It gets tiresome to buy and prepare food separately for yourself and your dog. Wouldn’t it be great if dogs could eat more of the same dishes you eat? For instance, can dogs eat chicken noodle soup — the same one you prepare for yourself?
Generally safe, but…
Yup! Dogs can eat the same chicken noodle soup humans eat. But not that often. This is because there are certain safety issues involved.
These issues tend to crop up with canned soups or commercially-available soup mixes, thanks to certain additives or ingredients. Moreover, homemade chicken noodle soups may still contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
Here are the things you would need to minimize or avoid entirely:
1. High sodium
Too much salt (sodium chloride) in your diet is bad for you — it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, or some problems with your kidneys. So imagine what too much salt can do to a dog!
Most pre-made chicken broth or canned soups you buy from the grocery have a lot of salt and other preservatives added in. Now, that’s fine if you only use these once in a rare while to make chicken noodle soup for yourself and your dog. But if you do this too often — like twice a week or more — you could be raising the sodium level in your dog’s blood above normal.
2. Too much monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Monosodium glutamate or MSG is a sodium salt of glutamic acid that helps make food taste savory or have that umami taste. It is already present in some ingredients (like tomatoes, cheese, and savory preserves).
Nowadays, there are MSG concentrate food seasonings (e.g., Ve-Tsin or “vetsin,” Ajinomoto) you can buy from certain groceries or shops. Adding MSG seasoning has long been a common practice in Asia, and it has spread to the rest of the world. MSG concentrate is now commonly added to a lot of canned or packaged food products around the world, to intensify their savory or “umami” taste.
However, the use of MSG additives remains controversial. Despite the lack of conclusive proof, some people insist they experience “MSG symptom complex” (nausea, heart palpitations, numbness, etc.) whenever they ingest some food that’s been enhanced with MSG seasoning.
Meanwhile, the documented effects of MSG on animals (including dogs) have been rather spotty.
In the past, there have been claims that 1-2 tablespoons of MSG granules can kill a dog. The anxiousness over MSG’s effects on dogs and other animals are such that PETA recently urged Ajinomoto Co., Inc. (the world’s largest manufacturer of MSG seasonings) to stop their “horrific” animal testing.
Some studies seem to confirm this. Prolonged exposure to MSG has caused liver inflammation, dysplasia, obesity, diabetes, and other ailments in lab mice. On the other hand, there have been studies that suggest that low amounts of MSG pose no threat to dogs whatsoever.
So what’s a doggie parent to do, if you want to treat your dog to the occasional chicken noodle soup?
You can’t avoid MSG that’s naturally present in some food, of course. But do limit your use of pre-packaged or canned chicken soups that have MSG as an additive in the list of ingredients. Or, you can make homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch. That way, you can control what goes into your fur baby’s mouth (and yours, as well!).
3. Too many alliums
Garlic, onions, chives, and leeks are part of the Allium family of plants. People around the world have been using them to cook and flavor their food for thousands of years. We love eating them. And of course, we use them to make various versions of chicken noodle soup.
But alliums can be toxic to dogs. Dogs can’t consume an amount of garlic or onions more than 0.5% of their total body weight. For instance, if your dog weighs about 30 pounds (13 kilograms), an accumulation of a mere 2.5 ounces (or 70 grams) of alliums in his stomach will trigger gastroenteritis within 24 hours. It will then progress to anemia. (And you’ll have to bring your dog to the vet ASAP for emergency treatment!)
So if you’re preparing some soup to share with your dog, stay on the safe side. Don’t add in too much garlic, onion, and the like (or even garlic and onion powder!) in it.
Chicken noodle soup recipe
So how do you make a chicken noodle soup that you and your dog can enjoy together? Easy! Just follow two rules:
1.) Start from scratch and make it homemade.
2.) Minimize or leave out any dangerous ingredients for your dog, but add them into your bowl later.
- Unseasoned cooked chicken breast meat, shredded
- Chicken bones
- 1 celery stalk (do not cut into pieces)
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into pieces
- A pinch of regular rock salt (not iodized)
Later ingredients (for you!):
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- More salt and pepper, to taste
How to make the soup:
Fill a pot with water. Drop in the chicken bones and salt. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour, until the water turns into chicken broth. Strain off the chicken bones.
Cook the noodles in the broth. (Follow the cooking time instructions on the noodles’ package.) Strain out the noodles and set them aside to cool. Cut the cooked noodles into pieces.
Add the shredded chicken, celery, and carrots into the pot of starchy chicken broth. Simmer or boil until the vegetables are cooked.
Take the celery out and set it aside. Pour in the noodle pieces. Serve that in a bowl to your dog. You can also add some dry dog food into your dog’s bowl for extra nutrition.
For your own bowl of soup, add back the celery. Season it with as much salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder as you want.
Last few tips
So yes, you can create a chicken noodle soup recipe both you and your dog can eat!
However, your dog might be among the few to have sensitivities or allergies to flours, starches, chicken meat, or chicken skin. If that’s the case, then you can’t give him the same noodle soup. You’ll have to use alternatives to wheat noodles or pasta (e.g., rice), or to chicken meat (e.g., beef or pork).