Eating raw is all the rage for humans these days. The advantages are obvious, but raw doesn’t mean dripping blood in most cases for humans. What about your dog? Is it better for them to eat raw natural foods too, and does that include meats like poultry? Chicken is an outstanding lean protein, but would a dog catch and eat a chicken in nature? With so many questions about raw eating and especially raw chicken, I decided it was time to share what I know from years of pet experience, plus what the experts have to say about feeding dogs raw chicken.
Can dogs eat raw chicken? There are risks associated with feeding canines raw poultry, like splintered bones and problems with inflammation or paralysis. A dog can and would eat raw chicken in nature, but commercial chicken farms feed chickens differently, which makes them a bad dietary fit for your dog. Our homes and grocery stores are not natural.
When to Worry About a Dog Who Ate Raw Chicken
If you’re reading this because your dog accidentally ate raw chicken, then you may be a little freaked out. First, breathe, your dog will probably be fine. Our canine companions are hardier than humans. They have excellent, strong digestive tracts and stomachs with a much higher acidity than ours.
Most healthy canines can handle a lot more than you might expect, and keep on barking. However, it’s not great that your pooch got their teeth in some chicken without your consent. Here are the three main unpleasant possibilities to consider if your dog eats raw chicken.
- Chicken bones are very brittle and can splinter damaging your dog internally.
- Commercial chicken may cause chronic inflammation.
- Salmonella in chicken can make your dog sick.
Chicken Bones & Your Dog
One of the most important things to know about a dog eating raw chicken is whether there were any bones in it. Sure, some pet owners say they feed their pups all sorts of bad-idea foods, like chicken bones. They may even swear it’s no big deal. Please don’t take their advice. You don’t have to take mine either, but at least ask your vet.
Chicken bones can splinter inside your dog’s mouth or digestive system and cause severe issues like internal bleeding. Keep an eye on your pilfering pooch and take them to the vet at the first sign of tummy troubles, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Please do not ever feed your dog chicken bones. The same thing that gives birds ultralight bones so some of them can fly also makes those bones easy to splinter. Bone shards in your pet’s guts would be terrible news indeed.
Salmonella in Raw Chicken
Yes, raw chicken is a salmonella risk, and it is possible to make your dog sick with bad chicken. However, your typical dog has a hardy constitution passed down from generations of doggy ancestors who hunted and ate raw foods. That means they can handle it better than we can.
While you should always keep an eye on your pooch to make sure they’re well, that goes double for raw food ingestion. Still, dogs will do alright with reasonable amounts of raw chicken most of the time. I’d be more concerned about spoiled meat and why your favorite Fido was stealing in the first place.
Either you need to talk to your kids/spouse about dog feeding, or you have a training issue. Never allow dogs to take what they want. It undermines your position as the leader of their pack. Plus, it’s bound to get you into situations like this, where you’re worried about your dog, and possibly also hungry because they stole your dinner.
Dogs With Digestive Issues
When you have an older dog, sick pup, or a canine companion with digestive tract or immune system issues, then you have a serious concern about that raw chicken. Unwell animals are far more susceptible to gastrointestinal upset.
Equally important, if the feeding was pilfered poultry or someone gave it to your pet without asking first, then your dog may not be doing so hot. Normal, healthy canines can take a lot, but your sick pooch probably isn’t prepared to digest this meal. You should call the vet at the first sign of distress.
Why You Truly Should Not Feed Dogs Raw Chicken
Dogs who eat raw chicken tend to suffer from chronic inflammation, and worse they can have problems with potentially deadly paralysis according to one study. I don’t want to sound alarmist, but if you’ve been feeding your pup raw chicken, you should probably stop now. It’s not that a bit of raw natural chicken, without bones, would harm your dog, but too much is a bad plan. Plus, most chicken is far from natural.
Even experts will disagree with each other on the benefits versus the downside of raw dog diets. However, one thing remains constant. Chicken isn’t the best source of meat for your dog. It’s cheap, but there’s a surprising and disgusting reason for that low price tag.
Commercial chickens have a poor diet. Resultantly, they are far too high in Omega 6 fatty acids for your canine companion’s good health. Typically the healthy ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 should be no more than five to one.
