Can Dogs Eat Chicken: Chicken’s Nutritional Value as a Dog Food

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Yes, dogs can eat chicken as long as it’s cooked properly. Chicken meat is rich in protein and amino acids, making it a great source of energy for dogs. It’s also packed with essential vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy and strong.

But as with all treats and dog food, cooked chicken should be given to your pet in moderation.

Two hungry dog waiting for the chicken treats
Two gorgeous dogs waiting for the chicken treats in the lunch box – Image source

It’s also recommended to opt for a boneless chicken to avoid choking and make sure that it doesn’t have any seasonings and artificial flavors that are harmful to your pet.

This article discusses how chicken is beneficial for your dog’s overall health, how to serve it to your pup, how much chicken is OK to feed your dog, and what are the health risks if he eats too much chicken.

What Benefits Does Chicken Have for Dogs?

Chicken is one of the most common ingredients found in commercial dog foods due to its high protein content and reasonable price. Meat from chicken also offers a lot of benefits for your dog’s health and here are some of them.

1. Chicken is a great choice for a picky dog: Chicken is not only an excellent source of protein, but it can also be a great option to entice a picky dog that is recovering from an illness since the aroma and flavor of chicken are often appealing to dogs.

2. Chicken is an excellent protein source for dogs: 100grams of chicken contains about 27 g of protein. Dogs need protein as the main energy source and feeding your pet chicken will give him much-needed energy.

Lean boiled chicken is also easily digestible so it’s good for dogs with upset stomachs.

3. Essential fatty acids in chicken keep your dog’s skin healthy: Chicken is a great natural source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

These essential fatty acids help keep your dog’s skin healthy and their coat shiny as well as boost your pet’s immune system.

4. Chicken is a healthy homemade dog treat: Chicken makes a surprisingly tasty treat that can readily be given out to your pup during training. Most dogs love the taste and small pieces of chicken are easily transported. 

5. Chicken can help your dog recover from illness: Chicken also helps to make the administration of medicine easier as pills can be hidden in a block of chicken.

Chicken can also be used to make prescription diets more interesting and flavorful. Dogs recovering from illness or an upset stomach are often recommended a plain boiled chicken and rice diet by vets.

What nutrients in chicken are beneficial for dogs

Chopped boiled chicken in a bamboo plate
Finely chopped boiled chicken in a bamboo plate

Chicken is a great source of vitamins and minerals for dogs. Here are some of the nutrients that your dog can get from eating chicken.

  1. Vitamin A: Containing around 161 IU of Vitamin A per 100grams, chicken helps to support your dog’s vision, skin, and coat, the development of muscles, and healthy brain function.
  2. Riboflavin: 100grams of chicken contains 0.3 mg of riboflavin. Also known as Vitamin B2, it is responsible for the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates into energy and is involved in the production of red blood cells.
  3. Niacin: There is about 11.4 mg of niacin in 85grams of chicken. Also known as Vitamin B3, it’s important for the healthy maintenance of a dog’s nervous tissues, skin functions, and gastrointestinal tracts.
  4. Folic acid: Three ounces of chicken breast contains 3 mcg of folate. This vitamin is necessary for normal metabolic functions such as red blood cell production and DNA synthesis.
  5. Iron: 100grams of chicken contains 1.3mg of iron, which is crucial for the production of red blood cells and energy metabolism.
  6. Phosphorous: Chicken contains 300 mg of phosphorus per cup which is critical for the strong bones, joints, and mobility of your dog.

What are the nutritional facts about chicken for dogs?

Chicken is the main protein in many dog foods as it’s safe for dogs to consume and is highly digestible. Cooked chicken is also a healthy addition to your dog’s diet.

A piece of chicken breast is comprised of 80% protein and 20% fat. This is the perfect ratio of protein to fat for your dog’s diet.

What are the Risks of Feeding Your Dog Chicken?

An Eskimo dog sneaking the roasted chicken
An Eskimo dog can’t wait for the roasted chicken – Image source

Despite the benefits of chicken to dogs, it also carries certain health risks. Here are some risks that chicken poses to dogs if not served correctly.

