Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?
Raw Chicken Guide
Raw chicken is surely one of the easiest proteins for anyone to find at the grocery store. So the question is can does eat raw chicken? The top posts on google state dogs can’t eat meat raw. The truth of the matter is that dogs can eat chicken raw and they thrive on it. So don’t panic if your dog ate raw chicken!
If it was an accident, just monitor the dog for any issues. Also if its the first time your dog ate raw, be prepared for loose stools since the GI tract needs to adjust. In an ideal world you should transition your dog to raw meats over about 7 days. Anything faster can disrupt their healthy bacteria.
I have been feeding my dogs a raw diet since 2015 so I have a bit of experience. I have also been making homemade raw dog food since 2016 and never had any issues that you may see other websites claiming. There is more to know though, you can’t just give your dog raw chicken for every meal.
I follow the BARF diet when creating meals for my dogs. Chicken is my protein and raw meaty bone of choice for my raw dog food. I do want to point out that I also use beef to balance out some of the issues with chicken. I commonly add some 93% ground beef and I also use beef liver in my dogs food.
Why you should never feed only chicken!
Most chicken sold in the Unites States has a very high Omega 6 essential fatty acid content. The omega 6 to omega 3 ratio with an only chicken diet can be way out of whack. Dogs do best on a diet that is around 4:1 omega 6 to omega 3. Corn fed chicken can have a ratio as high as 30:1 omega 6 to omega 3. This is mostly found in the darker meat of the chicken as well as the skin.
The reason this is bad is the fact that diets high in omega 6 tend to lead to inflammatory diseases. In general it is not healthy to have a ratio much higher then 10:1. I do a few things to bring the ratio back down to a acceptable range. I remove the skin from the chicken(chicken skin is 24:1 ratio) and discard it. I also add chia seeds and ground flax seed to my dogs grind. Both of these add high amounts of Omega 3 to resolve the issue with the ratio.
What About The Bacteria? Can Dogs Safely Eat It Raw?
This topic comes up all over the web. I see tons of posts that say dogs can’t eat chicken safely because of bacteria. This simply is not true. In my opinion this comes from the commercial kibble industry or from writers that do not own a dog. I have been feeding my dogs this way for many years without any issue related to bacteria. I would also like to point out I have raised my three kids while raw feeding my dogs and nobody has ever been sick from it. There are a few reasons why.
Good Hand Hygiene is a must!
First of all we practice good hand hygiene at home. If you teach your kids to wash their hands by example it goes a long way. Just like any other raw meat, it is very important to wash your hands after handling raw chicken that you fed your dog.
Dogs GI Tract is designed to digest raw meat and bones!
The second reason goes beyond the hand hygiene and is focused more on the dog itself. Dogs and humans do not have the same digestive tract. A dog can safely consume raw meat because the stomach PH is very low. Here is an example – in the commercial food industry the PH of mayonnaise has to be below 4.5 to inhibit any salmonella bacteria growth.
The typical dog has a stomach PH of 1.2 to 2.1 1 hour after consumption of a meal. Youngberg et al. (1985) In some studies it was shown to be as low as 1.0. If you want see what range a bacteria can survive check out my post on raw dog food for beginners.. On the other post I have a simple chart that shows the PH range the top 5 common bacteria can survive in. **spoiler – none of them survive below a PH of 4.5.
As a Result of the dogs highly acidic stomach, dogs can eat raw chicken. The bacteria will not survive the trip down its digestive tract.
Another question I often hear is can dogs eat raw chicken from supermarket safely? If this supermarket is one that you would buy your own meat from then there should not be any problem. I do not recommend you buy chicken that has been deeply discounted or sold as seconds. It is however just my opinion, I would not feed my dog anything that I would not eat cooked.
What About the Bones? Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Bones?
As strange as this may sound, raw chicken bones are the only type of chicken bones a dog should eat. Never let your dog consume a chicken bone that has been cooked! The cooked bones can break off in very sharp shards and they are not as easily dissolved in the dogs stomach. These sharp shards can cause puncture wounds in the dogs GI tract.
Getting back to the topic of raw chicken bones. Dogs have a very low PH stomach which means that the stomach juices are very acidic. This acid easily digests the softer bones of chicken, duck and rabbits. Most dogs can eat uncooked chicken bones safely. As with anything else, there are exceptions.
Don’t Give Small Dogs or Puppies Large Weight Bearing bones!
It would not be a good idea to give a small dog or a puppy very large chicken bones. They should be thin enough that your dog can break them while chewing. Certain bones should be avoided. Chicken leg bones are best avoided for smaller dogs and puppies.
There is a reason for that saying “wolfed his food down”. Dogs will do just that, they will swallow bones whole that they can not break in their jaws. This can lead to a GI obstruction which you do not want to happen to your pet!
For smaller dogs and puppies stick with chicken wings, paws and necks. Be aware that they each have a very different amount of calcium. Chicken paws are approximately 60% calcium. Too many paws per meal will certainly cause your dog to have hard stools.
