very brittle and can splinter very easily. Your dog is at risk of swallowing bone pieces that are shaped like a knife.

How painful is that!

These sharp pieces can cut, poke and lacerate your dog’s mouth and digestive tract. These bone pieces can also cause choking and intestinal blockage in smaller dogs.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Orange Chicken?

If you just happen to feed your greedy dog one or two pieces of orange chicken, it should be fine.

It is more problematic when dogs eat orange chicken in large amounts.

The first thing that you should do is to call the vet.

Depending on the size of your dog and the amount of orange chicken eaten, the vet might instruct you to try and induce vomiting in your dog right away.

Otherwise, it would be best to bring your dog to the vet immediately.

When small-sized dogs and puppies eat orange chicken, they are at greater risk of intoxication due to their smaller bodies.

If your vet instructs you to observe your dog for the next 24 hours, do not feed your dog any human food. Keep its dog food bland like boiled lean meat until the vet gives the all-clear.


It is normal for us dog owners to want to spoil our pooches by giving them the occasional human food as a treat.

But dogs aren’t made like humans which means they are at greater risk of having an adverse reaction to human food.

In the event that your dog has eaten orange chicken without your consent, it is best to call your vet for the next best course of action.

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