Today’s question: can dogs eat raw chicken? Is raw chicken good or bad for dogs? Scroll down for detailed answers.
As dog owners you must often face the important question regarding what to feed your dogs. With dozens of different flavors of dog food readily available at stores, this simple task of feeding your dog has become extremely complicated. Should dogs eat whole food, organic, and derived from farm raised meats? Should dogs have a diet that includes human food? Why are the diets of dogs so confusing?
Many dog owners; however, prefer to stick to simple, nutritious, and above all, natural diets for their dogs. As humans move towards the all natural foods, dog owners have been bringing their dogs into the whole food movement as well. Whether you choose to eat whole foods, stick to a paleo diet, or even choose a raw food diet, eating healthy is good for both you and your dog.
If you are one of the dog owners that prefer a raw food diet, then you too must have faced the important question “Can dogs eat raw chicken?” Dogs eat raw food in the wild, and hunt and kill their prey when left to their own devices. Have dogs evolved to a point of domestication where they can no longer tolerate raw food?
In order to properly answer this question, we must be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of feeding raw chicken to dogs.
Can dogs eat raw chicken?
Feeding raw meat to dogs have been pretty controversial for some time.
A fact not many people are aware of is that dogs are actually descended from wolves. This means that their digestive systems are adapted in such a way which allows them to digest raw meat. Dogs are made to hunt, kill, and eat food in the wild. Dogs do not have the ability to chop, clean, and cook their food on a stove, therefore the dog must eat the food and the food is presented. Eating food as it is presented means a dog will eat another animal, raw and in any form, simply to eat and survive.
Dogs may have the ability to digest raw meat due to their evolutionary traits. However, dogs have been domesticated, and have been evolving over the years to an adaptation of the dog food diet. Spoiled dogs that have food prepared for them either through traditional dog food, or cooked food from their owners, may not be able to tolerate raw meat like their more wolf like counterparts.
Many argue that since dogs were descended from wolves they should eat only raw meat; and others believe that the food should be cooked in order to avoid potential harmful bacteria. However, adult healthy dogs have strong immune systems and should be able to deal with bacteria.
Ultimately, it’s a dog owner’s decision to feed raw or cooked meat to his/her pets. The decision of whether the benefits of doing so outweigh the drawbacks is up to you!
Can puppies eat raw chicken?
Puppies digestive systems are more delicate because they are still developing. Raw meat may not be the best option for them.
Benefits of feeding raw chicken to dogs
Since raw chicken bones are chewy and relatively soft, adding the bones to your dog’s diet is quite beneficial and healthy. You must be careful though because once cooked, the soft chicken bones can become brittle and shards can break off while swallowing. If a shard is displaced from the bone, the shard may cause your dog fatal injuries. Many dogs have died from eating chicken bones. Be sure to read as much as possible about offering bones to your dog before serving. Also double check with your vet that your particular dog is of a breed that is able to digest bone.
Therefore, when offering bones to your dog, it is safer to feed your dog raw bones. Raw bones are less likely to splint or cause choking and intestinal problems than those that are cooked.
The bones also have other benefits, like keeping your dog’s gums and teeth healthy. Dogs do not have the ability to brush their own teeth and visit the dentist as we do. Offering bones for your dog will keep his/her teeth and gums healthy in a natural manner.
Many dog owners may not see the need to pay attention to their dog’s dental health. This is a negative aspect of dog ownership, as the health of your dog’s teeth and gums is very important and should not be looked over. When an owner keeps their pet’s teeth and gums clean and healthy, the dog is less likely to become sick, develop disease, and die from premature death.
Whole chicken parts, including the neck, back and legs are known as muscle meats and fulfill the nutritional requirements of your dog. Your dog receives the bulk of his/her nutritional needs from their dog food, but if you wish to add protein and nutrients to their diet, offering muscle meat to your dog should be beneficial in most cases.
