Most of us dog moms and dads love to give our furry children a taste of our meals from time to time, but not all foods are safe for our dogs. The human food in question for dog safety is classic chicken noodle soup!
Dogs can eat homemade chicken noodle soup, but you should avoid the canned or prepackaged varieties common in store-bought soups, as they contain additives that are not suitable for your dog’s healthy diet, such as sodium and monosodium glutamate (MSG). A home-cooked chicken noodle soup is perfect as the cure to a dog’s upset stomach even though there are still harmful ingredients to avoid, like garlic and onion. Below you will learn how you can cook your dog his very own chicken noodle soup.
What do I need to know about chicken noodle soup and dogs?
One of the coolest details about chicken noodle soup is that it isn’t immediately on the “no” list, unlike chocolate and toothpaste. There is a serious potential for you to be able to share your favorite comfort food with your dog, as long as you know how to do it safely.
Many of the normal ingredients that we add to chicken soup are going to be harmful to our dogs. We’ll go into the actual ingredients in the next section, but for now, let’s take a look at the broader scope of things, specifically the difference in the kinds of soups that you can choose from:
- Canned/Tinned soups
- Dry mix soups
- Homemade soups
Canned or tinned soups are loaded with all sorts of preservatives, including a lot of salt (sodium) and monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is a flavor enhancer. Common examples could be Campbells or Heinz. While many soups can vary by looking at their ingredients list, most have high amounts of sodium and MSG.
Dry mix soups
These would include those “cup-of-soup” mixes that you blend with water, as well as stocks and even some of the more artisanal mixes that don’t have the same corporate branding on them. These dehydrated mixes have sodium, which is bad enough, but they also contain high levels of dehydrated flavors, including garlic and onion, both of which (as you’ll learn) are very bad for dogs.
This could include soup that you made yourself, or it could be from a pet food specialist. Again, not all chicken soup is bad for your dog, as long as it is made specifically for your pooch and his needs! In these cases, the soup would technically be okay to feed your dog, though you should check with your vet first, just like any other big change to his diet.
What are the harmful ingredients for dogs in chicken noodle soup?
From canned or tinned soup to prepackaged soup mixes, to even “homemade” soups (i.e., homemade for human consumption rather than specific dog-friendly recipes), the dangerous culprits to avoid include:
- MSG and sodium
- Garlic (any and all forms)
- Onion (any and all forms)
MSG and sodium
Most commonly found in tinned soups, but sometimes they are also in a lot of the prepackaged soups. Both of these can cause a lot of problems in dogs, including:
- Brain damage
- Damage to the liver, thymus, and kidneys
While sodium is (kinda-sorta) harmless to humans in soup dosages, it can be fatal to dogs, acting similar to poisoning. It can damage the brain and lead to death, even in an otherwise healthy dog. MSG is even worse for dogs than it is for us humans, too.
Garlic (any and all forms)
Just like chocolate, garlic is toxic to dogs. It is known for destroying red blood cells and causing severe anemia, which can be fatal and kick in quickly. Garlic itself is bad enough, but its properties get even stronger when you use something like powder or salts, which are common in soups.
Onion (any and all forms)
From stocks to seasonings to the actual onion itself, this is also toxic for dogs since it will create anemia. If you were to have a soup with both of these ingredients, it’d act as a double dose. Then, there’s the fact that many people add in onion powder along with the actual onion and/or stock.
From stock cubes to the stock liquids, anything that adds flavor to chicken noodle soup is going to be dangerous for your pooch. Not only are these laced with sodium, but they also contain large percentages of — yup, you guessed it — garlic and onion powders.
Is homemade chicken noodle soup safe for dogs?
Right off the bat, homemade chicken noodle soup significantly has the potential to be safer for your dog because it implies that the chef knows exactly what they are — or aren’t — putting in it! However, not all homemade soups are made equal, so be careful how you go about it. For the safest and best chicken noodle soup for your dog’s safety, it’s best to don your apron and get out the soup pot for an exploration into doggie chicken noodle soup!
Dog-friendly homemade chicken noodle soup
Are you excited about being a professional chef for a day just for your pooch? It seems like the perfect way to spend a rainy day, we think! And your dog will certainly love it, too. Plus, you can enjoy it right along with him, if you want to! If your dog is prone to an upset stomach, chicken noodle soup can help ease it, too, for added benefit. Here’s what you’ll need to make successful, truly homemade chicken noodle soup for your dog!
- Plain cooked chicken meat and bones (if you have them)
The amounts of each of these should be low, as too much of anything is bad for your dog, just like it is for you! You can also leave out the carrot if you want, though it’s one of the few human foods that can actually be helpful to him, as far as its nutrients.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in the chicken. If you have an (unseasoned) carcass or bones, you can add those in, too, but it’s not required. If you decide to add in carrots, you can throw them in there at this stage if they’re raw.
- After the soup comes to a boil, let it simmer for 2-3 hours uncovered. Remove the chicken, the bones, and/or fat or skin as needed. This includes any foam that comes up during the simmering process, too. It should just be the carrots and the broth left.
- Let the soup cool down until it is barely warm to your taste or cooler.
- Pour a small amount over your dog’s kibble, or mix with his wet food. A little bit goes a long way!
A few reminders in making your dog-friendly chicken noodle soup
If you’re working from a recipe other than this one, be careful to keep your dog in mind when you’re cooking. Remember that “a pinch of salt” here and “a tiny pinch of garlic” there is harmless for a human but potentially fatal for your dog.
If you taste the soup during the cooking process and you are repulsed because it’s so bland, this is a good thing (for your dog). The finished product should be bland and dull for us humans. That’s how you know it’s going to be safe for your dog. Remember, dogs eat just about anything, so they’ll love it no matter what!
One thing that experts seem to go back and forth on is chicken stock (as in, the liquid bone that you can get in the stores). Some feel that carefully measured amounts of it are fine to add to your chicken soup base for your dog. Others disagree, saying that even the undisclosed flavor powders and the sodium in the broth could be enough to seriously harm your dog even in small amounts.
If you want to be extra sure, we recommend that you avoid the stock and go with just the plain hot water to be extra sure. Want a second opinion? Talk to your dog’s vet, as they’ll have the most personalized perspective when it comes to your pooch and his needs! This includes any potential allergies that the internet can’t possibly know about!
One more thing is that you’re going to have to keep a close eye on yourself when you’re cooking! If you’ve spent any amount of time in the kitchen, you’re going to start adding seasonings without thinking about it as you taste and tweak the recipe. It’s okay if you do this for yourself, but if you realize that you’ve added any kind of flavoring to your soup by accident or without thinking, don’t feed it to your dog!
If you’ve ever wanted to be a dog chef, now is your chance to try it out! Regardless, make sure that you never feed your dog canned/tinned or prepackaged chicken noodle soup!