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Can you give cream of chicken soup to dogs?

Many dog owners find themselves with leftovers of creamy chicken soups and wonder if it’s safe to feed some to their furry friend. Cream of chicken soup is often used as a base for casseroles, gravies, and sauces. It’s an easy way to add flavor and creaminess to dishes. While dogs can eat chicken, the additional ingredients in canned soups may cause some concerns. Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients and nutritional value of cream of chicken soup to determine if it’s appropriate to add to a dog’s diet.

Ingredients in Cream of Chicken Soup

The primary ingredients in most cream of chicken soups are chicken broth, cooked chicken meat, wheat flour, vegetables like peas and carrots, and dairy products like milk or cream. Many brands also contain onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Here is a typical ingredient list:

  • Chicken broth
  • Cooked chicken meat
  • Wheat flour
  • Vegetables (carrots, peas, potatoes, etc.)
  • Milk or cream
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • MSG

The main ingredients of concern are onion, garlic, salt, and MSG. Let’s look at each in more detail:


Onions contain compounds that can damage red blood cells and cause anemia in dogs if large amounts are ingested. The small amount of onion powder used for flavoring is generally not an issue, but feeding too much cream of chicken soup could potentially cause problems over time.


Like onions, garlic also contains compounds that are toxic to dogs and cats if consumed in large quantities. The minimal garlic powder in soup is likely fine, but the cumulative effects could be dangerous if fed routinely.


Most cream soups have very high sodium levels. Too much salt can cause gastrointestinal upset, dehydration, and even sodium ion poisoning in pets. The salt content should be limited in dog diets.


Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a controversial ingredient some pet owners like to avoid. While it enhances flavor, there are mixed reports on whether MSG is harmful to dogs. Some dogs may have sensitivities to large amounts.

So in small quantities, these ingredients are unlikely to pose an immediate threat. But regularly feeding cream soups could lead to potential health issues for dogs in the long run.

Nutritional Value of Cream of Chicken Soup

Here is the typical nutritional information for one cup of condensed cream of chicken soup (approx 247g):

Nutrient Amount
Calories 410
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 7g
Trans Fat 0.5g
Cholesterol 45mg
Sodium 1510mg
Total Carbohydrates 44g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 12g

As you can see, cream soups are very high in sodium, saturated fat, and calories compared to the nutritional needs of dogs. They also lack the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that dogs require in a balanced diet. While the chicken provides some protein, it should not be a primary source of nutrition.

Health Risks of Feeding Dogs Cream Soups

Feeding cream of chicken soup occasionally as a treat should not cause major issues for otherwise healthy dogs. But using it regularly in a dog’s diet, even in small amounts, may pose the following health risks:

Nutritional imbalance

Dogs need balanced nutrition from meat, fruits/veggies, grains, vitamins, and minerals. Cream soups are severely lacking essential nutrients and can’t be a staple food item.

Weight gain

The high calorie, fat, and sodium content can quickly lead to obesity if fed routinely. Excess weight puts stress on the joints and organs.

Gastrointestinal upset

The rich, fatty soup and heavy seasoning may cause stomachaches, gas, diarrhea, and vomiting if dogs consume too much.


The high fat content also increases the risk of developing painful pancreatitis, which is potentially life threatening.

Heart disease

The sodium and fat, especially saturated fat, can contribute to heart disease and cardiac problems over time.

So while the occasional small treat of cream soup won’t immediately harm dogs, regular consumption could lead to preventable health conditions. Pet owners need to be very mindful of the portions fed.

Safe Ways to Feed Cream Soup to Dogs

If you want to share a spoonful of cream of chicken soup with your dog as a treat every so often, here are some tips to do it safely:

– Choose low-sodium varieties with minimal seasoning. Look for soups with less than 100mg sodium per serving.

– Limit to 1-2 teaspoons per treat. This avoids excessive calories, fat, and sodium.

– Dilute with water to reduce thickness and saltiness. Add a splash of water and stir before feeding.

– Avoid giving on a regular basis. Reserve for special occasions only, not daily treats.

– Introduce slowly. Start with just a lick to check for any intestinal upset.

– Skip for puppies. Stick to proper puppy food as their digestive systems are more sensitive.

– Don’t replace meals. Make sure your dog still eats complete and balanced main meals.

– Watch portion size if feeding as a meal topper. Just a spoonful on kibble can work.

– Consider low-fat options. Some brands offer “lite” versions with less fat and calories.

With care and moderation, sharing a taste of this human food can be possible without adverse effects. But cream soups shouldn’t become dietary staples for your dog.

Healthier Food Alternatives for Dogs

For longer-term food additions or toppings, consider healthier alternatives like:

– Plain cooked chicken or turkey without skin

– Low-sodium chicken or beef broth

– Unsalted peanut butter

– Greek yogurt (non-fat or low-fat)

– Oatmeal

– Mashed sweet potatoes or pumpkin

– Chopped fruits like bananas, apples, or blueberries

– Chopped or steamed veggies like carrots, peas, green beans

– Rice, barley, quinoa, or pasta (whole grain)

– Cottage cheese (low-fat or non-fat)

– Hard boiled eggs

These provide extra proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber without excess fat, salt, and sugars. Introduce new foods gradually to watch for allergies.


In moderation, cream of chicken soup is generally safe for dogs to eat as an occasional treat. But the high sodium, fat, lack of nutrients, and added seasonings mean it shouldn’t be a regular part of a dog’s diet. Limit portions to a spoonful or two on rare occasions. Diluting and choosing low-sodium varieties can help minimize risks when sharing as a special snack. For regular meal additions, healthier options like cooked chicken, veggies, and whole grains are better choices to provide balanced nutrition. With some care and limitations, owners can safely share a taste of this human food favorite with their canine companions. But overall, cream soups cannot replace complete and balanced dog food as the foundation of a dog’s diet.