Feeding your dog raw chicken organs like the liver and giblets are recommended by vets as these organs fulfill the dog’s nutritional requirements for protein. Chicken organs are beneficial to your dog by providing large amounts of amino acids. In order to provide nutrition for a dog on a raw meat diet, you must ensure the food is filled with all the necessary nutrients – 5 to 10% of what it is fed should be an organ meat.
Adding raw chicken feet to your dog’s diet is extremely healthy as the high concentrations of the nutrient glucosamine present in chicken feet are good for your dog’s joints. The jagged texture of the teeth helps maintain your dog’s oral health. They remove substances stuck on the teeth while the dog chews on the bone and raw meat. Raw chicken feet can be seen as a natural method of tooth brushing and cleaning along the gum line.
The need for a change in your dog’s diet
While preparing our own meals in the kitchen, we often tend to throw our dogs scraps of raw meat but the question is “Is it healthy?” Dog owners are now taking this thought process into the store bought dog food as well. People have now become conscious about the lack of suitable nutrients present in store bought dog food. You may be surprised to know that many companies that make dog food list corn as a main ingredient, and corn; however, is a proven allergen for dogs.
Corn is used as a filler in dog food. This ingredient does not offer specialty nutritious benefit, but basic element of nutrients. Using corn as a filler detracts from what is actually needed in the dog food and prevents the added ingredients that are whole to be added. When the dog food is made with mostly corn, little room may be left for other types of healthier ingredients.
Vegetables are listed in dog food ingredients, which lead many dog owners to believe their dog food is veggie based. This is not the case. Just because the dog food has veggies listed on the ingredients portion does not mean the veggies are used as anything but a filler. In fact, most dog food companies use corn and veggies simply as fillers, not as the foundation and basis for a pure and nutritious food.
Hazards of feeding dogs raw chicken
There are some dangers associated with feeding your dog raw chicken and it is important that you should be aware of these too:
One of the main reasons raw meat is considered unsafe is the fact that the risk of disease causing bacteria, such as salmonella and listeria developing is very high. However, the fact is, dogs have very strong immune systems that remove the threat of most bacteria. Moreover, the bacteria responsible for causing salmonella are also present in processed dog food so this is not a valid reason to disregard raw chicken as a part of your dog’s diet.
If you decide to feed your dog raw chicken bones, it is extremely important to monitor the quantity as too large of a quantity can lead to your dog becoming constipated. Do not feed your pet raw chicken bones more than two times a week.
Choking is a serious concern for dogs whose owners feed them raw chicken bones, especially if the bones are small as the dog may swallow them whole without chewing. This concern is also present regarding large pieces of meat. On the other hand, bones with a large marrow should be avoided as your dog may injure his teeth while trying to gnaw on it.
Amount of raw chicken that is considered healthy
This is based on various factors that include the size and breed of your dog, as well as, the activity level. You would need to establish the right amount for your dog in accordance with the rest of the diet, its activity level and its age.
How to safely feed raw meat to dogs
Freeze the meat before feeding it to your pooch. Place the fresh store bought raw meat in the freezer as soon as you bring it home. Keep the meat in the freezer for 1-2 weeks to kill off the bacteria. there’s tons of time for bacteria to grow and we froze it for a month once and it still caused a problem.
However, the better option would be buying frozen (not thawed) meat straight from the grocery store or a butcher. Leave the meat frozen for 1 -2 weeks just to be on the safe side.
In order to decrease risk of bacteria that may be harmful for the dogs, precautions can be taken.
- Make sure the raw chicken is fresh and properly washed.
- Make sure that the worktops, chopping board, knife and the dish you feed your dog in are washed daily to remove risk on bacteria collecting on them.
- When shifting your dog to a raw food diet, it is important to do it slowly by making gradual changes. Simply throwing away the old food and replacing it with raw chicken is likely to make your dog ill, causing stomach and pancreatic problems.
- If your dog is sick do not feed him raw chicken as the weakened immune system might not be able to neutralize the effect of the bacteria.
The question “Can dogs eat raw chicken?” is answerable with a yes. The decision of whether the benefits of doing so outweigh the drawbacks is up to you!