Ramen noodles are an instant classic for college students or anyone looking for a cheap meal.
Ramen is super simple to prepare, especially for those who don’t have a kitchen. It can be even more convenient if you purchase the ones prepackaged in cups!
But as much as humans love the taste- can dogs eat ramen noodles too?
Most evidence points to a strong “No”.
Ramen noodles were not invented for a dog’s anatomy in mind, and a canine body may have difficulties digesting the food.
Also, while it is not strictly toxic to dogs, it contains many core ingredients and components that are not good for a dog’s health. The low nutritional value yet high salt content in ramen noodles is an especially damning feature.
Furthermore, ramen noodles are not a suitable food for puppies or younger dogs as it provides mostly empty calories with little nutritional benefit. There are much better options out there to feed your dog, even if they are slightly more expensive.
Ramen noodles are a quick, cheap meal for humans- but is it a food that is safe for your dog?
Scientists have noted that dogs and humans have similar gastrointestinal make-up, but don’t pop that ramen noodle pack in the microwave just yet. Let’s explore the dog’s anatomy a bit further to grasp what happens when they eat noodles.
First of all, humans have saliva. When eating ramen noodles, this saliva breaks down the noodles. While dogs also have saliva, it lacks the enzymes that it needs to break the cooked noodles down.
Next is the esophagus. The human esophagus ensures food doesn’t go down the wrong way.
On the other hand, dogs have a strong gag reflex. When they eat food like ramen noodles that doesn’t get chewed down properly, they may throw it back up considering the length of the noodle.
Throwing up doesn’t necessarily mean your dog is sick or doesn’t like the noodles. It just means that its body is sending a signal that something is not quite right.
When eating ramen noodles, a human’s stomach acidity will initially be higher than that of a dog. However after around an hour of eating, the acidity level returns to normal.
Meanwhile, dogs have three or even four different types of acid production. This often causes their stomachs to reach an acidity level similar to that of car battery acid.
What does this mean concerning eating ramen noodles?
Ramen noodles aren’t typical in a dog’s diet because their stomach acid is designed to break down large pieces of meat and bone. Thus, a dog’s consumption of ramen noodles can cause acid reflux (signaled by constantly hiccuping and swallowing), diarrhea, and or gas bubbles to occur.
So, can dogs eat ramen noodles?
Based on the science behind the anatomy of a dog, it may be better if they simply stuck to dog food.
If you’re wondering if your young dog can eat ramen noodles, you’ll find your answer here.
Puppies, much like human babies, are growing at a rapid rate. They depend on the right nutrients to be provided by their canine mother (and later on, human parents) in order to cultivate a healthy and robust body.
Puppies also have developing digestive systems that are just becoming used to the world around them and are very sensitive.
On the other hand, adult dogs are merely sustaining their body weight. Although ramen noodles aren’t great for them, at least they can digest them more easily.
Before four-weeks-old, puppies should most certainly not be eating ramen noodles as they cannot eat solid foods yet.
Puppies also need a high caloric diet to aid their growth, and the low nutritional value of ramen noodles goes against that entirely.
With that being said, an average package of ramen noodles only has about 27 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein. This macronutrient profile is not enough to satisfy the nutritional needs of a growing puppy.
Additionally, perhaps the most negative aspect of ramen noodles is the high salt content. One package of ramen noodles contains about 861 micrograms of sodium or salt.
Foods high in salt cause one to become extremely thirsty and sometimes dehydrated. Have you ever eaten a whole bucket of salted popcorn at the movie theatre and run out of your drink?
The same happens to dogs- only worse. Not only will a high amount of sodium make them extremely thirsty, it could also lead to more serious conditions such as sodium ion poisoning or hypernatremia. The symptoms of excess salt consumption can include:
In the most dangerous cases, it can even lead to death.
These issues are only worsened for puppies since they are still learning. If they eat ramen noodles, they may become easily distracted and forget to drink water afterwards, leading to dehydration.
Finally, at about five months, puppies tend to go through a ‘growth spurt’. During this period they definitely should not be eating ramen noodles, as it is a crucial time to absorb critical nutrients that will enable them to develop properly.
All in all, it is not safe or advisable to give your puppy ramen noodles- cooked or raw.
Ramen Noodle Components
Let’s explore what makes up ramen noodles to further our understanding of why dogs should or should not eat noodles.
Ramen noodles are made up of wheat flour, various vegetable oils, and different flavorings.
They also contain a preservative to ensure its long shelf life called tertiary-butyl hydroquinone.
Although they contain necessary amounts of Iron and Manganese, they lack critical supplements like fiber, protein, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin B12.
A study from Baylor and Harvard University evaluated about 11,000 men and women in South Korea, with ages ranging from 19 to 64 years old.
The scientists studied the citizens of South Korea individually because they consume the most significant amount of ramen noodles per capita out of anywhere in the world. In 2010 alone, they consumed 3.4 billion packages of the stuff!
Their findings were as follows: South Korean people had higher rates of heart disease, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.
If ramen noodles are found to be unhealthy or harmful for humans, they most certainly aren’t suitable for dogs or puppies especially in large quantities.
Furthermore, the empty nutritional content of ramen noodles can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and pancreatitis for your furry friend.
Many ramen noodle flavorings contain onion and garlic, which is highly toxic for dogs.
Considering that it would be best not to feed your dog raw or cooked ramen noodles at all, even less needs to be said about the added flavoring.
The powdered onions and garlic can kill a dog’s red blood cells, which in return causes anemia. Anemia prevents a dog’s blood cells from carrying the proper amount of oxygen it needs throughout its body.
Additionally, the flavoring package also contains a significant portion of the sodium intake- the downsides of which you’ve already read about above.
Some versions of ramen noodles contain other flavorings, such as soy sauce. Soy sauce also consists mostly of salt.
If your dog eats a teaspoon or more, it could be at risk for kidney damage. Kidney damage can cause neurological issues or even death if your dog does not access water in time.
Even the noodle soup will be full of unnecessary ingredients for your dog! When feeding your dog, the best bet is simply to avoid giving it ramen noodles entirely.
While it is not the ideal food for dogs, in small quantities it won’t do too much harm to your precious pooch.
Regardless of whether your dog managed to eat a few strands or scarf down a whole bowlful, you’ll want to make sure that it has access to plenty of plain, clean water.
You may need to actively lead your dog to the water to make sure he drinks, but it is likely to be so thirsty after its meal that it will seek out water by itself.
Luckily, the amount of garlic and onion in the flavoring is usually very small. Even if your dog eats a whole packet worth, it will likely be just fine. If you are worried, keep an extra vigilant eye over the next few hours for symptoms such as lethargy, weakness and pale gums.
So, can dogs eat ramen noodles?
As you have seen, the components in noodle sauce and the noodles themselves aren’t created for dogs and shouldn’t become a part of their regular diet. They have little nutritional value for either puppies or grown dogs.
In small amounts it may be ok, especially if the alternative is that you let your dog starve! If when feeding your dog you do choose to give it ramen noodles, give it to them as plainly as possible without any of the sauce or powder sachets.
Also make sure to provide it with plenty of fresh, clean water afterwards so it can wash down the sodium content. Not doing so could cause your dog to become dehydrated and suffer various side effects.
The best option for puppies and dogs is always to provide them with vet-approved dog food that is designed specifically for their nutritional needs.