Raw food for dogs is a controversial subject. While many sources say that they are completely safe, others remain concerned about indigestion, vomiting and many other physical problems. Now the question for today is, is raw chicken safe for dogs?
Many of you must have already been feeding raw chicken to your pet dogs already as a part of their usual diet. And we understand why – chicken is readily available and inexpensive too. However, experts say that it’s better to skip raw chicken for dogs and splurge on other types of meats instead. But Why?
Chicken has reportedly created significant nutritional problems that can result in health problems in canines. If you’ve already been feeding raw chicken to your dog, hang in there. We’re going to explain you some reasons on why you should stop continuing to feed chicken and what you can start feeding them instead.
Are you ready to start?
Awesome! However, before we get started, let’s elaborate more on the nutritional pitfalls of chicken and what makes chicken so different from other forms of protein.
You Are What You Eat
Technically, the diet that they are fed to the chickens at the poultry farm is what you are feeding your dog. Still confused? Well, whatever the chicken is eating, whether it’s good or bad, is being passed along to your dog via the food chain. The chicken is just the intermediary.
In that case, are you aware of the poor diet of chickens?
Wheat middling’s, dried bakery products, whole pressed safflower meal, dehulled soybean meal, etc. we could go on. These are some of the ingredients listed on the product label of a popular chicken feed and as you can already see, these are the leftovers from plants after we, human beings have processed and taken all the oil out of it. And in case you have a question in your mind regarding the dried bakery products – it’s the mixture of bread, cake, crackers, cookies and flour – which all again wastes from human food manufacture. These base ingredients being wastage materials don’t hold any nutritional value for the chicken. They make up the bulk of feed and provide mostly calories to fatten the chickens up. So, it’s clear why feeding your pupper raw chicken could prove to be troublesome.
Chicken Fat is Skewed
There’s no better word than “skewed” when describing raw chicken meat for dogs because we don’t want to sound too alarming. We’re using the term skewed because chicken fat incites chronic inflammation in dogs. If it keeps going on, in the long term your dog might never be able to eat healthy food again to recover from it. The reason why we are so adamant about not feeding raw chicken to dogs is that chicken meat, when compared to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, had shown negative results all the way.
Most animals are moderately balanced in their fatty acids, whereas chicken is way out of fraction. It’s so cluttered that it’s not even in the range as the other animals. We blame it all on the food that is being fed to them.
If the next thing that pops in your head is “beef is also fed waste and grain products, why is beef not as high as chicken in omega-6 fatty acids?” Well, that’s an excellent point.
The answer to your question would be that lambs, cattle, and goats mostly eat grass and hay for the most part of their life until the last few days before they are slaughtered, they are fed grains. As for chicken, duck, and turkey, they are fed some amounts of omega-6 rich foods for every day of their life. The more an animal is fed those omega-6 fatty foods, the worse it gets for it.
Does that Mean that Dogs Cannot Eat Chicken at All?
Honestly, your dog might not be able to survive eating chicken on a daily basis and not suffer from chronic inflammation. Chicken contains too much of omega-6 fatty acids, and if you feed an excessive amount of chicken, you cannot expect your canine to be reasonably healthy. Regardless of whether you feed a considerable measure of omega-3 fatty fish, almost half of your dog’s diet, you’ll however still wind up with ten times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3. Usually, a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 shouldn’t be no more than 5:1.
If you feed a little more than a small amount of chicken or duck to your dog, you won’t be able to get their hormones and inflammation under control. You cannot feed chicken as a primary meal to your dog and expect them to remain healthy with a properly functioning immune system.
The University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Weibel Animal Hospital has conducted a study that confirmed the raw chicken is indeed fatal for your dogs. When compared to the Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) in humans, consumption of fresh chicken can contribute to the increased risks of paralysis in dogs by up to 70%.
What About all That Bacteria?
It’s no surprise that bacteria grow on raw meat. But what you might not be aware of are the consequences that you might have to face due to the consumption of it. Some people say it’s okay to let your dogs have raw meat while others say that it is harmful to both the dog and the owners.
To settle this, there has been a lot of research on this topic. These researches show that the bacteria that spread from raw meat is more harmful to human beings than they are for animals. The animals may be carriers of it, but they might not get sick most of the time. However, humans are significantly affected by this, and hence feeding raw meat to your pet may not always be the right option for you or your pet. The processed fresh beef that you buy from general stores is also harmful to your pooch. It is known that almost 86% of the meat is infected with bacteria.
You can be affected when in contact with the infected animal or while cleaning up their wastes, bowls, etc. You should not let unknown dogs lick you because if they are affected by any chance, there is no doubt that the pathogens will affect you too.
