Can Dogs Eat Chicken? Is Chicken Safe for Dogs?

Dogs are one of our favorite omnivorous companions. They need a balanced diet of protein, vitamins, and micronutrients to live a healthy lifestyle.

Chicken is safe for dogs to eat. It is one of those meats that are the perfect fit for satisfying a dog’s high-protein dietary requirements. Many companies use chicken as one of the main ingredients in their mixes, specifically for this reason.

There are both pros and cons to be aware of when deciding to include chicken products, or just plain chicken, into your dog’s diet.

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Health Benefits

Chicken, since it is meat, is an excellent source of protein. It supplies their bodies with a healthy source of energy on which they can rely.

Chicken also contains omega-6 fatty acids. These encourage healthy skin, helping to produce the necessary oils for it and the coat.

This meat is also a good source of the necessary compounds for bone health, a big deal in some breeds prone to hereditary joint issues. It contains essential amino acids, along with glucosamine.

Some dogs can be finicky eaters. They will resist eating anything that they do not prefer for days at a time. Adding chicken to their daily diet helps encourage them to eat and maintain a healthy diet.

dog eating roasted chicken
Image: Tatjana Baibakova, Shutterstock

Health Hazards

Some dog owners are big raw food enthusiasts. There is nothing wrong with this. However, they do have to practice caution when using chicken as part of a raw food diet.

Although the acid in a pup’s stomach is more potent than that in ours and thus better at defending against bacteria, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t susceptible to salmonella.

If you want to use chicken as part of a raw diet, look for chicken that raw food companies have prepared for uncooked consumption. They will have gone through specialty processes to ensure that it is safe for the dogs to eat.

If you want to prepare the chicken yourself, make sure it is fully cooked, with an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and without any seasonings. Avoid onion and garlic, especially since these are toxic to dogs. Try to also avoid cooking it in any butter or oil. These products don’t often sit well in a dog’s stomach and can eventually cause pancreatitis.

Making it yourself can be a cheaper alternative and just as safe when you take the right steps for a happy, healthy puppy.

roast chicken
Cooked chicken meat is safe for your dog, but not cooked bones! | Image credit: Wow Phochiangrak, Pixabay

What to Be Aware Of

When cooking chicken, it is essential to remove all the bones. Raw chicken with bones left in it is still considered safe. However, cooked bones splinter easily. As your dog eats them, they can crack in their mouth and end up puncturing the stomach or the intestines.

Top allergies that are common in dogs include:

  • Wheat
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Dairy
  • Lamb
  • Rabbit
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Soy

Chicken is the third most prevalent allergies that dogs can have. Pay attention to how your pup handles any change in their diet, any swap, or new addition. If they begin to eat less or exhibit health issues, consult your veterinarian to verify the cause.

On the other hand, a combination of chicken and rice is often an excellent solution to dry dog food for those that suffer from an upset stomach. It is best to use breast meat from the chicken with a little extra fat thrown in and the skin removed.

Should My Dog ONLY Eat Chicken?

Some picky dogs might try and finagle their way into eating a diet made up of entirely chicken. They push their food around in the bowl until the meat is gone, and everything else remains.

However, this is not a healthy solution to a picky eater. It may take work, but there are methods to help guide their eating habits.

The reason that they can’t eat a diet of only chicken is the same reason that we can’t eat only one kind of food as humans. Dogs are omnivores, so they also need specific amounts of micronutrients and vitamins A, B-12, E, and D, as well as antioxidants. They must have these for their internal processes to function correctly. Any deficiencies in these nutrients place your pup at risk for an array of nutrition-related diseases.

bernese mountain dog eating chicken
Image: Eve Photography, Shutterstock

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How Much Chicken Is Safe for My Dog to Eat?

If you decide to add chicken or any other poultry into your dog’s diet, it should only make up 10% of their total calorie consumption for each day. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association, or WSAVA, has put out a chart that gives a guideline for daily calorie consumption based on your pup’s ideal weight.

For example, if the dog should weigh 44 pounds, about the average weight for a medium-sized dog, they will need to take in about 790 calories each day. Chicken should only make up 10% of that total, coming to 79 total calories. In standard measurements, that means it is healthy to give them about 50 grams of chicken, or ⅓ cup.

Remember that this depends on the ideal weight of your dog, not their actual weight. Feeding dogs the appropriate amount of chicken as a supplement can help bring them up to a healthy weight or reduce their size if they are on a diet.


Final Thoughts

Whether you want to train them with poultry treats or are researching the best ways to go about a raw diet, chicken can be a valuable source of protein and is safe for most dogs to eat.


Featured Image: Dvorakova Veronika, Shutterstock