Even the fussiest eaters among the dogs and pets out there have plenty of praise for dining on some chicken.
It’s not just much-beloved meat in human cuisine, after all, but a common component in lots of specially formulated dog food and other meals.
Yet responsible dog owners know that there are certain rules and best practices to stick by when feeding our pups.
As such, the question is far more than just asking can dogs eat chicken – as we’ll discover below.
Is chicken good for dogs?
Assuming it’s served up the right way, and prepared healthily and cooked thoroughly, then, by all means, you can rest assured that chicken is good for dogs.
Not only is it the kind of meat that dogs would try and find and hunt for themselves if they hadn’t been domesticated by humankind – but it’s also one of the most common ingredients in canine meals as produced by many of the world’s leading brands.
As such, you may instead be curious as to what the health benefits of dogs eating chicken can be.
Fortunately, there are indeed plenty to go around – perhaps the most famous of which being protein.
Not just the domain of we human beings looking to up our fitness and longevity, protein is a growing concern among dog owners too, as those same benefits we enjoy by eating protein are just as capably felt in your pup.
Protein adds to muscle growth and overall health, and you’ll find that your dog gains more satisfaction from his or her meals when a healthy portion of protein has been served up.
Many dog owners who find that their pets try to beg for more food after eating a full meal – and thereby risk weight gain – turn to chicken and other sources of protein to help dogs feel full faster.
Naturally, the perks of protein in puppies and young dogs to promote growth and strength can’t be understated, and likewise, many a conscientious dog owner hands over a dash of extra protein to elderly dogs to help reinforce their older, more worn musculature.
One key aspect of chicken that makes it popular both for dog food manufacturers and dog owners overall is the versatility in how chicken can be served.
Big portions, diced up chunks and everything in between are all fair game, and as long as you keep chicken nice and plain, there’s no reason not to let your dog chow down on this.
However, please do keep in mind that chicken with added breadcrumbs and batter, chicken nuggets, or chicken that’s been slathered in sauce or the like will lose a lot of its health and nutritional value.
Keep it simple when it comes to feeding chicken to your dog – after all, your pet is not going to need much convincing in eating it, as the flavor and scent of cooked chicken are naturally super enticing for them.
Dangers of chicken for dogs
Although chicken is very good for dogs, there are certainly some ideas to keep in mind as to how best to serve chicken to a pet.
For instance, it hopefully stands to reason that dogs can’t eat raw chicken, any more than it’d be recommended for their human masters to eat it.
Raw chicken is rich in nasty bacteria that can make your dog very ill if he or she eats it, and on top of that, the risk of contracting salmonella from raw chicken is well documented.
Make sure your chicken is fully cooked before serving it to your dog, taking the same precautions as you would when serving it to a child or other loved one.
Similarly, chicken bones should not be fed to dogs, so please make sure they are off the menu.
Chicken is best served to your dog off the bones, and you should likewise intervene if you find that your dog has got hold of chicken bones somehow and is trying to gnaw on them.
Chicken bones, much like fish bones, are not for dogs to eat because of how brittle they are – yet how sharp the splinters of a broken such bone can be.
These can cause cuts in the mouth and around your dog’s gums, but also a lot of complications in their stomach and digestive system.
It’s very dangerous indeed to have these kinds of piercing chicken bones inside your dog’s system.
On a less risky but important scale, you should avoid any chicken that’s been coated in breadcrumbs, batter or anything that could be flavored with onion and garlic.
Both garlic and onions are toxic to dogs, and ought to be avoided at all costs – while other coatings for chicken are full of salt, fat and even sugar from time to time – all of which leads to weight gain and unwellness in your dog over the long term.
How much chicken can a dog eat daily?
If dogs could speak, and you asked how much chicken your dog can eat daily, it’s likely he or she would happily suggest they’re able to gobble down as much of it as they like!
But as responsible dog owners, we have to be more aware of the limitations of our pups.
As you probably already know, we are often a bit more aware of how much of anything a dog can eat per day than they are themselves.
But don’t feel too overshadowed by responsibility here – chicken, when it’s cooked right and served up plain, is safe and healthy for your dog.
However, even the largest of dogs wouldn’t need more than about the equivalent of an average-sized chicken breast – and certainly, half that for smaller dogs breed, and half it again for puppies.
A little goes a long way with even the biggest and most robust of dogs, and they’re able to take on a lot of the nutrition in chicken and other meals quite easily, from what seems to us like perhaps a small portion.
It’s actually far easier than we often realize to feed our dogs too much, and this is very much the case even with healthy foods.
Even the most nutritious of canine meals can come with enough calories to bring the risk of weight gain to your dog in the long run, so keep all good things in moderation.
There are no hard and fast rules here though, and every dog is an individual. Don’t be afraid to experiment with portion sizes and the frequency of how often to feed your dog chicken.
What to do if your dog eats chicken
Dogs adore chicken, and it’s certainly very good for them. Because of this, even if your dog manages to sneak some chicken behind your back – or swindle someone dining in your home to offer some to him or her from their plate – you have nothing to fear.
However, if you do happen to be worried that your dog has eaten chicken that could be bad for them, first identify just how severe the problem is.
If your dog has eaten raw chicken – or indeed, if your dog has eaten chicken bones – consider consulting your vet immediately.
Also be ready for your dog to be rather ill, as in both cases the nasty raw chicken meat and the sharp, problematic chicken bones are likely to cause your dog’s body to want to purge itself of the issue as soon as possible.
In other words, expect that your dog may well throw up, and could continue doing so a little even after all the offending chicken has been expelled.
If your dog is just sneaking cooked chicken though, perhaps from the garbage or from a spilled plate that fell on the floor, this is more of a behavior issue than a health risk.
Make sure your dog understands that stealing food is not to be done – after all, the next food that your dog tries to swipe might be far less safe for him or her to eat.
Not only is chicken safe and healthy for dogs to eat – it’s also likely to be something that your pet is already eating quite contentedly.
After all, countless leading pet food brands include chicken as a primary ingredient in the specially blended and formulated dinners they make for our pets.
The high protein content in chicken, and its overall contributions to health and vitality, makes it a popular choice.
Nevertheless, don’t be tempted to overindulge in feeding your dog chicken, no matter how healthy it is. All foods can lead to canine weight gain if enjoyed a little too much.
And of course, certainly make sure that you avoid raw chicken and chicken bones for your dog, as they pose far too many health risks to be healthy.
Processed chicken, like chicken nuggets, is also best avoided – your dog needs the real deal to be his or her best and brightest.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.