Most commercial (inexpensive) chickens eat a pretty horrifying diet that consists mainly of soy, corn, processed grains we’ve stripped the oils from, and waste from bakeries. It’s this mashup of weird ‘stuff’ that causes the dietary imbalance and the ridiculously high Omega 6 content.
Cooked Chicken is Safer for Your Dog, but Not ‘Better’
Cooking some chicken for your dog as a (very) rare treat is probably fine, but it shouldn’t be a regular deal. Raw or cooked, both chicken and duck, are not a good fit for your dog’s dietary needs. The Omega 6 content can lead to more than inflammation. There’s at least one study that concluded that too much chicken (or duck) could kill your pet over time if you feed it to them daily.
For pet owners who are seeking healthy snacks, you can always opt for an organic doggy treat. Skip the chicken and look for something less controversial for dog health. I suggest GRANDMA LUCY’S Organic Baked Treat for Dogs, Mixed 3 Packs of fruit dog snacks from Amazon instead. You can find out more by clicking here.
Raw Chicken Vs. Raw Pork for Your Dog
Raw meats like chicken can be a healthy alternative for your dog’s diet. They’ll enjoy eating closer to nature. However, we need to talk about pork. Poultry may have splintery bones and salmonella risks, but feeding your dog raw pork is just asking for trouble.
Pig meat may make delicious bacon, ribs, and chops for humans, but uncooked pork is a problem. Parasites, known as the trichinella spiralis larvae that we quickly destroy in the cooking process, are still likely present in that raw roast. You don’t want your canine companion to get trichinosis.
The symptoms of Trich can be subtle and hard to spot. If you have an older dog or one who has a compromised immune system, you’ll likely see more severe indicators. Regardless, never ignore a doggy in distress, especially if they’ve been exposed to raw pork or other risky substances.
Watch out for these Trichinosis warning signs:
- Muscle Inflammation
- Stomach Upset
Your dog is hardy, and their digestive tract can take a lot, but don’t push it too far. Raw pork parasites are no joke. It’s never worth risking your best friend’s life because you were ‘pretty sure’ it would be okay. Don’t fall into the ‘just this once’ trap. Skip the raw pork.
Can I Feed My Dog Raw Meat That Isn’t Chicken
Yes, you can! Raw chicken may not be great for your dog, but most animals that walk on all fours and eat mostly hay and grass are alright protein sources for your dog. The difference is in the diet. Because cows, lambs, and goats all spend their lives eating natural fibers, they tend to be ideal proteins for your dog.
It will cost you more to feed your pet a healthy diet than a crummy one, but they’re worth it. Whether you choose to have, your dog go raw or not, stick to feeding them things with hooves, but not snouts. It may seem strange to put it that way, but it’s easy to remember.
I suggest starting with a good healthy base like The Honest Kitchen’s, Human Grade Dehydrated Grain Free Dog Food. It’s not raw, but it is a whole lot healthier than feeding your favorite pooch chicken. You can check prices and availability by clicking here.
Commercial beef, lamb, and goats are also fed some of the same waste products that you find in commercial chicken feed, but not for the same amount of time. While grass eaters usually get to chew up a pasture, or at least sup on bales of hay, they do get the ‘chicken’ treatment toward the end. Eating waste food helps them bulk up right before they’re sold or slaughtered.
It’s a nasty process, but less harmful to your dog than commercial chicken. Raw isn’t the issue. Commercial chicken isn’t something your pets should eat.
If you absolutely insist on feeding your dog raw chicken, please make sure you buy only free-range and preferably organic. It may cost a pretty penny, but it’s still less than the vet bills to try and help a dog with chronic inflammation that their diet is making incurable. It’s a vicious cycle.
Raw dog food and cooked dog food enthusiasts both have valid points to make. It is truly up to you and your vet to decide what works best for your pet’s health. Whichever side you choose, don’t feed your dog chicken.
Giving your pet a rare treat is fine. However, keep in mind that ‘rare’ doesn’t mean daily or even weekly. Think of treats like chicken as something that should only happen on very special occasions like holidays.