  • Weight gain: Too much chicken may cause your dog to gain some extra pounds since it’s high in fat. Too much fat in your dog’s diet could lead to serious health conditions such as obesity and pancreatitis. 
  • Difficulty with digestion: Chicken is a very common allergy in dogs and some dogs may struggle to digest it. This could result in constipation, abdominal pain, and lethargy. 
  • Poisoning: Dogs can get food poisoning from eating raw chicken. Salmonella and Campylobacter are the most common types of bacteria found in raw chicken that can lead to food poisoning and make your pet get sick. 

What’s in chicken that can harm dogs?

If you’re thinking of feeding your dog chicken due to its health benefits, you also need to be aware of its substances that are unhealthy for your dog.

  • Cholesterol: 100 grams of chicken contains 88 mg of cholesterol. That said, cholesterol doesn’t have the same effect on canines as it does on humans. While the excess chicken in your dog’s diet may lead to weight gain, it isn’t likely to cause the same heart disease and cholesterol problems as it would for humans.
  • Sodium: This mineral helps to regulate blood pressure and fluid levels in your dog’s body, However, it can also cause dehydration and other health problems if consumed in large quantities. In severe cases, too much salt could lead to kidney failure and seizures in dogs.

Is there a salmonella risk in raw chicken for dogs?

Yes, despite the growing raw food movement, many vets recommend against giving raw chicken to your dog due to the risk of salmonella or bacterial infections.

Typically raw food companies that sell chicken products will have undergone specific steps to ensure no bacteria contamination. 

However, if you’re preparing chicken for your dog at home, then cooking it will get rid of any potential bacteria that could have life-threatening consequences for your pup.

Are There Some Dog Breeds Allergic to Chicken?

Allergies in dogs are relatively common and can be triggered by a number of different allergens, including chicken. While there’s no specific breed that is allergic to chicken, some dogs can be allergic to it.

While allergies can cause a range of symptoms, the most common include itchiness, inflammation, and skin irritation.

If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms, it’s necessary to consult with a veterinarian to determine the main cause.

What Happens If Dogs Eat Too Much Chicken?

Feeding your dog too much chicken can be bad for his health. Your pet will be prone to gaining extra weight, which could lead to the immune system and heart complications. 

According to Founders Veterinary Clinic, your dog should only consume about ¼ to ⅓ cup of meat protein, such as chicken, for every 20 pounds of body weight per day.

If your pet has eaten up more chicken than he should have, monitor him closely for any symptoms of digestive problems and contact your veterinarian if needed. 

How Should Chicken Be Served to Dogs?

Kibble food mixed with veggies, milk and chicken
A kibble dog food mixed with boiled chicken, carrots, goat milk powder, and asparagus yogurt – Image source

Chicken should be served to your dog cooked, unseasoned and plain. Boiled chicken without added seasonings, salt, or sauces is the best option if you’re looking for healthy food to feed your pet.

Chicken is filled with protein, vitamins, and minerals that the dogs need to keep them healthy. 

Opt for a boneless chicken to avoid choking or intestinal blockage in dogs. Cooked chicken bones pose a choking hazard, can puncture a dog’s stomach, and may block its intestines.

Some dogs may be also more sensitive to fat in their diet, so it’s recommended to choose skinless chicken breast.

You can serve chicken to your dog on its own, mix it with other vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, and carrots, and add it to their dog food as a meal topper.

Can You Give Your Dog Chicken as a Treat?

Yes, chicken makes a great dog treat for training your pup. You can try preparing cooked chicken breast fillets by cutting the chicken into thin slices or small bit sizes.

Chicken fillets are one of the most popular treats for dogs and some pet owners used them as a replacement for regular dog biscuits.

Chopped boiled chicken breast for salad
Chopped boiled chicken breast for salad on a wooden board

Does Raw Chicken Make My Dog Aggressive?

There is a myth that eating a raw diet will make your dog an aggressive beast with bloodlust but this is not true. A raw meat diet won’t inherently make your dog aggressive.

Some dogs do have a tendency to become defensive and territorial around their food but this could happen with a raw diet and kibble. That is why proper behavior training is so important.

When should dogs eat chicken?

No specific time of the day is considered the best for your dog to consume chicken.

