Can dogs eat raw chicken? We all know that they CAN, so the real question is about feeding our dogs natural ingredients in a safe way. Is raw chicken GOOD for dogs? Before we answer your question, here’s something to consider. You know that vegetables are good for you, right?
And you know that potatoes are vegetables. Unfortunately, you also know that eating French fries every day is bad for you. So it is with raw chicken and your dog. The answer to your question is “Yes, but …” In other words, raw chicken can be a delicious and nutritious part of your pooch’s diet but only when you prepare it right.
As the Wicked Witch of the West said in The Wizard of Oz, “These things must be done delicately.” Not only will we explain how to feed your dog raw chicken, but we’ve even got three recipes to try.
Canine Nutritional Needs & What a Balanced Diet Means
What is a natural diet? Although the ancestors of dogs were carnivores, their diet consisted of much more than muscle meat. They ate whole animals including bones, digestive system contents, other organs, and fur and feathers, too. They ate eggs with shells and decayed bodies. As pups, they ate the stomach contents vomited by their mothers.
Not only that, we’ve all seen our dogs eat grass and poop. The natural canine diet contains a rich variety of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, fiber, antioxidants, and even necessary intestinal microorganisms essential for health. Today’s dogs make dietary choices based on the choices of survivors over thousands of years.
Nowadays you’re not easily able to provide the same kinds of foods for the pooch in your life. A well-balanced diet not only has to be balanced in the right proportion of ingredients, but it also has to be free of medication residue, lawn pesticides, and other toxic chemicals. To prolong your dog’s lifespan, you may also need to consider the special requirements of elderly dogs, puppies, dogs with medical conditions, pregnant and nursing females, or the unique issues of certain breeds.
So is raw chicken good for dogs? The answer is yes but in balance with other foods. Another thing: while organically raised chickens from humane environments are more nutritious than chickens raised on crowded factory farms, they are less likely to carry salmonella and antibiotic-resistant strains of other harmful bacteria. Small organic farms are also much less damaging to the environment, especially to our waterways.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?
Not only can dogs eat raw meat, but they’ve been eating raw meat for thousands of years. As we’ve pointed out, though, “meat” refers to all animal body parts. Raw. What’s more, wild canines never had just one prey animal to feed upon. The environment is filled with birds, many different kinds of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects.
Some pet nutritionists describe the ideal pet diet as consisting of a combination of parts from different animals. Canine digestive systems have evolved to process such a diet. It’s important to avoid feeding too much fatty meat because most of today’s dogs are not as active as their predator ancestors who had to devote most of their waking hours to going after food.
Is Raw Food Safe For Your Pooch?
Living isn’t safe. Every decision we make carries risks, but we decide based on the best information available to us at the time. We also assess our ability to follow through effectively. In the case of choosing how to feed our dogs, if we want the benefits of a raw diet and are aware of the ways to provide it properly, then the chances are good that our pets will blossom with increased energy, a shiny coat, a healthy weight, and a happier spirit.
Offal Isn’t Awful!
“Offal” is another word for “innards.” It refers to internal organs and glands including the heart, liver, kidneys, stomach and tripe, brain, lungs, testicles, and more. Offal provides a concentrated source of high-quality protein as well as B vitamins, iron, manganese, selenium, phosphorous, zinc, and fatty acids.
Offal should be purchased from a clean source rather than used from wild game due to the risk of transmitting parasites. Freezing it below 20F will kill most worms and eggs. Feed it in small quantities (5%-10% of the diet) to prevent diarrhea.
How Does A Raw Diet Support the Immune System?
A BARF diet — Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food — is formulated to supply nutritional needs with fresh, unprocessed ingredients in their most natural form. When the necessary nutrients are readily digestible, they’re easily absorbed by the body and utilized by the cells and tissues.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower once commented that “wars have been won or lost primarily because of logistics.” Think of logistics as the supply chain or as the bioavailability of nutrients. In other words, the immune system can’t fight invaders unless its “troops” have the supplies they need.
Why Is Raw Chicken Beneficial For Dogs?
According to the American Kennel Club, “the movement toward raw food, including raw chicken and raw chicken bones, is growing.” Chicken is universally available, comparatively inexpensive, and acceptable to the canine digestive system.
The Myth of Salmonella
Salmonella is a very real health risk for humans, but this is one of the ways that our dog buddies are different from us. Many common animals are resistant to the effects of Salmonella infection even though they can be carriers of the bacteria. Humans are not resistant. One of the most common sources of salmonellosis is contamination of dry kibble. The bacteria are everywhere, but they thrive in warm, moist canine intestines filled with slowly digesting starches. Things humans can do to prevent salmonellosis:
- Feed fresh, clean natural food when possible.
- Don’t taste your dog’s kibble.
- Wash hands after playing with any kind of mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian.
- Wear gloves and wash your hands with soap and water after handling poop, kibble, and any kind of raw animal product.
- Wash utensils with soap and water after preparing food made with raw animal products.
- Safely discard any foul-smelling raw meat and wash hands with soap water.
