Last Updated on June 11, 2021 by Dogs Vets
Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?
When you think about how many dog foods contain chicken as an ingredient, you can be sure that you can feed your dog chicken. In fact, it is a good source of protein, and cooked chicken can even be substituted for or added to his regular meal.
A majority of sources recommend against feeding raw chicken to your dog because of the risk of salmonella or bacterial infections, although there is a growing trend toward raw foods, including raw chicken and raw chicken bones.
If you’re not sure about raw, any unseasoned fried, poached, grilled, or baked chicken can be served alone, mixed with your dog’s regular meal, or served as a treat.
You can even mix it with a healthy grain and vegetable like beans or other dog-safe veggies for a special homemade dinner.
There are two things to keep in mind before serving chicken to your dog.
Some dogs are allergic to chicken and it is one of the top 10 allergenic ingredients. The most common allergens are beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish.
Be sure to take the cooked chicken off the bone. Cooked chicken bones splinter easily, which can lead to choking or puncture of the gastrointestinal tract.
Once you’ve determined that your dog is happy and healthy eating chicken, let him enjoy it. And for fun, try these homemade, vet-approved chicken recipes for dogs: a delicious mini omelet or frozen chicken.
In the recent raw dog food movement, many people were asking questions like,
“Can dogs eat raw chicken?”
“What’s the best way to store raw dog food?”
It’s a great sign that pet owners are thinking so much about their dog’s diet. And we’ve seen a lot of movement on this topic in recent years. The first wave of the raw food movement was about finding a potentially healthier diet than the typical store-bought kibble.
And now we’re moving into even more mindful territory to make sure the alternatives are low-risk and safe for our beloved furry friends.
There’s a lot of information to sift through, but don’t worry. We’re here to break down the science into bite-sized pieces. At the end of this article, you’ll find more useful information to help you decide if a raw chicken diet is right for your pup.
We’ll also add some safety tips, such as how to reduce the risk of infection and keep your local pet sitter informed.
The big question first: Can dogs eat raw chicken?
Can dogs eat raw chicken bones?
Can dogs eat uncooked chicken bones?
Being informed about dog nutrition is an essential part of being a dog owner. Just as you would generally monitor what you eat yourself, it is important to monitor what your dog eats.
An unhealthy and unbalanced diet can manifest itself in all sorts of health problems. As part of any dog’s diet, it’s a good idea to include a variety of raw meaty bones – they help keep teeth and gums healthy and also provide a way to express dog normal chewing behavior.
Which bones are best for dogs?
- Bones should be raw
- Never feed cooked bones as they can crumble, causing internal damage or intestinal obstruction – which can cause death
- Offer only raw human-grade meaty bones
- Talk to your vet for advice
Pre-packaged meat/bone products often contain preservatives, which can be harmful to some dogs. One such preservative is sulfite, which can lead to thiamine deficiency, a condition that can be fatal, so always ensure that raw meat/bone meats are of human-grade quality.
Ensure that the raw bone is large enough that the dog cannot swallow it whole or fit the entire bone in its mouth.
Can dogs eat raw chicken bones?
Cooked or raw?
Always feed your dog raw bones. Raw meaty bones (such as raw chicken wings or lamb wings) help keep teeth and gums healthy, provide additional nutrition, and help clean your dog’s digestive tract. Never feed cooked bones to your dog, as these can crumble and cause internal injury.
How much and how often?
Too many bones can lead to constipation. The general guideline is one to two raw bones a week with a few days between each portion, but this can vary between individual dogs, so speak to your vet for advice.
Talk to your vet about your dog’s diet.
Here’s what your dog’s stomach has to say!
To answer the question, “Can dogs eat raw chicken?” To answer it, let’s look at the fascinating world of carnivore digestion. Because at the end of the day, the question is not whether a dog will eat raw chicken – any experienced dog owner will tell you the answer is yes – but whether it will make him sick. And according to canine biology, that answer is no.
Part of it has to do with what your dog’s digestive system is like. First, it’s shorter. There are no extra stomachs (or rumens, if you want to get scientific) or long, winding digestive tracts or other anatomical elements required to break down plant material.
Instead, your dog gobbles down a meal and, it seems, signals you five minutes later that he needs a little break.