If you want to try feeding your pooch chicken for the first time, why not turn it into a special occasion and give him chicken on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or 6 July which is National Fried Chicken Day.

Just be sure to keep your dog’s chicken plain, and not deep-fried.

When should dogs not eat chicken?

If your dog is prone to weight gain or obesity then it will be best to avoid feeding dark chicken meat from your canine’s diet due to the high-fat content.

While dogs need protein for their nutritional health, some dogs can’t consume a lot of it due to health reasons such as kidney disease, liver disease, and some kinds of bladder stones.

Dogs with these health issues probably shouldn’t consume a lot of extra chicken.

Also, as mentioned, some dogs can develop an allergy to chicken. Stop feeding your pet chicken immediately as soon as you see him with skin itching, either localized (in one area) or generalized (all over the body).

What are the Food Recipes Made with Chicken for Dogs?

If your vet allows your dog to eat chicken, consider mixing it with other canine-friendly foods. One simple meal option is “boiled chicken with rice”.

This recipe provides plenty of protein, and the rice can help to settle an upset stomach. 

Another option is chicken with vegetables. This homemade meal can be tailored to your dog’s individual dietary needs, and it’s a good way to sneak some extra vitamins and minerals into their diet. 

Finally, chicken can also be used to make healthy dog treats. Homemade chicken jerky or biscuits are a great way to show your furry friend some extra love.

Whatever recipe you choose, your dog is sure to enjoy a delicious meal made with chicken.

Which Part of Chicken and What Chicken Products are Good For Dogs?

A dog waiting for the juicy chicken
A dog waiting for the juicy roasted chicken – Image source

Still unsure about adding chicken to your dog’s diet? Let’s take a look at the different parts of the chicken and chicken products to find out which one would be suitable for your pet. 

1. Raw Chicken

As we have discussed, raw chicken can be unsafe for your pet to consume due to the risk of bacteria and can cause serious salmonella poisoning. 

If you want to try introducing your dog to a raw food diet rather do so through a reputable dog food company where the chicken has been handled with care. You can also dry dehydrate raw chicken as a tasty treat for your pet.

2. Chicken Bones

As mentioned, it is not recommended for your dog to eat chicken bones when cooked as they can cause severe internal damage to them and when raw they could lead to salmonella infection.

Cooked chicken bones can easily break and splinter, which can cause your pet to choke.

3. Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets should be avoided. This type of chicken is loaded with preservatives that are dangerous for your dog.

Also, chicken nuggets are generally quite high in salt. Too much salt in your dog’s diet could lead to sodium ion poisoning which could have devastating consequences.

4. Chicken Feet

While chicken feet are high in glucosamine and chondroitin which are good for your dog’s joint health, the risk of feeding them to your pet outweighs its benefits.

Chicken feet are not recommended for your dog when cooked as they can break and splinter, which can puncture their gastrointestinal tract, and when raw they could lead to bacterial infection.

5. Chicken Broth

Can dogs eat chicken broth? Yes, chicken broth can be good food for your sick dog or pet with picky eating habits.

Just make sure that it doesn’t contain chemical additives or extra ingredients like garlic, onions, and salt which are unhealthy for your dog’s health.

6. Chicken Liver

Most chickens come with chicken giblets, which include the liver, kidneys, heart, gizzard, and neck. Most of these giblets are safe for your dog, and livers in particular are a good source of vitamins and minerals.

7. Fried Chicken

Although fried chicken is normally made from chicken breast, the batter adds quite a bit of salt and fat to the meat which is not good for your dog, and in general lean, freshly cooked chicken is a much better source of protein.

If you want to give your dog a taste of your fried chicken be sure to remove the batter before giving him the meat.

8. Canned Chicken

Canned chicken, or most tinned food, is generally not safe for your dog to consume.

It’s generally loaded with preservatives and can have a very high sugar and salt content which can cause some health problems for your pet including digestive issues, tooth decay, weight gain, and diabetes.

9. Chicken Skin

Before feeding chicken to your dog, be sure to remove the skin. The skin is normally quite fatty and also is typically loaded with seasoning to make it tasty for humans.

Most chicken skin contains seasoning, salt, and flavorings like onion, garlic, and chives which can be toxic for your dog.

