Feeding your dog chicken is often the best thing for him, but with all the conflicting information out there about pet food, it's hard to know if it's a good practice.
Between raw meat diets, homemade rations and industrial foods, all praised by experts who shoot each other in the foot, discerning what is true and what is false in order to find the best diet for our dogs has become a real headache.
Today, I would like to give you an update on the place of chicken in dog food, the benefits of this food, its possible dangers and the best way to feed it to our four-legged friends.
Nutritional value of chicken for dogs
Chicken is a white meat, known as "lean", i.e. rich in proteins and relatively low in lipids. Like red meat, it contains B vitamins, minerals (phosphorus, iron, zinc and selenium) and water.
Like all white meats, chicken contrasts with red meats in its moderate fat content and low caloric intake. However, some parts of the chicken are richer in fat than others, notably the skin and, to a lesser extent, the thighs.
Chicken has its place in a dog's diet because of its high protein content, which is essential for the development and proper functioning of the body. Low in calories, it is particularly suitable for dogs that tend to be overweight or that are on a diet.
Finally, chicken proteins are among the best tolerated. They are involved in about 25% of food allergies and intolerances, compared to 65% for beef proteins.
Chicken for dogs: raw or cooked meat?
There are often heated discussions between those who believe in raw food for dogs and those who swear by cooked food.
The studies on one or the other theory are so numerous that they do not allow to make a clear opinion on the question for those who do not have an advanced knowledge in the field of canine nutrition.
I will therefore limit myself to the established facts concerning these two options, both of which seem to be acceptable and are entirely up to the owner.
Raw chicken meat for dogs: advantages and disadvantages
Raw chicken meat is more digestible because the proteins have not clumped together during cooking, making it less sensitive to gastric juices. Raw chicken meat is more likely to be colonized by bacteria, which only cooking can eliminate. However, most healthy dogs are resistant to these bacteria.
Only raw bones, preferably fleshy, can be fed to dogs, as cooked bones are more fragile and susceptible to breakage and puncture. Although raw chicken bones are less dangerous than cooked bones, they still pose a danger of occlusion, perforation or laceration of internal organs when swallowed.
Cooked chicken meat for dogs: advantages and disadvantages
Cooked chicken meat eliminates almost all risk of bacterial or parasitic contamination. This may not seem like a big deal, since most healthy dogs tolerate these bacteria well, but it should be noted that many of them (Salmonella, E. Coli, etc.) can be transmitted to humans.
Handling raw meat to prepare your dog's meal is therefore particularly inadvisable for immunocompromised owners. In terms of disadvantages, cooked chicken meat is a little less digestible than raw meat, and cooked chicken bones are particularly brittle and dangerous.
Chicken bones for dogs
The question of whether or not to give bones to your dog is a thorny one, many owners being convinced that it is natural, and therefore necessarily good, and others being terrified at the idea of seeing their dog choke on his chicken drumstick.
To try to answer this question, I will start by reminding you that everything that is natural is not necessarily good, neither for the dog nor for man.
Dogs have been eating bones since the dawn of time, but this does not mean that the practice is without risk, and there is no shortage of testimonials from veterinarians who regularly operate on animals with perforated digestive systems.
While it is possible to reduce these risks by feeding meaty, raw and carefully selected bones, this does not eliminate all danger, especially in the case of chicken bones which are among the most risky.
Moreover, the only nutritional value of bones is the contribution of calcium and phosphorus, elements that can be offered to your dog through other equally natural foods (egg shells, for example).
Boneless chicken pieces supplemented with powdered eggshells will provide the same nutritional benefits to your dog in complete safety, and a good chew toy, such as the famous Kong, will maintain his teeth and jaw as well as a bone.
In my opinion, it is not wise to put your dog at risk, potentially fatal, and I can not recommend this practice for the sole reason that it has always existed.
Can I give my dog chicken?
Yes, chicken is an excellent food for dogs, as long as it does not represent 100% of the dog's diet, otherwise the animal would be deficient.
Can we give chicken bones to a dog?
Giving chicken bones to your dog to eat or chew on carries significant risks, as it can lead to serious internal injuries. It is still possible to give chicken bones to your dog by taking great precautions, but these precautions will never completely eliminate the risks.
Can we give raw chicken to a dog?
Yes, you can give raw chicken to a healthy dog, as long as the meat is fresh, in order to limit the risks of bacterial and parasitic contamination.
Should dogs be fed cooked or raw meat?
Raw meat is more digestible than cooked meat, so it is the preferred choice in dog diets. However, it is also possible to cook the meat you give your dog to eliminate any parasites and bacteria that may be present.
Cooked or raw, chicken is a great food for dogs, rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, and low in fat. This food has its place in a BARF diet as well as in your recipes for household rations.
However, it is important not to feed your dog exclusively chicken, because our domestic carnivores also need lipids, which are found more in red meat, and various other nutrients to stay healthy.
How do I choose the best diet for my dog?
For me, the easiest way is to trust the recognized professionals of the sector. This gives you the assurance to give your dog the right products while simplifying your life. For example, I recommend Ollie products.
It is a company with an excellent reputation that prepares customized recipes for your dog, 100% fresh and delivered directly to your home.