It’s no mystery that the Western diet largely consists of chicken as a primary protein source.
Low in fat, high in protein, easily accessible and quickly prepared, chicken is a great addition to most meals as a part of a well-rounded diet.
Because this lean meat is so integratable, many pet parents look to model their dogs’ diets after their own. In regards to poultry, dog owners wonder if their dogs can eat chicken either as a part of their everyday meals or as an included ingredient in their kibble.
However, like anything food-related, the type of food matters as much as the diet. Let’s explore whether your dog can eat chicken and how it should be prepared for your beloved pet.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Chicken?
The short answer is: Yes, dogs can eat chicken as long as it’s cooked.
Chicken is a very common ingredient in most dog foods — like Public Goods Dog Food (which features chicken and brown rice)— because it is a safe and easily-digestible form of protein. If you’re considering feeding your dog chicken straight from the source, cooked chicken breast is a reliable, healthy option. Chicken breast is 20% fat, 80% protein, which is a balanced ratio for your pet’s diet.
However, even though you might be used to grilling, searing, sauteing or roasting chicken in your own meals, the same preparation does not apply to your pup’s meals.
Preparing chicken for your dog to eat is quite simple. By simple, we mean there is absolutely no reason to feed them gourmet or avant garde chicken. While you might prefer your chicken less bland, properly spiced and with some crispy skin, your dog’s digestive system is too sensitive for this kind of treatment!
The same goes for feeding your dog dark meat. Dark meat, although more flavorful and decadent for people, can be too fatty and rich for dogs’ stomachs. Over time, fatty, rich foods can inflame your dog’s pancreas, leading to pancreatitis.
Opt for boneless, skinless chicken breast and boil the chicken in water (or cook in a pressure cooker) until it’s cooked through and the extra fat has come off. Chicken can be served on its own, mixed into their dog food, or even given as a treat. Just make sure to change the proportions of their food accordingly, so you’re not adding on additional protein and fat to their pre-measured kibble.
Bones are a no-go, as chicken bones can easily splinter and puncture your pup’s intestines or cause them to choke.
If you decide chicken preparation is just too much to bear, look for a kibble that uses real chicken. Don’t settle for chicken byproduct or chicken meal that includes all parts of the animal — organs, nails, bones, skin, and tissues — as a cheap way to increase protein intake.
Now, as great and exciting as this all sounds, dogs can be allergic to chicken, with what is commonly known as a poultry allergy. These allergies are typically caused by an overly reactive auto-immune response to breaking down the amino acids in chicken.
This condition can lead to chronic infections, obsessive licking and biting, upset stomach, skin allergies and vomiting. If you notice any unusual changes in your dog’s stool, skin or behavior after feeding them freshly-cooked chicken or chicken-based kibble, make sure to consult your vet.
What Are the Benefits of Giving Your Dog Chicken
While some dogs may have a reaction to chicken, there are many benefits to having it as a part of your dog’s diet.
As a substantial source of protein, chicken provides essential amino acids that maintain and support healthy muscles for your dog as they age. Chicken is also rich in Omega 6 fatty acids, which not only supply your dog with energy for endless walks and ball chases, but they also help them better absorb vitamins and nutrients, manage inflammation, promote healthy growth and development, and encourage healthy skin and hair.
Don’t forget bone support! The glucosamine found in chicken can help prevent arthritis with stronger, more resilient bones.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?
No. Your dog should definitely not be eating raw chicken.
The raw diet movement has gained a lot of traction amongst human beings, mostly focusing on raw, plant-based, whole foods. However, even with people, raw food – especially raw chicken – comes with consequences. While it is believed that consuming raw food allows the food to maintain its nutrients more so than cooked food, it also leaves lingering bacteria behind. The same goes for dog food.
Feeding your pup raw chicken puts them at risk of contracting salmonella or other bacterial infections, so when in doubt, cook it out!
How Much Chicken Can A Dog Eat Every Day?
Figuring out the right amount of chicken to give your dog all depends on ratios. According to Founders Veterinary Clinic, your dog should have about ¼ to ⅓ cup of meat protein per 20lbs of body weight per day. However, if your canine only eats chicken, it will leave them lacking in essential vitamins, nutrients, carbohydrates, and fiber.
If you’re not in the mood to measure out whole foods from every food group, balanced kibbles that include chicken is an easy solution to ensuring that your pet gets all of the benefits of chicken without any nutrient imbalances.
Vets also recommend chicken for when your dog has diarrhea or an upset stomach in a 2:1 ration. If your furry best friend is having a hard time going to the bathroom, giving them a bland diet of chicken and rice (⅓ cup chicken to ⅔ cup rice if eating one cup a day) until they get back to normal.
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