- Keep your hands out of your mouth. Wash your hands a lot.
Dog Food To Avoid
According to veterinary surgeon Dr. Ian Billinghurst, “It is important to realize that processed foods are biologically inappropriate.” You yourself know that even the most basically nutritious ingredients can be made into something toxic through processing. Even simple cooking, while killing bacteria, denatures some proteins and destroys certain vitamins.
Dr. Billinghurst is an active educator about Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) for pets as well as humans to ensure a variety of fresh foods with their nutritional content intact.
Although the final product is beautifully packaged and legally “complete” according to current regulations, those regulations are neither comprehensive nor economically enforceable. The final product is not biologically complete. The sad fact is that many of our canine companions are obese while being malnourished at the same time. It’s no wonder that they are so often unsatisfied after eating and demonstrate ongoing hunger.
How Is Raw Dog Food Made?
Without endorsing any particular company, Tips for Happy Tails found a video that demonstrates the procedure of making nutritionally balanced raw dog food. You see that the food is clean, the preparer is wearing gloves to prevent contamination, and the finished bags are stored safely to ensure freshness.
Chicken Bones: Raw Chicken Bones vs. Cooked Chicken Bones
Make no bones about it. Giving bones to pets is a hot topic. Can dogs eat raw chicken bones? The diet of the dog’s original wolf ancestor certainly contained bones from many different prey animals. But how is the modern dog different from the wolf ancestor and how are the available bones different from those of the ancient prey animals? Read our post on Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Bones? Why They Should!
The wolf ancestors spent their lives catching a variety of prey, so their teeth and jaws were accustomed to chewing. Modern dogs are accustomed to a much softer diet, but we can still improve what we’ve been giving them so their nutritional needs and chewing needs are satisfied.
Humans have food processors and meat grinders! We can combine a variety of fresh, raw ingredients and partially “pre-chew” them so our dogs can become accustomed to eating a more natural diet.
The real danger of bones is giving cooked bones to your dog. Don’t. The heat melts the fat and leaves hardened minerals that can splinter and cause damage to tender tissues. The warnings about cooked bones also apply to bones from the pet store. You can give your buddy bone broth as well as dried powdered bone for flavor enhancers and nutritional supplements.
AKC Standards Regarding A Raw Diet
According to the American Kennel Club, AKC: raw bones provide minerals and other nutrients, satisfy your dog’s natural chewing instinct, and promote oral health by preventing plaque and gum disease. You can offer raw necks, wings, and thighs from poultry and necks, ribs, and tails from larger animals. Small whole animals such as rabbits and fish are also extremely nutrient-dense.
Here are a few AKC recommendations:
- Never give cooked bones.
- Supervise your dog and remove any chunks or small pieces.
- Don’t give bones to pets with stomach conditions.
- Don’t ever offer a bone when another dog is around.
- Limit chewing sessions to 10-15 minutes.
- Give big dogs big bones.
Transitioning from Processed Food to Raw Food
If you’ve spent years eating carry-out food and frozen meals, then you understand what it means to switch over to fresh homemade foods. You definitely feel better, but learning a new lifestyle takes time. So it is with switching over your dog’s diet. Changes should be made slowly in small steps while staying observant of your dog’s physical responses.
In addition, you want to ensure that you’re providing the right balance of ingredients. Without being able to go hunting or shopping, your companion is entirely dependent upon you to supply everything.
The Medicinal Power of Non-Chemical Water
Did you know that your beloved hound is 80% water? And that you are, too? It’s easy to see why water is the most essential nutrient. You can provide your dog with the most perfectly balanced diet money can buy, but he won’t be able to digest it without clean water. Clean water helps flush out toxins as well. Bottled spring water vs. tap water is one of the best options for your canine friend. Just think about the water you drink . . . why would you give your dog anything different?
To give your dog nine lives, keep the bowl clean and change the water often. The best type of water for your dog is clean spring water from a trusted source or filtered water. While tap water may be reliably treated in some jurisdictions, it is highly contaminated in others.
Resisting Puppy Eyes & Training Your Dog to Follow Directions
Your furkids are going to love trying out this delicious and satisfying diet, so part of your job is to resist those alluring puppy eyes and teach your buddy that you are the Top Dog. They must learn to obey you because in a healthy pack you are the alpha leader.
For example, if you both are out together and you come across a dead animal that might have been poisoned, your dog mustn’t be allowed to assume that it’s a snack from you.
Raw Chicken Recipes for Dogs
Raw Chicken With Necks Adult Dog Food Recipe
Your dog will be able to smell and taste the mixture of wonderfully nutritious foods in this recipe which meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ standards of nutrition for adult dogs.
3 lbs. 92% lean ground chicken (pasture-raised is the most nutritionally balanced)
3 lbs. skinless turkey or chicken necks (approximately five turkey necks/33 chicken necks)
2 lbs. turkey livers (not chicken livers)
1 lb. chicken hearts
10 pasture-raised eggs with shells removed
8 oz. broccoli
1.5 lbs. kale
12 oz. blueberries or mixed berries such as cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, with blueberries
- Grind the liver, heart, and necks. If you can’t grind the necks, set them aside.
