Chicken meat is a great source of protein for your pooch and is commonly used as the main ingredient in many commercial dog foods. But, while cooked chicken is perfectly safe for you and your dog to eat, you might be apprehensive about feeding your pup raw meat.
So, can dogs eat raw chicken? It depends. Raw chicken is a great source of protein, but there is a risk of salmonella and E. coli contamination. However, dogs have stronger stomachs and can deal with bacteria found in raw meat better than humans. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to feed raw chicken to your dog or not.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about feeding your dog raw chicken. Keep on reading to find out more!
Is Raw Chicken Good for Dogs?
Raw chicken is an amazing source of protein that builds lean and strong muscles and also serves as an energy source.
While dogs can eat and digest raw chicken meat without any problem, the biggest issue here is the bacteria living on the chicken. Eating raw chicken meat puts you and your dog at risk of contracting Salmonella, E. Coli, and Campylobacter.
Still, the bacteria found on the raw chicken is usually much more dangerous for dog owners than their four-legged best friends.
Since dogs have shorter digestive tracts and more acidic stomachs than people, the bacteria from the raw chicken don’t have the time to cause any serious damage. Simply put, most dogs can eat and digest raw chicken without experiencing any negative symptoms.
Eating a bite or two of raw chicken once in a while won’t have ill effects on your dog and can spice up their regular diet.
As always, consult your vet or canine nutritionist if you plan on making changes to your dog’s diet, including feeding raw chicken meat.
Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Raw Chicken
Besides being able to eat chicken without experiencing any issues, most dogs can also experience certain benefits from eating raw meat. If you want to feed your dog raw chicken make sure that the chicken is organic and properly stored in a refrigerator.
The biggest benefits of adding raw chicken in your dog’s diet are:
1. Chicken Is an Excellent Protein Source
Like all other meats, raw chicken is a great source of protein that helps build lean and strong muscles and keeps our dog energized throughout the day. With around 27 g of protein per 100 g of meat, chicken is lean meat with high nutritional value.
Keeping in mind that dogs need protein to thrive and stay healthy, it’s no wonder that many pet owners that are feeding raw diets use chicken meat as the main source of protein.
2. Chicken Lowers Your Dog’s Risk of Obesity
Chicken has a high protein content, but it is completely carb-free. Furthermore, certain parts of whole chicken, like chicken breasts, are low in fat and great for weight loss and weight management.
Eating chicken meat as a part of a regular diet won’t cause your dog to gain weight or become obese. In fact, eating chicken can help increase your dog’s muscle mass and help them lose weight by burning more calories and fat.
3. Raw Chicken Doesn’t Contain Preservatives
Most owners transition their dogs to raw dog food to eliminate preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors found in processed dog food. Many of these additives don’t provide any nutritional value to dogs and can cause many serious health problems.
Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives found in some dog foods are suspected of causing serious health issues such as cancer, skin allergies, and respiratory problems (source).
Side Effect of Raw Chicken for Dogs
While eating raw chicken can be beneficial to your dog’s health and overall well-being, eating uncooked meat can also be risky. As mentioned above, dogs can eat and digest raw chicken meat without problems, but they can become ill due to bacteria that live on the meat.
Here are the biggest risks of feeding raw chicken to your dog:
Raw chicken is often contaminated with Salmonella bacteria which usually causes digestive problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and stomach cramps in dogs (source). However, if the bacteria enter the bloodstream it can cause blood poisoning which is a potentially life-threatening condition for some dogs.
Healthy adult dogs with strong immune systems are usually strong enough to fight off bacterial infection. However, puppies, seniors, and immunocompromised dogs are at higher risk of a serious infection and can even develop a chronic form of this disease.
2. Escherichia Coli
Commonly known as E. coli, the Escherichia Coli is a group of bacteria that comes in several different forms and strains, some of which are naturally present in the intestinal tract.
However, when infected with disease-causing forms of E. coli found in raw chicken most dogs will exhibit symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, rapid heart rate, and weakness. This type of E. coli infection usually affects puppies, but it is sometimes also seen in adult dogs.
How Much Raw Chicken Can I Give My Dog?
By now, you should understand the risks and benefits of feeding raw chicken to your dog. Consult your vet or a certified canine nutritionist before you decide to make any significant changes to your dog’s diet.
Your vet will also tell you how much raw chicken you can give to your dog based on their size, age, dietary needs, activity level, and overall health.
How to Feed Raw Chicken to your Dog?
If you decide to feed raw chicken to your dog, make sure you’re doing it safely. First of all, only feed raw chicken that is properly stored in a refrigerator and never left out at room temperature.
To minimize the risk of bacterial infections, rinse the chicken meat before feeding it to your dog. Also, only feed plain, unseasoned meat and if possible always buy organic chicken.
Popular ways to serve raw chicken to dogs are:
- Cut in bite-size pieces as a treat
- Minced and mixed with your dog’s food
- Mixed with healthy grains and veggies as a complete meal
Thanks to their hardy stomachs and shorter digestive tracts, most dogs can eat raw chicken without experiencing any side effects. However, eating raw meat puts your dog at risk of catching Salmonella or E. coli.
While most healthy adult pups don’t get seriously ill, puppies, seniors, and immunocompromised dogs can become seriously ill, and sometimes develop life-threatening blood poisoning.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide if you want to feed raw chicken to your dog. And if you choose to go for it, talk with your vet first to see what is the best and the safest way to do it.