10. Cooked Chicken

Bowl of shredded chicken breast
A shredded chicken breast in a bowl

Cooking chicken is necessary before feeding to your pup as raw chicken is very dangerous for both humans and dogs to consume.

That said, avoid adding extra butter, salt and seasonings to your chicken before feeding it to your dog.

11. Chicken Gizzards

Chicken gizzards are muscles of the digestive tract of a chicken. These are a rich source of cartilage and calcium for dogs and can be fed to your pet.

That said, chicken gizzards are quite high in cholesterol so they shouldn’t make up a large part of your dog’s diet.

12. Chicken Breast

If you want to feed your dog chicken then the plain cooked chicken breast is some of the safest types of chicken meat to feed your dog. Plus, be cautious of how much you feed your dog in addition to their regular food.

13. Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are composed mainly of dark meat. While very nutritious, this dark meat is quite fatty and rich.

As a result, some dogs struggle to digest this type of meat. Also, fatty foods can inflame your dog’s pancreas, leading to a serious condition known as pancreatitis.

14. Chicken Wings

The little bit of meat on a chicken wing is typically very fatty and so you should avoid giving your dog this part of the chicken.

Also, as discussed, never give your dog chicken bones to gnaw on as this could lead to choking or internal blockages.

15. Chicken Hearts

Dogs can eat chicken hearts. Chicken and beef hearts will help build your dog’s immune system, strengthen their bones and joints, and keep their skin and coat looking and feeling good.

This is because they are an excellent source of fatty acids, B vitamins, phosphorus, and iron. 

Which is Better for Dogs, Cooked or Raw Chicken?

As we have discussed, raw chicken can be unsafe for your pet to consume, although cooking chicken does destroy some of the nutrients that raw meat contains. 

Even if you give your dog a raw meat diet, it’s advisable to cook any additional chicken breast or giblets before feeding them to your furry friend.

Chicken can be boiled for five to ten minutes or fried on the stovetop until cooked through. 

What Foods Can be Added with Chicken for Dogs?

Chicken breasts with broccoli
Roasted chicken breasts with boiled broccoli

When serving chicken to your dog, keep it plain as much as possible. Some pet owners add veggies to their boiled chicken to make it enticing for dogs to eat. Here’s a list of foods you can and can’t mix with your pet’s chicken: 

1. Chicken and Rice

Dogs can consume both white and brown rice. White rice is high in carbs and great for settling your dog’s upset stomach.

However, the carbs are very fast burning which means they can raise blood sugar levels. White rice is thus not recommended for overweight dogs or diabetic dogs as they cannot tolerate high carbohydrates. 

Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice and higher in fiber, however, it doesn’t have the same effect on settling gastrointestinal issues as white rice does.

As brown rice digests slower than white rice it can sustain your dog’s energy levels for longer but some dogs may struggle to digest it due to the increased fiber content. 

2. Chicken Dumplings

It is not safe to feed your dog chicken dumplings. This is because most dumplings contain ingredients like onions, garlic, and chives which are toxic to dogs.

Dumplings are also high in salt and fat which are not good for your dog’s diet in large quantities.

3. Chicken Noodle Soup

Plain noodles are safe for your dog and a chicken and noodle mix can make a great topper on their kibble.

Again, just be sure that your noodles aren’t mixed with a broth of gravy that includes any ingredients that are toxic to dogs and have been boiled without adding extra salt.

4. Chicken with Broccoli

Broccoli is a versatile vegetable that can be served to your dog cooked, raw or mixed with other fruits and veggies to form a tasty topper.

Broccoli is said to yield various benefits for your pet. It can improve everything from your dog’s eyesight to the nervous system, in addition to helping the healing of their wounds. 

Furthermore, broccoli is very low in fat content and can be enjoyed by your dog as a delicious snack.

5. Chicken with Potatoes

Cooked potatoes are usually fine for your dog, but you should avoid feeding them raw potatoes. Certain types of potatoes, such as sweet potatoes, are better for your dog’s diet. 

Potatoes can have a range of benefits for your dog including being a rich source of antioxidants, helping with immune system functioning, and supplying your dog with essential nutrients to support your dog’s full-body health.

