Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Safely?

Read this before feeding your dog raw chicken 🍗

can dogs eat raw chicken

You wouldn’t dream of taking a bite of raw chicken because you know how sick it can make you. But raw food for dogs has been pretty popular lately, which might have you wondering if your pet could actually stomach this type of raw meat.

So, can dogs eat raw chicken?

We spoke with Dr. Sara Ochoa, a veterinarian at Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Texas and Senior Tail Waggers, to learn all about the benefits and risks of feeding your dog raw chicken.

Is raw chicken healthy for dogs?

Raw chicken can be good for dogs in the sense that it’s a major source of protein and isn’t processed like a lot of pet food on the market.

But while dogs technically can eat raw chicken, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should. In fact, most vets and organizations, like the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association, don’t recommend feeding your dog raw meat.

“All raw meats can carry a risk of salmonella, and [it] would be best to avoid feeding them to your dog,” Dr. Ochoa told The Dodo.

That’s why giving your dog raw chicken is only safe as long as you know for sure that you’re handling it properly (more on that below).

Why do some owners feed their dogs raw chicken?

Raw food diets have gotten quite trendy because a lot of dog parents want to shift towards feeding their pups more natural foods. And because dogs are descended from wolves, who hunted their food and ate it raw out in the wild, some pet parents feel raw chicken should be perfectly fine for their pups to eat.

But it’s important to remember that if you do feed your dog raw chicken that’s been handled safely, you also have to add other ingredients and supplements to his diet since raw chicken alone doesn’t have all the nutrients he needs.

“They will need a well-balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals to be complete and balanced,” Dr. Ochoa said.

Can dogs eat raw chicken bones?

You should always avoid giving your dog bones from leftovers, whether they're raw or cooked. These bones are a big choking hazard, and some — like chicken bones — can splinter really easily if your pup chews on them.

Those splinters can be tiny and sharp, which will cause major issues if your dog swallows them.

“These can irritate and puncture the stomach and intestines and cause severe stomach issues,” Dr. Ochoa said.

Can dogs get salmonella?

Dogs can get salmonella from eating raw chicken if it’s not handled properly.

“Raw chicken, if left out of the refrigerator for just a short period of time, can cause your dog to have salmonella,” Dr. Ochoa said.

Salmonella is a bacterial infection, and it’s a pretty big deal because it can cause gastroenteritis (aka inflamed stomach and small intestine) and septicemia (aka a blood infection or blood poisoning).

Salmonella symptoms in dogs include things like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Not eating
  • Weight loss
  • Shock
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration

If you notice these symptoms, bring your pup to the vet right away. Your vet will be able to determine the severity of the infection, which is important to know in order to treat salmonella.

“Dogs who have salmonella will need IV fluids if they are severely dehydrated,” Dr. Ochoa said. “They will also need antibiotics to help treat this infection.”

Plus, your vet will also want to make sure your dog hasn’t developed gastroenteritis or septicemia as well.

How can dogs eat raw chicken safely?

While it’s generally not recommended to give your dog raw meat, there are ways your dog can eat raw chicken safely.

If you really have your heart set on a raw diet for your dog, there are certain guidelines you can follow to make sure you’re doing it safely. For example, don’t let raw chicken sit out before giving it to your pup, and immediately put whatever he doesn’t eat back in the fridge.

And according to Dr. Ochoa, you should cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and always make sure that any chicken you give your dog — whether raw or cooked — doesn’t have any bones in it, because these precautions can prevent choking.

So while raw chicken is a high-protein, natural choice for dogs, the risks can outweigh the rewards. That’s why you should always be super careful if you do decide to give your pup raw chicken.