Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken – And Why Is It Controversial?

By Michael Tarran

September 23, 2020

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Chicken, like all other poultry meat, is an excellent source of protein for your dog. Yes, nature did intend a raw diet for dogs, but just because your dog would eat something in the wilderness to prevent starving does not mean it is the best choice for them.

Dogs are omnivores just like we are. Luckily they have a much more resistant digestive system than we do, which allows them to eat raw meat and deal with nasty bacteria and other harmful bugs easier.  Still, this does not answer our today's burning question - can dogs eat raw chicken?

If you are eager to find out what can happen when your dog eats raw chicken, stick until the end of this article.

Are you ready to start?

Last Updated: October 19th 2020

Why Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

Like we all know, dogs are descendants of wolves and wild dogs. So it is only natural that they would instinctively gladly munch on chicken meat, liver, heart, feet, skin, and even bones.  But the question is, will that be a good idea?

Currently, the raw dog food movement is in its prime time, and a lot of people are still undecided if they should start adding raw meat to their dogs or not. The answer from the scientific side is yes!

Mainly because your dog's digestive system is shorter, there aren't any extra stomachs or long, winding digestive tracts needed to break down plant-based food rich in fibers. That means their digestive system is way quicker than ours, so there is less time for harmful bacteria and bugs to grow and build-up in your pup's tummy.

Also, dogs have a highly acidic sterilizing chamber within the stomach fully armed with powerful enzymes and gut bacteria that will fight and destroy nasty outside bacteria. That means they are entirely safe to eat raw meat, right?

Well, yes and no. It depends on which kind of meat and how old your doggo is. For example, grown-up dogs are safe to eat raw meat, while pups can experience some complications since their digestive tract is not so resistant.

What Are The Benefits Of Feeding Raw Chicken?

There are always two sides to the coin, so let's first see the benefits of feeding raw chicken meat.

Protein

I already mentioned how a chicken is high in protein. There are approximately 7grams of protein per ounce of chicken meat. The chicken protein is a complete protein, which is very important since it contains all nine essential amino acids crucial for building body tissues and muscles.

Carbohydrates

Chicken has no carbohydrates. Also, when you remove the skin and fat chicken is very lean, so naturally, it has fewer calories. The chicken breast is the leanest cut of chicken, while dark meat is higher in fat, so make sure you balance the meat ratio when preparing your dog's food bowl.

Vitamins

Chicken is rich in niacin or vitamin B3 and vitamin B6. Niacin helps the formation of red blood cells and helps to release energy from carbs. On the other hand, vitamin B6 is essential for protein metabolism, and it significantly boosts the immune system.

Minerals

Chicken is rich in phosphorus and selenium. Phosphorus makes bones and teeth more durable, while selenium has an important role in regulating the thyroid hormone.

What Are Possible Complications Of Dog Eating Raw Chicken?

can dogs eat raw chicken?

While talking about raw chicken, many veterinarians are against it because of the risk of salmonella or other bacterial contamination. It is not yet confirmed, but many of the vets link raw chicken meat with an autoimmune disease called polyradiculoneuritis (APN).

Also, a lot of dogs are allergic to poultry, especially small and medium breeds. To be more precise, chicken is ranked number five within the ten most common allergens for dogs. But there are many more reasons why people choose to avoid feeding raw chicken, so let's explore this a bit more.

So you know that saying you are what you eat, right? Considering how cheap the chicken is, you can guess that they are not fed with some premium quality food. That means they usually are fed with ingredients like dulled soybean and corn, hydrolyzed feathers, wheat middling, dried bakery products, etc. All this is not good for your dog since they are not offering any nutritional value.

Since chicken nowadays is mostly fed with a lot of leftover human foods (dried bakery products, corn, and soybean), which consist of a lot of oils rich in omega-6 fatty acid. This can be very harmful to your dog since omega-6 fatty acids can produce hormones that increase inflammation.  

On the other hand, chicken meat is poor in omega-3 fatty acid that decreases the inflammation hormones and balances the effect of omega-6 fatty acid. That means chicken fat is unbalanced and can bring more harm than benefits to your dog's overall health.

Fat Content In Different Types Of Meat per 100 grams

Cell

Omega-6 Fatty Acid

Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Deer

359

104

Grain-Fed Beef

275

16

Pheasant

460

70

Chicken

1390

150

Salmon

0.74

3.16

Feeding Your Dog With Raw Chicken - How To 

feeding your dog raw chicken - here's how

In case you still decided to feed your dog raw chicken meat, there are some ground rules you need to follow.  Make sure the chicken is fresh to avoid the risk of getting bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter. It would be great if you can buy organic grass-fed chicken.

As you saw, chicken meat has an unbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio, so you must additionally add some omega-3 fatty acids when you plan on feeding raw chicken meat.

Also, it is crucial to add vitamin D and calcium. Of course, you can always feed your dogs with chicken bones, but they can present significant choking hazards. Small bones with cartilages like necks and wings are okay but never leave your dog unsupervised when they munch on these bones! Especially avoid giving your dog cooked chicken bones because those bones splinter easily. They can stuck and hurt your dog's throat and irritate the stomach.

It is crucial to mix muscle meat with chicken organs and remove as much fat as possible. Always remove the skin!

What Are Good Substitutes For Raw Chicken?

If you want to try out the more natural approach to your dog's diet, but you are not so sure you want to include raw chicken meat on the menu, you can always find some suitable substitutes.

Chicken broth made from chicken leg or wing with some rice can be a good middle ground in a healthy diet between raw and processed food. Cooking chicken meat will diminish some nutrients, yes, but it will as well make chicken bacteria-free so it will be safe for your dog.  

You can also add some rabbit meat but carefully and in small amounts tho since dogs can be allergic to rabbit meat.

Another alternative is fish.  You can serve it cooked, grilled, steamed as long as it is clean of the bones your dog is safe. Just make sure you consult with your vet about serving size.

What Can You Do If Your Dog Ate Raw Chicken?

If you never feed your dog raw meat and you catch him up munching on some chicken leg, stay calm and try to take it away from your dog. The problem may occur if the chicken was unwashed or god forbid out of date and ready for the trash.

If you have a small dog, first check if they ingested some larger pieces or bones that can block their airways or cause internal bleeding. If they did, they would start vomiting, and you will find some blood in their poop.

Make sure you observe your dog for the next few hours to see how their stomach will react. If it shows any symptom of distress take the dog to the vet without hesitation.

Bottom Line

So can dogs eat raw chicken?  Yes, they can, but they shouldn't. Well, at least not frequently. Add it in their kibble from time to time. If you plan to feed 100% raw, choose some other meats such as turkey, beef, venison, or fish since they will offer a better nutritional value than chicken meat.

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Michael Tarran

About Me

I'm a devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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