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Raw Chicken for Dogs – Risks, Nutritional Benefits & Recipes

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Feeding raw chicken to dogs has nutritional benefits, including a high source of protein and being low in calories.
  • Raw chicken lacks essential nutrients and minerals, such as calcium, zinc, and vitamin D.
  • Raw chicken has a high concentration of omega-6 fatty acids, which can lead to inflammation if not balanced with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Feeding raw chicken to dogs poses risks, including causing chronic inflammation, vitamin deficiencies, and a risk of fatal paralysis.
  • Raw chicken can be incorporated into a dog's diet by adding it as an add-on to normal meals, using it as treats, or adding it to meatballs with other proteins.
Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Thursday 18 June 2020
Last updated on
Thursday 29 June 2023
raw chicken for dogs
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Is raw chicken a good idea for dogs? We’re discussing another trend, and it’s our responsibility to analyze it and provide you with the pros and cons. Whether you want to improve your dog’s diet or simply give them an interesting new food, we’ll guide you through the process.

Let’s explore how much raw chicken to feed a dog, how to introduce it to their diet, and how to complement it for the best results. All the answers are in one place!

Nutritional Benefits of Feeding Raw Chicken to Dogs

There’s a reason why raw chicken for dogs is a popular trend—it offers great nutritional benefits compared to store-bought kibble. Let’s discuss the main advantages.

High Source of Protein

Protein is the most important macronutrient for your dogs, and therefore, they need to get adequate amounts of it and from high-quality sources. This is one of the main reasons owners consider a completely raw diet. Unfortunately, conventional kibble is not enough as it is full of fillers and low-quality protein.

On the other hand, raw chicken is a good source of protein. Here you have the protein content from the main chicken cuts (100g):

  • Breast: 26 grams
  • Thighs: 13.5 grams
  • Wings: 30 grams

Therefore, adding chicken to the diet of your dog is a good way to hit its daily need of protein without much hassle. You can prepare a wide variety of recipes, which we are going to check in the next sections.

What About Vegetable Protein?

Objectively, animal protein, in this case from chicken, is more complete than vegetable protein, which makes it of higher quality. Therefore, to supply the daily protein needs of your pet, pick chicken over any plant-based protein any day of the week.

You could also pick beef or lamb instead of chicken, but it is still a good option, especially for the price. Therefore, it is an excellent solution when you want to improve the diet of your dog and you are on a tight budget.

Nonetheless, even though it is a cheap protein source, it still comes with challenges that you will have to sort out, as we are going to explain in the next sections, which have to do with nutritional deficiencies.

animal protein vs vegetable protein
Chicken protein is more complete than vegetable protein.

Low-Calorie Count

In addition to being rich in protein, it is also low in calories, especially if we talk about lean cuts like chicken breast, which only has 165 calories per every 100 grams. When compared to other fattier sources of protein like beef and lamb, the difference is clear.

Therefore, it is a great option when your dog is on a weight loss regimen, as you can regulate better the intake of calories while still hitting the daily requirement of protein for your pet. Nonetheless, it is important to know that chicken lacks several nutrients and minerals, which could lead to an unbalanced diet. Therefore, you will need to balance it properly with other protein sources. To make it clear, here you have the vitamins and minerals that it lacks:

  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Chloride
  • Iron
  • Iodine
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin D
  • Thiamin
  • Vitamin A
  • Folate
  • Vitamin E
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B-12

All of these are essential for the well-being of your dog and serve to prove that it is not all about the calories or protein content because you also need to consider the nutrients.

Source of Omega 6 Fatty Acid

Chicken has huge concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids, being a lot higher than sources like beef and salmon, and even duck and pheasant. For example, chicken breast has approximately contain 1660 mg of omega-6, which is very high.

Nonetheless, due to its low content of omega-3 fatty acids, it can quickly become a problem if you do not know how to balance it, and therefore, it is not a good idea to solely base the diet of your dog on raw chicken.

It’s a good way to drive up the omega-6 fatty acids in the diet of your dog, but bear in mind that it has the risk of causing inflammation, as we are going to see in the next section.

Risks of Feeding Raw Chicken to Dogs

Even though the nutritional benefits are clear, feeding raw chicken to your dog also poses risks that you need to factor in. Below, find our full analysis so you can be aware of the cons as well.

Cause Chronic Inflammation in Dogs

According to owners, due to the unbalanced nature of chicken fat, it is a common cause of chronic inflammation in dogs. What we mean here is that, in comparison to other protein sources, it has a bad ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. To help you understand it, let us see the chart below:

Fat ContentOmega-3 (approx.)Omega-6 (approx.)
Chicken160 mg1660 mg
Beef200 mg290 mg
Salmon180 mg200 mg

As you can see, when compared to beef and salmon, it has a very high disproportion of omega-6 fatty acids. Therefore, you should monitor how your dog reacts to it because this nature of chicken fat might cause chronic inflammation in your dog.

In all cases, chicken should not be the only source of protein for your dog, because as you have seen, beef and salmon are superior, and the same applies to lamb and wild game like deer.

