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Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?

​Quick Answer:

  • ​YES. Dogs can eat Raw Chicken. Including Bones.
  • But, dogs CANNOT eat cooked bones.

​Your dog's ancestors were natural predators that would hunt and eat their food fresh off the bone. Although your dog not longer needs to hunt out in the wild, a dog's immune system, acidic gut, and powerful jaws are designed to consume and digest raw food.

Bones

Raw chicken bones are safe for dogs to consume, your dog can easily break them down their powerful jaws and teeth. Going back to my earlier example of their wolf relatives; dogs actually benefit from the vitamins and minerals contained in soft bones, and have no problem digesting them.

Bones are also great at scraping teeth, which works like natures toothbrush. The bones scrub off plaque and gingivitis to keep teeth and gums healthy.

However, cooked chicken bones become dry and brittle which may splinter and get caught in your dog’s throat or intestinal tract. This is extremely painful and potentially life threatening for your dog. Never feed cooked bones to your dog.

Some precautions with raw chicken bones.

· Never feed a dog Cooked Chicken Bones, as they will splinter and cause internal damage.

· Use caution when feeding chicken bones to older dogs, or dogs with weak teeth, as it may damage or crack their teeth.

· Don’t go overboard, dogs shouldn’t receive chicken bones more than twice a week as it may lead to constipation.

· Be aware of the size of your dog and the size of chicken bones. Big dogs will have no problem breaking down bones and digesting them. Smaller dogs that have a narrow throat could create a choking hazard.

dog_raw_chicken

What about Bacteria and Salmonella

Dogs have evolved with a superior digestive system and powerful immune system that helps them break down pathogenic bacteria that would normally upset a human.

However, if your dog has a compromised immune system they may still get sick. In which case if your dog is sick or on medications then do not feed them raw chicken until you discuss it with your vet.

Do not feed your dog expired or rotten chicken, as this will make them sick.

Constipation

A large amount of raw chicken bones can cause constipation. Avoid feeding chicken bones more than twice a week, or feed raw chicken meat without bones.

"But my dog had diarrhea when I fed him raw!"

Don't feed your dog kibble and raw at the same time.

The environment in which your dogs stomach processes kibble vs. raw food is quite different.

A dogs stomach that has been digesting dog kibble for its entire life, and suddenly is introduced to a large amount of high protein raw at the same time can create havoc and usually leads to upset stomachs.

Keep the two meals separate, and then monitor your dog to ensure digestion is normal.

Another common food routine is to feed raw in the mornings, and kibble in the evenings. So your dog is receiving the health benefits of a raw high protein diet, but also getting some extra fiber and minerals from kibble. The extra fiber from kibble also helps with easier digestion and bowel movements in the evening, which is beneficial for senior dogs.

Transitioning from kibble to raw requires supervision and care.

I think the transition process is best explained by Dr.Becker:

When introducing any new food to a pet with a healthy gut, I recommend using the new food as a treat for a day, and keeping an eye on the condition of the stool. Increase the number of new food treats over the next several days and continue to watch the stool.
If the stool remains normal, replace one whole meal of old food with new food. Do this for several more days, and if the stools remain normal, it’s safe to discontinue the old food and feed only the new food.

And most of all, always discuss with your vet first what the ideal diet is for your dog.

​No Rancid Meat

Your dog can still get food poisoning, and even though your dog has a powerful stomach, you absolutely cannot feed them expired food. Check for foul odors or discoloration, if the product is expired for humans then it's expired for dogs too - throw it out.

Commercial Raw Diets

If you want to go to a full raw diet, there are excellent commercially available options. Raw chicken, beef, salmon, or bison is pressed into convenient patties and frozen, along with other essential vegetables and fats. Simply defrost for 12-24 hours and serve.

Contact your local pet store or vet to find out if there are raw diets available for you. Research and ensure their product is government inspected, uses fresh ingredients, contains no byproducts, and if a raw diet is right for your dog.

CC Image courtesy of freefoodphotos.com

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