Feeding your raw pup chicken for an extended period may be harmful to it. It ruins their balanced diet. The presence of an unwanted piece of bone might be lethal for your dog as it can choke them. Bones also cause the breakage of their tooth if they are unable to see it coming. The risks of having paralysis rise all the way up to 70%.
Just like every coin has two sides, let’s not forget about this one – If you plan on substituting pork with chicken, that’s a terrible idea. Pork is as bad as chicken. It’s said that pork has 24 times as much as omega-6 than omega-3. That’s because pigs grow up similarly to chickens.
Potential Benefits of Raw Chicken Meat for Your Dogs
Since we have been saying all the negatives all this while, here’s the good in the bad for the ones who have been feeding or has already fed raw chicken to their canines:
- Chicken is usually considered as the primary source of energy in a dog’s diet
- It is highly beneficial for dogs due to its high protein content and low-calorie count
- It is rich in Omega 6 fatty acids which help tosuccourshiny coats and healthy skin
- It is the source of glucosamine and amino acids which stimulates bone health
- Raw meat helps to prevent cancer in some dogs
- It is a better form of food for dogs who have chronic digestive problems
- Freshens up their breath
- Helps to fight old-age health concerns
Making Chicken (and pork) Safe for Your Dog
All this while you must have thought that chicken is the safest and most cost-effective food for your canine. Most importantly, you guessed it was organic. Well, we didn’t want to be all doom and gloom, so we have fixed it for you and found specific ways to make raw chicken safe for your canine.
- Add Vitamin D
It’s not that tough to replace the lost vitamin D in your canine’s diet as long as your canine can consume fish. Fish is the ultimate source of vitamin D for your dog, and it’s probably the only way you can salvage your canine’s raw diet if you have already given them too much of pork or poultry.
Fish contains a high amount of Vitamin D, and if you feed around 5 – 10% of raw fish, it means that you are giving them enough vitamin D to make up for the lack of other poultries.
- Add Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Even a small amount of chicken, pork, or other poultry (except turkey) will have more than the required amount of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and thus, containing a high amount of polyunsaturated fats. In the best possible way, you surely don’t want to be feeding five times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids; but pork and chicken are precisely 30 times more than average. So, what can be done?
- If you’re keen about feeding chicken, feed organic chicken, raised under proper diet and supervision. Free-ranging chicken is a good source too because they have access to sunshine that helps to solve your vitamin D problem.
- Substitute chicken with turkey and that will work wonderfully. Although turkey is a little more expensive than chicken, but note that the fats are much more balanced and your pet dog is less likely to cause chronic inflammation.
- Skip chicken and pork. This might be the most expensive option out of all, but the results that your dog will get is priceless. Of course, offering a small amount of organic poultry once a month would suffice. It increases the polyunsaturated fats (lamb, goat, beef is highly saturated fat for your dog and low in polyunsaturated fats). The closes you can get is to the primal diet that you can swing financially too.
Overall, your canine’s raw diet is going to be way healthier if you can put in plenty of red meat to it. Ruminants (animals that mostly eat grass) are said to be better diets and are bought up in better conditions – the flesh of these animals is known to pass benefits if your dog eats it.
So, what changes are you going to make to your dog’s next raw meat?
The Verdict – Raw Chicken for Dogs: Is it Safe?
Like humans, dogs too require a healthy and nutritional diet depending on their age, size, and breed. Along with maintaining a balanced diet, they also need to exercise on a regular basis to keep themselves fit and healthy. However, most people have a hard time making the perfect diet chart for their dog. They are usually unable to decide which food to keep or omit from their ongoing diet chart list. One thing that you should always keep in mind is that different dogs prefer different kinds of food as their meal. So, you can’t seek help from your friends or family who own dogs because your dog might not prefer that kind of food. Hence it is better to ask for help from a professional. You can always ask your vet to help you plan a diet chart for your little pup keeping their age and other aspects in mind.
Many people prefer to serve raw meat to their dogs while others prefer the cooked or boiled version of it. Like everything else on this earth, serving raw chicken to your pup has its pros and cons too! It is no wonder that this topic has been up for debate for years now.
Dogs are very serious when it comes to being their man’s best friend. So, in return, it’s our job to treat them fairly and take their responsibility for care as much seriously. While your pet dogs may be looking forward to chomping on to the raw chicken neck as a reward for something great, they have done, turns out that you may be harming them instead of doing the good.
- Dr. Marty Becker, DVM, Is Raw Food Safe for My Dog?, VetStreet
- Robin Downing, DVM, Dogs and Raw Food Diets, VCA Hospitals
- Dog Nutrition Tips, The ASPCA