Are chicken products safe for dogs to eat?

Chicken products made for human consumption, such as nuggets, meatballs, or chicken sausage are not recommended for dogs.

These are usually loaded with salt, sugar, and artificial flavors, colors, and chemicals. These also typically contain lots of extra fats and calories that your pet doesn’t need.

How Much Chicken Can Dogs Consume in a Day?

A dog got delicious chicken mix meal
A dog sniffing the delicious chicken mix meal – Image source

As discussed, the recommended daily amount of chicken for a healthy 20-lb dog is about ¼ to ⅓ cup of boiled chicken meat, according to Founders Veterinary Clinic.

You can adjust the number of cups of chicken per day depending on its breed size, energy level, and health condition.

To give you an overview, one cup of boiled chicken has 202 calories. If you’re trying to help your dog lose weight, then you’ll need to make sure they’re consuming fewer calories and increasing its activity level slowly.

It’s best to consult with your vet or canine nutritionist before starting a chicken diet for your pet.

What Can I Cook for My Dog with Chicken?

If you’re searching for a healthy homemade dog food recipe that features chicken as the main protein, we’ve got you covered. Check out the simple chicken recipes below.

  1. Chicken with Tasty Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, and Brown Rice
  2. Broccoli and Chicken Dog Treats
  3. Chicken Casserole

What are the dog food products that contain chicken?

Are you for some commercial dog food that includes chicken? Below are some products that your pooch will definitely love.

  1. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original with Chicken Meal Recipe
  2. Chicken Soup for the Soul Chicken Classic Recipe 
  3. Nutro Natural Choice Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

If you think your dog is not ready for a switch in their kibble yet, you can start with some yummy treat or food topper that includes chicken. Here are some great ones that you can check.

  1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Chicken Wild Bits Training Treats
  2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Meatball Morsels with Chicken Dog Treats
  3. Hill’s Natural Soft Savories with Chicken & Yogurt Dog Treats

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Derivatives?

A Blue Merle Corgi wants the chicken treats
Meet Cookie, a Blue Merle Corgi who got his favorite chicken treats – Image source

Dogs may unintentionally eat anything that attracts them. If your dog happens to consume raw chicken, keep an eye for any symptoms of salmonella poisoning and get in touch with your vet if needed.

While dogs have a very strong digestive system, eating derivatives of chicken in large amounts could cause them vomiting and diarrhea.

What diseases in dogs can chicken help?

A balanced amount of chicken is good for your dog if he suffers from any of the diseases below.

  • Underweight or malnutrition: Chicken is often recommended as a source of protein for dogs who are underweight or suffering from malnutrition due to its high protein content. However, make sure to consult your vet first before adding chicken to your underweight dog’s diet.
  • Illness or surgery recovery: For dogs that are recovering from illness or surgery, a diet that comprises chicken and rice is sometimes recommended. Again, be sure to discuss your pet’s diet with your vet before making any changes.
  • Arthritis: Chicken is a great natural source of glucosamine. This glucosamine can help build strong bones and prevent arthritis and other joint diseases.

What Do You Feed a Dog with a Chicken Allergy?

If your pet is allergic to chicken meat, here are some of the best protein alternatives to chicken for dogs that you can try.

  • Turkey, a novel protein source, is loaded with protein, riboflavin, and phosphorus. Moreover, this can be beneficial for dogs who are allergic to or sensitive to other proteins. This is the reason why it’s commonly added to dog foods with limited ingredients.
  • Duck is another meat that is often recommended to dogs who are allergic to chicken. It’s a good source of iron and protein, and its meat is relatively lean. In addition, ducks are known for their flavor, making them a delicious treat for your four-legged friend.

So, Is Chicken Good for Your Dog?

As you have read, plain, unseasoned, cooked chicken is a healthy food that is safe for most dogs to eat. Just be sure you don’t overdo it when feeding your dog chicken as too much could cause some health risks for your pet.

Some dogs can also be allergic to chicken. It’s best to consult with your vet before introducing chicken to your canine.

Does your pet love the taste of chicken? We’d love to hear all about your furry friend and how he enjoys his chicken in the comments below.

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