- Puree the broccoli, kale, and berries.
- Combine ground chicken, livers, hearts, and veggie/berry mix, including the ground necks.
- Mix thoroughly after adding the eggs.
- Freeze the mixture into small containers along with the poultry necks if left whole.
- If the necks have not been ground, feed them alone for one meal, then feed the mixture for the next meal.
Notes from the website:
“If you use poultry that isn’t raised on pasture, this recipe will have an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 6:1. This is a bit rich in Linoleic Acid, a fatty acid that can cause chronic inflammation if not properly balanced with anti-inflammatory fatty acids including GLA and EPA. We recommend feeding Safe-Sea daily to help balance your dog’s fatty acids. This will bring the omega-6/omega-3 ratio down to 4:1. But don’t add any oil to the recipe directly. To reduce oxidation, you don’t want to expose the oil to oxygen for too long. Instead, give it daily with your dog’s meal.”
How Much To Feed:
In general, dogs should eat about 2-3% of their body weight daily in raw food. Approximate feeding guide for this particular recipe:
10-lb. dog: 22 days
25-lb. dog: 11 days
50-lb. dog: 6-7 days
75-lb. dog: 4-5 days
100-lb. dog: 3-4 days
Healthy Raw Dog Food Recipe for All Ages and Breeds
Healthy Raw Dog Food Recipe for All Ages and Breeds
Just like humans, dogs love and thrive on variety in their diet. This is a basic recipe meant as a dietary supplement whose ingredients can be varied depending on your dog’s age, weight, health conditions, and other factors. You may want to add certain nutritional supplements.
2.5 cups boneless chicken breast (Can dogs eat raw chicken breast? Yes, yes, yes!)
1 cup chicken livers
1/2 cup ground chicken bone
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped green beans
1 egg including shell
- Combine! That’s it!
- May be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or kept frozen up to three months.
- Steaming the vegetables is an option to make them easier to chew for dogs with oral health issues. Light steaming can make the food more tempting to dogs with selective preferences.
Author: Samantha Randall2
Raw Dog Food Patties Recipe #2
2 ½ lbs. ground beef
4 oz. chicken livers
1 small apple, cored
1 carrot, chopped
2 eggs with shells
½ cup baby spinach
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. ground flax seed
½ cup plain yogurt
- Blend spinach, apple, and carrot in food processor until finely chopped.
- Add all other ingredients except for the ground beef and process until well-blended.
- Combine mixture in large bowl with ground beef using hands or spatula.
- Form palm-sized patties. Place on parchment paper on baking sheet.
- Freeze until solid, then transfer into storage container.
- Before using, thaw in refrigerator the night before.
Not only are meaty bones an excellent source of protein, but also organic human-grade raw muscle meat, fish, and organ meats. Options include turkey, duck, chicken, and game bird necks, wings, thighs, and feet. Beef, bison, pork, lamb, rabbit, and venison are also good choices.
Organ meats are rich in nutrients. Whole fish is very beneficial but due to the possibility of parasites, wild-caught fish, as well as raw salmon, should be frozen first. Freeze trout and raw salmon for only 24 hours, but freeze other fish for three weeks.
Canine systems can better digest raw veggies when they’re pureed or finely ground; lightly steaming them provides the optimum nutritive value. Too many onions can be gas-producing and cause uncomfortable gas, but safe choices include cauliflower, carrots, green beans, okra, parsley, clergy, Romaine lettuce, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, and small amounts of peas.
Prepare fruits the same as veggies to make the nutrients most digestible. Popular options include blueberries, strawberries, pears, apples, bananas, and melons.
Additional healthful ingredients for one or twice weekly include plain yogurt and cottage cheese, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and unsalted kelp. Keep in mind raw eggs are beneficial but the shells are safest when ground to a powder.
FAQ — Frequently Asked Questions: Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?
Can dogs eat raw chicken thigh bones?
They really can! Chicken thighs must be RAW so they’re soft and flexible. Cooked bones easily splinter. Remember to be present to supervise while your dog is chewing.
Can dogs eat raw chicken wings?
Clean raw whole wings from minimally processed chickens are good for canines. Because they’re chewy and flexible, they function like toothbrushes.
What about raw chicken fat for dogs?
It depends on the source of the chicken. Fat from a clean chicken raised in a natural environment and packaged with minimal processing is less likely to contain concentrations of toxic chemicals. Be sure you’re aware of the total fat percentage in your dog’s meal so you don’t give too much.
So . . . . can dogs eat raw chicken? Now you know that the answer is not only a resounding YES but that raw foods are very good for your dog. You also understand what it means to serve it safely because the foods don’t contain any preservatives. Your dog already loves you, but now your dog is REALLY going to love you for putting so much attention into providing the best opportunities for a long and healthy life!
Information about FDA pet food regulations:
Information about the Association of American Feed Control Officials:
Supporting your dog’s immune system: