Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?

If you have a canine companion in your life, you know they will eat just about anything.

Your pup may salivate at the sight of raw chicken in your kitchen, leading you to wonder if this is a safe snack option for your furry friend.

In this article we will answer the question of whether or not dogs should eat raw chicken, and help you better understand the potential dangers of raw feeding in dogs.

We understand that raw feeding is a debated topic in the pet world, and are simply stating the facts as determined by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Can Dogs Digest Raw Chicken?

Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken

Our canine friends seem to have an easier time digesting raw chicken than we do. Though they can still become ill from bacteria present in raw meat, their anatomy may decrease this risk.

The occurrence of GI upset may be minimized in some cases due to these canine traits, taking a bit of the worry off the table if your pup gets a small bite of raw chicken.

For example, dogs have a much shorter digestive tract than humans. Part of why raw meat makes humans so sick is due to how much time the bacteria has to replicate while traveling through the intestines, leading to a bacterial take over.

Another reason dogs may have an easier time digesting raw chicken is due to the lower pH of the acid in their stomach. This could mean that their stomach acid is more effective at killing some bacteria, though this can vary from dog to dog.

These unique canine traits might take some of the risk off the table when they get their paws on raw chicken, but certainly not all of it.

This simply means dogs are less likely to become sick from eating raw meat, but it does not mean it’s impossible.

Is Raw Chicken Dangerous For Dogs?

Though we discussed above how dogs can technically digest raw chicken, it is still considered dangerous for them to consume.

Raw chicken contains an array of bacteria that can cause our dogs harm, with Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli being the most threatening.

Dogs may have more defenses against these organisms than we do, but they can still cause serious GI upset in some furry friends. 

The pH in a dog’s stomach will vary based on how much food is currently in their stomach. This means their stomach acid may not always be the strong defense we think it is, and some harmful bacteria may still survive the environment.

Not only can bacteria survive certain conditions, but it can multiply rapidly in dogs with compromised immune systems.

Ranging from dogs with chronic illness to senior pups, many dogs can be at higher risk of complications than others.

With these factors combined, the benefit of feeding raw chicken just does not outweigh the potential risks. It is one thing for a dog to accidentally eat a small amount of raw chicken, but deliberate raw feeding can be dangerous.

Signs Of A Dog Sick From Eating Raw Chicken

If your dog does become ill from eating raw chicken, they may experience a few concerning symptoms.

Similar to food poisoning in humans, dogs can develop severe GI upset when exposed to the bacteria in raw meat.

Dogs that eat raw chicken may experience:

In addition to serious GI upset, some dogs can develop a secondary condition known as pancreatitis.

This often requires hospitalization to treat effectively, adding to the list of reasons why raw chicken should not be a part of your pup’s diet.

The Potential Danger For Dog Owners

Though the risk of eating raw meat is real in our canine friends, the risk is even higher for the dog owners that come in contact with the raw chicken.

It’s not the chicken itself that is dangerous to dog owners, but the bacteria that is present within these meats.

Preparing raw chicken is not always a clean activity. Juices and other material from the raw chicken can easily cross contaminate items in your kitchen, ranging from counter surfaces to your own hands.

Even the most professional of food preppers may cross contaminate at some point, increasing the risk of becoming sick themselves.

If you are preparing raw chicken for your dog on a regular basis, this is only increasing the likelihood of potential complications.

The bacteria in raw chicken is much more dangerous to us than it is to our dogs.

These organisms can make someone sick to the point of requiring hospitalization, especially in those who are immunocompromised. At the end of the day, the risk just isn’t worth it in most cases.

If your dog ate a chicken bone, it can cause problems because chicken bones splinter when they break.

What If My Dog Accidentally Ate Raw Chicken?

If your dog sneaks a piece of raw chicken from your food prepping area, it is not the end of the world.

There are typically two options in this situation, both of which should be decided by your veterinarian.

First, we suggest contacting your vet from the moment you notice what happened. Your vet will likely either ask you to come in to induce vomiting if your dog ate a large amount, or they will offer you guidance on how to monitor them closely at home.

Most dogs will only experience minor GI upset when consuming raw chicken, and these symptoms can be easily managed when following the advice of your veterinarian.

Eating raw chicken is not considered a life threatening occurrence in dogs, but may lead to some uncomfortable GI symptoms that you will need to be on the lookout for.

Final Thoughts

Raw chicken consumption may not be life threatening for dogs, but it can lead to a slew of uncomfortable GI symptoms to follow.

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