One possible benefit of this quick digestive process is that harmful bacteria have less time to grow inside your pup. You know, like the old saying of a rolling stone that gathers no moss.
It’s not just the structure of the digestive system that helps. Your dog also has a highly acidic sterilization chamber in his stomach and an army of powerful enzymes and gut bacteria to fight the battle against outside bacteria.
While humans have a similar makeup, we just aren’t as well armored as our meat-loving companions.
So yes, in the wild, dogs should be able to eat raw meat – and other questionable items – without too much fuss. And if canine digestion is as fascinating to you as it is to us, research more about it online, and give us some feedback.
But how far can you push a dog’s digestive system before his stomach wishes you had just stuck to his old-fashioned dry nibble? To answer that, let’s turn to the experts.
How would your veterinarian answer the question, “Can dogs eat raw chicken?”
Veterinarians will be the first to tell you that just because your dog eats something to survive in the wild doesn’t mean it should be at home.
This is especially true for dogs of a certain age.
So if you ask your veterinarian, “Can dogs eat raw chicken?”
He might counter with, “How old are they?“.
The problem is that it is very difficult to control bacterial growth with raw chicken. While this problem doesn’t affect dogs in their prime, it can raise red flags for puppies.
In addition, the University of Melbourne has questioned raw chicken because of a possible link to Polyradiculoneuritis (APN). APN is an autoimmune disease that may be due to exposure to a type of bacteria commonly found on chicken meat.
But the science is still shaky and, as others have pointed out, many more dogs suffer negative health consequences related to a poor diet than APN related to raw chicken.
Aside from APN, raw chicken may not be suitable for puppies or dogs with compromised immune systems or finicky digestion. As a loving pet owner, it’s best to protect especially vulnerable dogs from harmful bacteria.
Can dogs eat raw chicken: You are what you eat
If it is true that you are what you eat, the diet fed to chickens is essentially what you feed your dog. Whatever the chicken eats, good or bad, is what your dog eats. The chicken is just the middle man. And the chicken’s diet is deplorable …
Here is an ingredient label from a popular commercial chicken feed:
You can see that the base of the diet is leftover plants after we humans then process and take out all the oils. And if you’re wondering what dried bakery product is, it’s a mixture of bread, cookies, cakes, crackers, and flour – just waste from human food production.
Since the basic ingredients are just waste and have little nutritional value to the chicken, the feed must be supplemented with synthetic vitamins and minerals and free amino acids.
The waste products that make up most of the feed provide calories and little else. Therefore, free amino acids, mineral oil, and synthetic vitamins and minerals must be added to chicken feed to make it food-like.
Believe it or not, chickens should not eat things like cereal, white bread, and donuts … even if they are fortified with vitamins and minerals. And if they do, it spells big trouble for the dog eating those chickens.
The problem with omega-6 fatty acids
Here’s the deal…we humans love foods that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. That’s because we love snacks and processed foods that are made from vegetable oils like soybean, corn, and sunflower oils (which are really rich in omega-6 fats). And the waste from all these oils is ground up and put into chicken feed.
Omega-6 fatty acids can create hormones in your dog. So can its antagonistic brother, omega-3 fatty acid. But the hormones they each produce have very different jobs.
Omega-6 fatty acids produce hormones that increase inflammation, which is an important part of your dog’s immune response. The hormones produced by omega-3 fatty acids have an antagonistic effect and reduce this inflammation. A balance between these hormones and the fatty acids that control them plays a major role in your dog’s immune system and overall health.
Not surprisingly, birds in the wild don’t eat corn or soybeans. They live on grasses and insects. And as you can see, there’s a big difference between the natural grasses and bugs the chicken is supposed to eat and the corn and soy scraps he has to eat:
While the foods the chicken is supposed to eat contain more omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6 fatty acids, corn and soy contain ten times more omega-6 fatty acids. And that fundamentally changes the chicken…it makes the chicken rich in omega-6 fatty acids because that’s what the chicken eats.
The same is true for your dog. If you feed your dog that omega-6 rich chicken, he’s going to get the exact same omega fatty acid imbalance as the chicken. You are what you eat.
