Many people have been there; on a long trip with the dog in tow, you’re starting to get hungry, and it’s time to hit the first fast food joint that catches your view.
Without wondering, “Can dogs eat cheeseburgers?” you place the order for yourself with a burger ordered for your dog. Does this sound familiar?
So, can dogs eat cheeseburgers? Unless you’ve made it by hand, no. Fast food burgers aren’t only covered in condiments that aren’t good for your dog, but the meat itself is full of grease and fat, which contributes to dog obesity. Further, it is usually seasoned with powders that are all out toxic to dogs.
We’re not even going to get into whether or not they’re healthy for dogs. I mean, should it even be a question whether or not fast food is good for a dog?
Fast food isn’t even good for us, let alone a dog. I don’t believe that anyone goes to a fast-food drive-thru to get healthy. They just want to eat cheap and conveniently. It’s that convenience that causes people to place an order on behalf of the dog while they’re there.
Can Dogs Eat Cheeseburgers Made at Home?
When you hand-make burgers and decide to give one to your dog, it’s safer, and you know what’s in it. Granted, this is if you haven’t seasoned the meat with any seasoning that would be harmful to the dog.
Some feel beef (ground beef in particular) isn’t a healthy choice for your dog regardless of where it comes from. It’s fat content and potential to cause obesity is among the reasoning given.
However, unless you’re constantly giving your dog burgers, this won’t be a problem for the majority of people. I don’t think that there are too many people who can afford to put their dog on an Atkins diet (all red meat).
Here and there, occasionally tossing a burger to the dog shortly after it’s cooled down from being on the grill, isn’t going to make much of a difference in the dog’s health.
This is especially true if the breed of dog is active and its condition is already healthy. For an active dog, that protein will head to its muscle, and the fat will be burned away.
Fast Food can Poison your Dog
As we’ve discussed in other articles about humans giving human food to dogs, the ingredients are what matters. When you go to any fast food restaurant, what they say they are giving you isn’t always the truth.
For one of the easiest examples out there, McDonald’s gives a breakdown of their ingredients of a simple cheeseburger. When you look at it, nothing is surprising, and it appears to be quite wholesome- until you break down what they’ve broken down.
There have been movies, books, and a host of websites dedicated to exposing the different chemicals and ingredients that these places pump their food full of. Even the buns aren’t so innocent, harboring ingredients that are found in fireworks and artificial fertilizer!
Giving this to your Dog
Now, if you feel like doing what hundreds of millions of people do each year- filling up on burgers from fast-food drive-thru’s, it’s all you, it’s your health and your time, have fun with it! But don’t assume that the dog will be alright if you take this quick and easy approach to feed it.
There is a world of difference between feeding your dog something unhealthy versus feeding it something that could possibly be toxic.
Ingredients Commonly Found in Restaurant Burger Meat
Tomato concentrate, onion powder, are only two of the commonly used recognizable ingredients to season fast food meats.
As we discovered in our article, answering whether or not dogs can eat tater tots, onion powder is toxic to dogs. Onion powder itself can lead to something that is called “onion toxicity,” which is a breakdown of red blood cells. This causes your dog to wind up in an anemic condition.
Tomato concentrate (or tomato paste) is extremely processed, and are high in salts and sugars that aren’t too good for the dog. These reasons aren’t overly bad and do not fall into the “toxic” category.
However, as mentioned, this is an extremely processed product. If there are green stems or foliage from the tomato, or any green tomatoes ground up and processed in the mix, this product jumps from unhealthy to toxic through the introduction of a chemical called “tomatine.”
Tomatine is found in heavy and harmful doses in the green stems or leafy parts of the plant and is heavily present in an unripen, green, tomato. Being so heavily processed and mass-produced, is there any way to confirm that the bit found in a fast-food burger patty doesn’t have a particularly high amount of this chemical?
There is a low amount of tomatine in every ripe tomato, but not enough to be toxic to a dog. Many people do give their dog a tomato as a treat, without having to worry about it.
But condensing the tomatoes in the form of a paste also condenses the levels of tomatine.
Too much tomatine causes tomatine poisoning. This is generally irritation of the stomach and intestinal lining. From that point, there are a bunch of effects this has on your dog, from heavy breathing to gastrointestinal upset. Overall behavioral changes, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, or hypersalivation can all be attributed to this type of poisoning.
Everyplace that offers cheeseburgers are either taking in pre-made patties or make them in-house- very few (if any) keep the meat unseasoned. There’s nothing wrong with anyplace adding seasoning such as onion or garlic powder because it enhances the flavor of the meat.
But they’re doing it with a person in mind, not a K9. Garlic, chives, salt, pepper, paprika, and a host of other ingredients can be found in seasoned burger meat and most of which are terrible for your dog.
Yes, convenience often comes at a price. Though it might be convenient to grab a burger or two for your dog when you’re on the road, the price of convenience could cost you a vet bill, or at the very least, several pitstops to clean up your vehicle after the effects of what’s tucked away in the meat kicks in.
Aside from all of those extra inconveniences, how do you think the dog feels? It won’t feel well enough to be inconvenienced because of what those burgers are doing to its body.
It is your responsibility as an owner to think ahead and grab a few things for the road on behalf of your dog. Food that will be healthy, and can be given whenever it’s hungry, or to keep it satisfied and off your back while you wolf down a meal.
You’ll find Dog Nutrition Questions in the links below: