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We all know that dogs are descended from wolves, and that wolves live off raw meat from catching and eating other animals. So you may wonder whether it might be better to feed your dog raw chicken rather than kibble, canned food, or cooked meat. What is healthier and will provide the best nutrition for your dog?
There are several risks associated with feeding your dog raw chicken, including infection, risk of choking, and malnutrition. For these reasons, extra care must be taken, and the chicken must be from the best source possible.
We’ll explore whether or not your dog can eat raw chicken, and the potential benefits and risks of a diet that includes raw chicken.
Is Raw Chicken Safe For Dogs?
Some people believe that dogs should live on a raw meat diet, as it replicates what they would have eaten in the wild. There are mixed opinions among the pet healthcare community as to whether this is a good idea or not, and if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Risks Of Feeding Raw Chicken To Dogs
There are several risks associated with feeding your dog raw chicken, and we have provided information to help you understand what could happen if your dog ingests raw chicken, either by accident or if you choose a raw food diet for your dog.
The most common risk of feeding your dog raw chicken is that they will contract a salmonella infection. Salmonella is a bacteria that is found in the intestines or the feces of certain animals, and it is present in some raw or undercooked meats.
If your dog (or you!) ingests enough of this bacteria, they can develop salmonellosis. Vomiting and diarrhea along with lethargy and a lack of appetite are the main symptoms, and your dog could also develop a fever.
If the infection is left untreated, it can be fatal, especially if your dog already has a weak immune system or pre-existing health problems. It can generally be treated successfully with IV fluid therapy and a course of antibiotics.
If you think your dog may have a salmonella infection you will need to take them to the veterinarian. If your dog has accidentally eaten raw chicken then keep an eye out for any of these symptoms.
Remember that if you are handling raw chicken, you are also at risk of coming into contact with salmonella and could contract salmonellosis.
Your risk is actually greater, because dogs have more stomach acids than us which offer them some form of protection against bacterial infections. Make sure you always wash your hands thoroughly when handling raw chicken, as well as any surfaces the raw chicken may have contacted.
Some bones are suitable for dogs to chew on and eat, but chicken bones are not one of them! They can easily crack and splinter, which can cause obstructions in your dog’s throat or intestinal system. Chicken bones can also cause internal injuries like punctures to a dog as they travel through their digestive system.
If you are feeding your dog a raw meat diet that includes chicken, then make sure you remove the bones first. If your dog has accidentally eaten raw chicken that might have contained bones, you will need to keep a close eye on them to ensure that they don’t show any signs of internal injuries or obstruction.
This could include lethargy, avoiding food or water, swelling or tenderness around the abdomen, vomiting or a fever. If they seem out of sorts in any way, get them to a veterinarian immediately.
If you choose to feed your dog a raw food diet, you will need to make sure that your dog is receiving all of the nutrients they need. If you feed your dog raw chicken only, they will not be getting a balanced diet.
Malnutrition can lead to a variety of problems including poor bone density, organ issues, and vitamin deficiencies. Unlike wolves, dogs have been domesticated over hundreds of years, and have become accustomed to digesting cooked and processed foods.
Some dogs struggle to adjust to a raw food diet, and it can give them an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea.
Benefits of A Raw Food Diet for Dogs
While there are some risks to feeding your dog a raw food diet, there are also many benefits which make this an appealing choice for many dog owners.
The main reason that people choose to feed their pets a raw food diet is that it is 100% natural and unprocessed, and is the closest equivalent to what canine species eat in the wild.
There are no additives or preservatives, and none of the nutrients in the food are lost during a cooking process. It is also great for dogs with food intolerances or allergies, like lactose or wheat.
Raw, unprocessed food tends to be more difficult to chew and break down, which means that your dog will need to use their teeth more. This can help their teeth to stay clean and healthy, and the friction will prevent the build-up of plaque.
Raw chicken is a popular choice as it contains 80% protein with no carbohydrates or sugars. It is also a great source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B12.
If you are able to feed your dog a balanced raw food diet which provides them with all of the necessary nutrients, their health may flourish and their coat will likely be shinier and healthier than it was before.
They can also develop stronger bones and muscles and a more efficient immune system to help them to fight diseases. A raw food diet will also often improve the consistency of your dog’s stool, making it firmer and smaller.
A dog on a raw food diet is very unlikely to become overweight, as it is a low fat and low carb diet.
You can choose to prepare your dog’s raw food diet yourself, which is cost-effective but can be quite time consuming. It will also require careful planning to ensure your dog’s diet is balanced.
Alternatively, you can buy ready made or prepared raw dog food. These can be frozen or fresh, and you can also get a type of food known as BARF, which stands for ‘bones and raw food’, which includes plant materials for a nutrient-rich diet.
Other variations of raw food products include those based around the prey food model, which contain less plant materials to reflect what canines eat in the wild. There are also options for raw food kibble.
Tips For Safely Feeding Your Dog A Raw Food Diet
If you decide that you want to feed your dog a raw food diet, there are certain things you should consider to ensure you are being safe and reducing the risk of your dog becoming ill.
Before you switch your dog to a raw food diet, make sure you consult their veterinarian. A raw food diet is not suitable for all dogs, especially those with pre-existing health conditions or a weak immune system.
Your vet will need to consider your dog’s past medical history and current condition before advocating a raw food diet. Some vets will advise against it in any case because of the risks involved, but you can always get a second opinion if it is something you are keen to pursue.
Raw food should be introduced gradually to your dog’s diet. If you switch your dog from processed food to raw food suddenly, their system will struggle to adjust and they will feel unwell. They could experience diarrhea and sickness, as well as abdominal pain.
Start off with a small amount of raw food as a treat to supplement their usual diet. Once your dog is used to this, start to replace some of their food with raw food- begin with one quarter, then a third, half, etc, gradually increasing until they are eating all raw food.
If your dog reacts badly to the food at any point, consider returning to their previous diet or slowing down the rate that you are introducing the new food.
It is important to keep a close eye on your dog during the transition to a raw food diet and in the time that follows. Make sure their health is not deteriorating, and that they are able to maintain a healthy weight.
If they show any signs of poor health- their coat, their teeth, their energy levels, their toilet habits – then consult your vet and consider switching back to their original food.
If you are preparing your dog’s raw food diet yourself, make sure that you source the meat from a trustworthy source. It needs to be fresh and stored at the correct temperature to reduce the risk of it becoming contaminated with bacteria like salmonella.
Make sure that you keep the meat cold until you are ready to feed it to your dog. Feed them a small amount at a time to prevent leaving raw meat out for too long, or it could get warm or attract flies.
Keep you and your dog safe by preparing the meat carefully and washing your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with the raw meat.
If you intend on giving your dog raw or cooked bones, make sure you research whether it is safe and never let them eat chicken bones.
Raw Food Products
If you are looking for some good quality raw dog food products to try, then check these out.
Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food
The meat for this dog food is humanely raised and this product contains no GMO and no artificial colors or flavourings.
- RESPONSIBLY SOURCED MEAT: Our gluten-free recipe is made with from USA grass-fed beef and pure pacific salmon without the use of by-products. Plus,...
- MORE WAYS TO FEED: Boost their kibbles with the ultimate meaty taste that can't be beat by other wet mixers or toppers. Mix it into meals as either...
- FULL COVERAGE NUTRITION: Treat any breed to nature’s best-- a blend that uses bits of meat and vegetables to supply vital health benefits through...
Nature’s Diet Raw Freeze-Dried Food
This dog food contains bone broth, muscle, organs and omega-3s to provide a nutritious meal for your pet.
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties
These meaty dinner patties are a nice and simple product to introduce your dog to raw food.
- Love Is Raw: Our Freeze-Dried Raw dinner patties offer the protein-rich taste dogs crave with the nutrition they deserve
- Irresistible Taste Dogs Love! Made of 95% beef, organs and bone, such as beef tripe, our grass-fed Beef recipe will delight your pup
- Whole Prey Ingredients: Feeding your pet a diet similar to what their ancestors enjoyed in the wild helps your pet thrive; a raw diet helps support...