And your dog is not going to be in very good shape if he eats this chicken. Almost every chronic disease, from allergies and joint pain to diabetes and kidney disease, is caused by chronic inflammation. And chronic inflammation is caused by a diet rich in omega-6 fatty acids and rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Are you beginning to understand why I don’t feed my dog chicken? Chicken (and any other poultry) contains the highest amount of omega-6 fatty acids… by a landslide! Let’s take a closer look.
Can dogs eat raw chicken wing? Chicken fat is unbalanced
I wish I could come up with a better header than “Chicken Fat is Unbalanced,” but I don’t want to sound too alarmist.
What I really want to say is, “Chicken fat is so unbalanced that it will cause chronic inflammation in your dog and he’ll never eat enough healthy food to recover from it.”
How about some warning from The American Kennel Club
But let me show you why I am so adamant about not feeding chicken. Let’s compare chicken to other meats you might give your dog. And remember, we want to balance the amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to avoid chronic inflammation.
No sun = no Vitamin D.
Have you ever seen a pasture full of cows when you were out and about? Of course, you have! You’ve probably seen sheep or goats, too. But what about a pasture full of chickens? You’ve probably never seen one because chickens and other poultry are raised indoors in large buildings (and so are pigs).
While the building keeps predators from getting in, it also keeps anything else from getting in… sunshine!
Your dog was built to eat other animals…its pointed teeth and short digestive tract show us this. Another physiological status that tells us he is a carnivore is his lack of ability to produce his own vitamin D.
Vitamin D is critical to your dog’s health. It prevents skeletal deformities in growing puppies, regulates the immune system in controlling inflammatory diseases (just like omega fatty acids), prevents cancer, and contributes to skin health. Without vitamin D, your dog would be a bit of a mess!
Since your dog can’t make vitamin D, he has to rely on eating animals that can. Unlike dogs, animals like cows, chickens, and other herbivorous animals can make vitamin D from sunshine. And there will be plenty of it in the skin, liver, and kidneys where it is made.
But if your dog eats animals that are raised indoors and not in sunlight, those animals will be vitamin D deficient… and your dog will be vitamin D deficient. If he’s on a commercial diet, they put some synthetic vitamin D in the food to compensate.
However, if you give your dog a raw diet with lots of poultry or pork, you need to know that he does have vitamin D deficiency (unless you add some vitamin D to his diet).
Remember that your dog relies on other animals for his vitamin D. If these animals are raised indoors, he will be in trouble and may show the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. And that’s the second reason I no longer feed my dogs chicken.
Still, you can add enough vitamin D to your dog to make up for the lack of vitamin D in poultry and pork products. So let’s look at what you can do to boost the vitamin D and omega-3 content of your dog’s diet when you feed poultry.
Can dogs eat raw chicken: Chicken Necks
Chicken necks are a common treat for dogs, but pet owners are being warned they have been linked with a potentially fatal form of paralysis. But vets are giving warnings to pet owners about raw chicken, particularly chicken necks, which can lead to a debilitating and potentially fatal form of paralysis in dogs.
Make sure your home is a raw chicken safe space
At this point, you might feel some confusion about the raw chicken debate. Dogs can technically eat it. Veterinarians say that may not be the best idea.
And through it all, proponents of a raw chicken diet make some good points. Raw chicken is an excellent source of protein for carnivores and lowers your dog’s risk for obesity by taking carbohydrates out of the diet.
It can also take preservatives and other chemicals out of the equation. For this reason, there are many loving pet owners who still choose a raw chicken diet despite the risks laid out by veterinarians.
As a loving pet owner, the choice is ultimately yours.
So if you want to feed your dog raw chicken, how can you make sure you do it safely?
Can dogs eat raw chicken: Here are some tips:
- If you can afford it, stick with organic chicken
- Make sure all raw chicken is stored properly and never left out at room temperature
- Keep all surfaces in your home and around your dog’s food bowl clean and sanitary
- Do not feed your dog chicken with bones (such as chicken necks or wings) as the bones can splinter
- Remember that raw chicken should be fed by itself (no seasonings please!). For more information, see our article on the human food your dog can eat
- Monitor your dog closely after eating to detect signs of stress
- If you leave your dog with a trusted pet sitter, make sure they have detailed instructions on proper feeding
What’s your final conclusion?
If you want your dog to reap the full benefits of raw chicken without the health risks, buy from a trusted supplier.
FAQ’S about Can dogs eat raw chicken
Is raw meat good for dogs?
Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli. Cooking the meat to a safe temperature will kill these harmful bacteria. Feeding uncooked meat increases the risk of your dog developing food poisoning and other types of bacterial infections.
Can dogs get sick from eating raw chicken?
Conclusion: Can raw chicken make my dog sick? In short, most dogs can digest raw chicken without suffering any negative symptoms. So, you probably don’t need to worry too much about your dog’s recent dietary indiscretions. She will probably behave perfectly well and show no signs of illness at all.
At what age can a dog eat raw meat?
When can I feed a raw puppy? Puppies should be weaned to real food at three to four weeks of age. The best meat to start with is plain raw boneless white mince such as chicken, fish, or turkey.
Can I feed my dog raw poultry from the grocery store?
It is perfectly fine to feed your dog raw meat purchased from the grocery store. Just make sure the meat is in good or at least okay condition (color, smell, etc.).
Can a dog die from eating rotten meat?
Initial answer: Is it bad for my dog to eat rotten meat? No, it is not safe. Dogs can get food poisoning, become very sick, and die if left untreated. Do not feed, or allow anyone to feed, your animal rotten food.
Does your dog prefer raw chicken or cooked chicken?
Still other dogs, for whatever reason, prefer to cook their meals. For those dogs, the best approach is to cook their food lightly. According to a survey from Darwin’s clients, about one-third cook meals for their pets and two-thirds feed them raw.
How much raw chicken can I feed my dog?
One to two chicken thighs (depending on size) or two to three chicken thighs (with skin). The chicken will be the larger meal of the day. For my large dog, it is about 2 lbs. Be sure to peel the skin off, as skinless chicken does not have enough fat and needs to be supplemented with something like beef. I usually feed my dogs in a bowl in a crate.
How do I feed my dog meat?
Prepare ground or diced meat (chicken, beef, lamb, pork, etc.). Grate some vegetables (other than potatoes) into it, making it roughly 2/3 meat and 1/3 vegetables (you can put the vegetables through a food processor if you have one). Take a meat bone from the butcher and give the dog one a day or two.
What is your dog’s favorite food?
When it comes to human foods that dogs love, peanut butter tends to be at the top of the list. Peanut butter is a simple remedy used to fill Kong toys and to trick dogs into taking medications that they refuse to take.
Does your vet recommend raw food?
Our vets do not recommend preparing your own pet food, whether cooked or raw, because, without the help of a pet nutrition specialist, homemade diets can become nutritionally imbalanced and make your pet sick.
What is the best raw food for dogs?
The 6 Most Affordable Raw Dog Foods of 2021
- BARF World Raw Food Roll
- Steve’s Real Food Frozen Dog Food
- Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets
- TruDog Feed Me Crunchy Munchy Beef Bonanza Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
- Stella and Chewie’s Freeze-Dried Meal Mixers
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Low-Boost Kibble and Freeze-Dried Food
Can Dogs Get Food Poisoning From Raw Meat?
Pie crust can act as an insulator and incubate bacterial growth in the filling, even in the refrigerator. Other foods that have been found to cause food poisoning in dogs are raw fish, undercooked meat, and eggs, which can carry salmonella.
Is Frozen Raw Dog Food Safe?
Raw pet foods can pose a similar risk for pathogens found in raw meat and eggs if consumed by humans. Freezing, lyophilization, or dehydration reduces the number of bacteria, but viable pathogens survive (2-5,15).
Can I feed my dog raw chicken heart?
The heart is one of the most nutritious muscle meats available. It is rich in iron and zinc and is an excellent source of thiamin, vitamins B6 and B12, phosphorus, copper, and selenium. However, the heart is very high in cholesterol, so do not feed it to your dog too often. It should make up to 10 percent of your dog’s raw meat diet.
Can I feed raw ground beef to my dog?
Beef is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats, but there are some risks involved when dogs consume raw beef. Raw ground beef puts your dog at risk for salmonella, which is bacterial contamination. … Raw meat is not recommended for puppies, dogs with liver or kidney failure, or dogs with cancer.
How can I tell if my dog has eating bad meat?
The most common symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting, which begin within a few hours of eating rotten meat. Lethargy, abdominal pain and swelling, and loss of appetite are other signs to look for.
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