Once you start feeding your dog raw chicken, don’t be alarmed if you see small pieces of bone in their poop. This is totally normal for a raw fed dog. If the dog is struggling to go, you may be giving too much raw meaty bones. It is wise to recheck the calcium levels of the RMBs you are feeding.
What Parts Of The Chicken Are Edible?
I can’t think of any part of the chicken that is not actually edible for the dog. You can give larger dogs and entire chicken or Cornish hen as a meal. This isn’t really recommended though because chicken has a very unbalanced Omega 6: omega 3 Ratio. Here are some frequently asked questions specific to raw feeding chicken to dogs.
Can dogs eat raw chicken breast?
Yes dogs can eat raw chicken breast, it is also great for them cooked as a bland diet. Raw chicken breast is about 65% water, 30% protein and the rest is vitamins and minerals. To find out more check out the USDA website. The raw chicken breast is a good low fat source of protein. It also contains some trace minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and selenium.
Can dogs eat uncooked chicken bones?
Yes! Uncooked chicken bones are great for dogs. They are an excellent source of calcium, vitamins and minerals. Bones are an essential component of the BARF diet. They supply the calcium your dog needs on a daily basis. The uncooked bones added to your dogs meal can also help save you trips to the vet to have your pets teeth cleaned!
Be aware that you should not feed large weight bearing bones to little dogs, senior dogs or puppies. Older dogs can crack teeth on them. Dogs also have a tendency to swallow them whole even if they can’t break them. A few times I saw my dog swallow bones that were big enough it worried me. So to avoid this, do not give the harder bones like leg bones to your dog.
Can dogs eat raw chicken wings?
Raw chicken wings are a great way to introduce puppies to eating bones. Many feeders will either use chicken wings or chicken paws as the first source of raw meaty bones. Chicken wings are ideal for puppies and older dogs because the thin bones are easily cracked in their jaws.
Can dogs eat raw chicken feet?
These along with raw chicken wings are excellent as a introduction to raw feeding for puppies. The main thing to be aware of with the chicken feet is they are about 60% calcium. So feeding too many of these to your puppy can cause hard stools and causing struggling. Puppies can easily crack the bones and tendons in the chicken paws. The crunching makes rather loud noises which puppies like. Its a very similar concept used in puppy toys that squeak when the puppy chews on it. This activation is pleasing to the dog, so is the crunching of bones.
Can dogs eat raw chicken necks?
Yes chicken necks are also great for puppies being introduced to raw. They contain a lot of bone and cartilage. However, since this is a darker meat its important to remember the omega 6 to omega 3 ratios. This meat does contain an unbalanced amount of omega 6. Feed to your dog sparingly otherwise supplements are needed.
Can dogs eat raw chicken drumsticks?
These are great for larger dogs if you are going to feed them whole. Stay clear of these for older dogs and puppies. The bones are quiet a bit harder then chicken paws, chicken necks and chicken wings. These are not ideal to use for a puppy, many adult dogs do well with them.
Can dogs eat raw chicken skin?
Dogs can eat raw chicken skin although it is not really recommended. The main issue with this skin is that it has a ratio of approximately 24:1 omega 6 to omega 3. This is way out of balance. Dogs should be fed around 4:1 ratio of 6:3. Loads of omega 3 supplements are needed to correct the ratio. As a result I pull almost all of the skin off the chicken cuts that I feed my dog.
Can dogs eat raw chicken liver?
Dogs can eat raw chicken livers. They are a good source of vitamin A for the dog. Typically I do not incorporate this into my dogs daily meals. I opt for the beef liver since they have more minerals then chicken liver.
Can Dogs Raw Chicken Eggs?
Dogs can eat both raw eggs and cooked eggs. You may not want to feed the cooked eggs depending on how they are prepared. High in fat diets are not good for dogs and can cause pancreatitis. So if you cook your eggs in butter its best not to give them to your dog.
The other concern with feeding too many eggs are the effects egg whites can have on dogs. Egg whites contain a substance called avidin. Avidin when consumed too much will reduce biotin absorption in your dog. Biotin is essential in dogs for cell repair, metabolism, healthy skin and fur coats. So just like anything else, feed eggs to your dog in moderation. The goal is to balance your dogs diet so they get everything they need.
Raw chicken eggs are an excellent topper for any dogs meal. They provide many essential nutrients that a dog needs to survive. Eggs provide iron, essential fatty acids, folate, protein, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin A and Vitamin B12. All of which are vital to maintain healthy a healthy coat and skin.
There was a study in 2016 that concluded that eating egg shell membranes helped older dogs improve arthritis. To read about this study, visit the national library of medicine.
- Dogs can eat raw chicken!
- Dogs are less susceptible to bacteria than humans because low PH in their stomach
- Never give expired chicken meat to your dog
- Avoid feeding excessive amounts of skin or dark meat
- Stick with smaller bones like paws, necks or wings for puppies and older dogs
- Use good hand hygiene when preparing food and disinfect all surfaces like you would for any raw meat.
- Don’t let your dog lick you right after eating a raw meal to avoid contact with bacteria.