The recent raw dog food movement has many of us asking questions like, “Can dogs eat raw chicken?” and “What’s the best way to store raw dog food?”
It’s a great sign that Pet Owners are thinking so much about their dog’s diet. And we’ve seen a lot of movement on this topic in the last few years. The first wave of the raw food movement was about finding a potentially healthier diet than the typical store-bought dry food. And now, we’re moving into even more mindful territory to make sure that the alternatives are low-risk and safe for our beloved furry friends.
There’s a lot of information to sift through, but no worries. We’re here to break down the science into bite-sized chunks. By the end of this article, you’ll have more useful information to help you decide if a raw chicken diet is appropriate for your pup. We’ll also add in some safety tips, like how to lower the risk of infection and keep your local Pet Sitter in the loop.
The big question first: Can dogs eat raw chicken? Here’s what your dog’s stomach has to say!
To answer the question “Can dogs eat raw chicken?”, we should look at the fascinating world of carnivore digestion. Because at the end of the day, this isn’t a question about will a dog eat raw chicken – any experienced Dog Owner will tell you the answer is yes – but whether doing so will make them sick. And according to doggie biology, that answer is no. Well, probably not.
Part of this has to do with what your dog’s digestive system looks like. First of all, it’s shorter. There aren’t extra stomachs (or rumens, if you want to get scientific) or long, winding digestive tracts or any of the other anatomical elements needed to break down plant material. Instead, your dog gobbles up a meal, and what seems like five minutes later, they’re giving you the signal that they need a potty break.
One possible advantage of this quick digestive process is that there’s less time for harmful bacteria to grow inside your pup. You know, like the old proverb of a rolling stone gathering no moss.
And it’s not just the digestive system structure that is helpful here. Your doggo also has a highly acidic sterilising chamber within the stomach and an army of powerful enzymes and gut bacteria to fight the battle against outside bacteria. While humans have a similar setup, we’re simply not as well armoured as our meat-loving companions.
So yes, in the wild, dogs should be able to eat raw meat – and other questionable items – without too much fuss. And ff doggie digestion is as fascinating to you as it is to us, check out our article, Does Your Dog Have Digestion Problems?, to learn more.
But just how far can you push a dog’s digestive system before their stomach is wishing that you had just stuck to their old-fashioned dry kibble? To answer that, we’ll look to the experts.
How would your vet answer the question, “Can dogs eat raw chicken?”
Veterinarians will be the first to tell you that just because your dog would eat something to survive in the wild doesn’t mean they should at home. So if you ask your vet, “Can dogs eat raw chicken?” you might get a hesitant response.
The issue is that it’s very difficult to control bacteria growth with raw chicken. Even the strongest doggie stomach is still susceptible to a stronger strain of bacteria that could put your dog at serious risk.
The University of Melbourne has called raw chicken into question because of a possible link to polyradiculoneuritis (APN). APN is an autoimmune disease that may be the result of exposure to a type of bacteria commonly found on chicken meat. But, the science is still shaky and, as others have pointed out, many more dogs suffer from negative health outcomes related to a poor diet than APN related to raw chicken.
APN aside, raw chicken may not be appropriate for older dogs, puppies, or dogs with a compromised immune system or fussy digestion. As a loving Pet Owner, it’s best to keep particularly vulnerable dogs safe from exposure to harmful bacteria.
Making sure your home is a raw chicken safe space
At this point, you might be feeling some confusion about the raw chicken debate. Dogs technically can eat it. Vets say maybe it’s not the best idea.
And throughout all of this, advocates of a raw chicken diet make some good points. Raw chicken is an excellent protein source for carnivores, and it lowers your dog’s risk of obesity by taking carbs out of their diet. It can also eliminate preservatives and other chemicals from the equation. For this reason, there are many loving Pet Owners who still choose a raw chicken diet, even with the risks laid out by veterinarians.
As a loving Pet Owner, the choice is ultimately up to you.
So, if you do want to feed your dog raw chicken, how can you make sure you’re doing it safely? Here are a few tips:
- If you can afford it, stick to organic chicken
- Make sure that all raw chicken is properly stored and never left out at room temperature
- Keep all of the surfaces in your home and around your dog’s food bowl clean and sanitised
- Don’t feed your dog chicken with bones (such as chicken neck or wings) as the bones can splinter
- Remember that raw chicken should be fed by itself (no seasonings, please!) You can refer to our article on What Human Foods Your Dog Can Eat for more information.
- Closely monitor your dog after eating to monitor for signs of distress
- If you’re leaving your doggo with a trusted Pet Sitter, make sure that they have detailed instructions about proper feeding
What’s your final say?
Will you be buying up the whole chickens from the store? Will you stick to your tried-and-true dog food brand? Let us know in the comments!