Low Levels of Vitamin D

If all you give your dog is raw chicken, then you will put it at risk of developing several vitamin deficiencies, a lack of vitamin D the most prominent. To help you see how low the levels are, let us share with you the following chart:

CutVitamin D-3 (μg/kg)25(OH)-D-3

As you can see, it has very low concentrations of vitamin D, and it is more worrying given that most owners tend to feed chicken breast to their pets when they opt for this type of diet.

If you would like to read more about it, then you can check this study, which talks about the different concentrations of vitamin D in several types of meat such as turkey, beef and pork.

Risk of Fatal Paralysis

The most worrying aspect about feeding raw chicken to dogs is fatal paralysis, which according to the following study, puts your pet at a higher risk of developing it.

According to the study, it happens due to a campylobacter infection, which is a major trigger that develops the disease in the dog, which receives the name of Acute Polyradiculoneuritis (APN) It affects all dogs the same, but if your pet is prone to infections, for example, due to immune system issues, then feeding raw chicken to your dog may be too dangerous.

In addition to all the aforementioned risks, it is worth it to evaluate the individual situation of your dog before moving ahead with this way of eating. Our advice is to analyze the situation of your pet, and based on that, take it slowly to see how your dog reacts.

incorporate raw chicken in a dogs meal
Be aware of the pros and cons before including raw chicken into your dog’s diet.

Incorporating Raw Chicken in Dog’s Meals

If you’ve considered adding raw chicken to your dog’s diet, here are some helpful tips. Before you proceed, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages.

Add-on to Normal Meals

As you have seen, raw chicken works best as an add-on rather than the sole source of protein for your dog, and hence, you should add it to the normal meal of your dog.

You can start with one-quarter of raw chicken and see how your dog reacts to it. In case you see a positive impact, you can increase it up to 2 quarters. However, always monitor the reactions, due to the potential risks such as too much omega-6 fatty acids.


In case you do not want to make it the sole source of protein after reading the potential risks, then you could include it as a treat because many dogs love it. Therefore, you can include it as a part of the reward system for the training of your pet.

You could simply feed it fresh and raw to your dog, or instead, you could dehydrate it as a chewy treat. Up to you and based on what your dog likes the most. Raw bones can also be a delicious treat if your dg loves them!

raw chicken as a treat for dogs
You can use raw chicken as a reward while you train your pet!


Finally, a good way to include raw chicken is by adding them to meatballs. You can combine it with other protein sources such as beef and lamb, to balance the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids ratio, and to bring in other important nutrients such as zinc, manganese, potassium, and vitamins such as vitamin B-12 and vitamin D.

Feeding Dogs Raw Chicken – FAQs

Feeding raw chicken to your puppy is a controversial topic, and therefore, it gives space to many questions to happen. Below, find the answers to the most frequent ones.

How Much Raw Chicken Should I Feed My Dog?

To make it essential, you should feed your dog raw chicken 2-3 times a day, making each meal about 1 to 3 chicken quarters, depending on the size of your dog. Make sure to include the skin. For a large dog, such as the Alaskan Malamute, it will have to eat approximately 2 pounds of raw chicken.

Nonetheless, due to the nutritional deficiencies of chicken, along with imbalances in the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, you must balance it with other sources such as salmon, which is high in omega-3 and has high concentrations of vitamin B-12 and potassium, which are compounds that chicken lacks.

Can I Feed my Dog Chicken Every Day?

It is not ideal to feed your dog chicken every day as the only source of protein because it lacks a series of important nutrients and minerals such as potassium, manganese, zinc, calcium, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and vitamin E, which could lead to severe nutritional imbalances.

Furthermore, as it has a disproportional rate of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, it could lead to chronic inflammation, given that you solely feed your dog chicken every day.

Can a Dog Get Sick From Eating Raw Chicken?

Your dog can get sick from eating raw chicken in case you use it as the only source of protein, due to its high content of omega-6 fatty acids (approximately 1,660 mg) and lack of important vitamins such as vitamin D and vitamin B-12, as well as minerals such as calcium, manganese, and zinc.

Raw chicken is a good source of protein and it is low in calories, but you need to balance it with other kinds of meat such as beef, salmon, and lamb, due to their superior ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as rich content of minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that raw chicken lacks.

The most important thing is to monitor how your dog reacts because feeding it too much raw chicken can result in dangerous scenarios such as fatal paralysis (Acute Polyradiculoneuritis).

Can I Feed my Dog Raw Chicken Feet?

Chicken feet are a good food for dogs because they mainly consist of cartilage, skin, and connective tissue. They are a nutritious addition to the diet of your pet thanks to their rich content of chondroitin and glucosamine, which support optimal joint and dental health. That is why many owners use them to treat dogs with osteoarthritis.

To bring your dogs the highest bioavailability of glucosamine and chondroitin, it is better to serve them fresh or frozen, as they offer 100% bioavailability. Furthermore, you can also use them as a treat.

Ultimately, feeding your dog raw chicken is your decision as an owner. Consider what your individual requires and make changes as they need it. Raw chicken can be a great benefit for your dog but you must be aware of the risks as well to make a fully informed decision.

One comment on “Raw Chicken for Dogs – Risks, Nutritional Benefits & Recipes”

  1. Sue

    This was a very informative article as I have been considering using raw chicken as an occasional alternative to his regular meal. Had no idea that chicken lacked so many vitamins and had such a great amount of omega 6
    Thank you

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