You have come to this page because your dog has accidentally eaten raw chicken, which is not in its regular diet OR you want to integrate raw chicken diet into its meal.
Perhaps, your pooch does not normally eat raw chicken and today it ate some by accident.
It could be the livestock from your neighbours; or the meat on the kitchen top, when you were preparing the dinner.
This article will answer your queries for both of the reasons above.
Let’s dive into it, shall we?
First thing first:
If the chicken contains bones, it's possible that they might break into sharp pieces that could damage the intestines when moving through the tract.
In this case, keep an eye on any serious symptoms like serious abdominal pain and take them to the vet as soon as possible
What about boneless?This might be less serious.
Your dog might vomit or have some diarrhea due to the fact that they are not used to it. Due to the richness of meat, try not to feed them with food for hours so that their gut can take a break.
You might probably be wondering if raw chicken is really safe for dogs to eat.
The quick answer is YES. Where’s why:
We have always heard that raw meats contain salmonella and bacteria. However dogs’ digestive systems are strong enough compared to humans.
Their wild origins have enabled them to process raw meat like their ancestors used to when hunting for food. (source)
There are exceptions:
Next we will look at the hot debate whether or not giving your dog raw meat is a healthy choice.
Nowadays more pet owners care about what goes into their pet’s food due to the lack of nutritional value of many dog brands on the shelves.
There are even more pet owners changing their dog’s diet into a raw one. It is believed that raw diet is something dogs would normally eat in the wild.
BARF diet, stands for Bones and Raw Food (or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) ,which was suggested by an Australian veterinarian named Ian Billinghurst in 1993. (source)
He proposed that dogs would thrive on the modern diet according to how they ate before domestication; raw meaty bones and scraps of vegetables.
On the other hand, he viewed commercial pet foods containing grains being detrimental to canine’s health.
Canines are carnivores and raw meat eaters. Their digestive systems are able to deal with bacteria better than humans do.
So a dog will not get ill because of e.coli or salmonella if they eat raw meat, including raw chicken. With their amazing digestive tract, it is capable of preventing sickness.
Did you know that your dog has very strong hydrochloric acid in their stomach for meat and bone digestion? (source)
Surprisingly, this acid is 10 times more concentrated than the human counterpart; which is better able to kill any bacteria within the raw meat. (source)
Besides that, their shorter length of gastrointestinal tract allows decaying food to pass through the system in hours instead of days like humans. Thus, it gives little or no chance for bacteria to set foot in their body.
Of course, dogs are not invincible. There are rare cases of dogs contracting e.coli or salmonella poisoning.
For instance, if a pet dog has been brought up from puppyhood with commercial food on the shelves, and the sudden change in diet would very likely make them ill.
Which is why it is very important for pet owners to know that the transition to raw meat diet, even if you just use uncooked chicken meat - it should be gradual, not abrupt.
The bacteria within raw meat might harm your pooch only if they have an impaired immune system or some existing health problems.
Some might say raw diets could cause health problems like pancreatitis and kidney disease.
In fact, the underlying health problem was present and it was just surfaced by the diet change.
This would mean that a dog with existing health problems suddenly ate raw chicken could potentially be sick. Otherwise, healthy pooches generally have a robust system to handle bacteria.
With their anti-bacterial properties in saliva that contains lysozyme, it is able to destroy and lyse harmful bacteria. (source) What a powerful enzyme!
Your dog’s gut is extremely acidic, deterring bacteria from staying for long.
When a dog suffers from salmonella poisoning, we need to think they they might not be in a healthy state.
In comparison, other dogs eat a lot of raw meat, which contains a lot of salmonella, and they are unaffected.
Do not be fooled into thinking kibbled, commercial pet food is a sterile, bacteria-free source of food!
The starches, rancid fats, and sugars in kibbled foods provide much better food sources for bacteria than the proteins in raw meat.
It is no doubt that parasites can exist in raw meat. However if your dog ate meat and uncooked bones bought or gained from places safe for human consumption, parasites do not have a high chance. If there are parasites in the raw chicken that you bought, your fido can handle it safely provided they are healthy.
Did you know that the very low amount of parasites in meat is considered safe for human consumption? Only the most harmful parasites originate from an infected sheep placenta or stillborn calf. (source)
There is no mention of raw chicken meat containing deadly parasites.
If you believe that your pet has been affected by parasites, take a stool and blood sample to get them tested.
A healthy dog’s immune system can cope with parasites long before they have the opportunity to get established because they do not like a healthy host.
Besides, most parasites can be killed through freezing the meat. (source)
If you dog has eaten uncooked bones, you should be less worried. Cooked bones are the culprits!
When bones are cooked, their structure has changed and thus they will splinter and become indigestible.
On the other hands, raw bones rarely splinter and digestible.
It is no doubt that raw bones can cause problems, just as the kibble can. Kibble could cause bloat, choking, telescoping bowel, pneumonia and so on. (source)
The concern for dogs eating raw bones would be them gulping their food or choked by small bones like chicken wings and necks.
To avoid the choking incidents from bones, owners should:
A) Feed meat with bone pieces based on their body size. For instance, a small-sized dog should not be fed with a chicken neck or wing. Instead feed them with a bigger piece of raw chicken to force them to chew slowly.
B) Do not feed cut up bones as the sharp edges will hurt them.
C) Feed meaty bones that are frozen or partially frozen to make your dog work harder and slower.
D) Do not feed big bones of large animals. They can chip and crack your dog’s teeth.
E) Feed meaty bones with lots of meat around them. Bare bones with very little meat should be a no no. Too much bone can cause constipation.
If your dog ate raw chicken by accident, it will be OK because their digestive system is better suited to deal with bacteria from meat than us.
Think about the time when they were all wild and they had to hunt for food for survival.They then ate the whole animal including its fur and bones.
Dogs can eat bones too unless they are cooked. Cooked bones will splinter and hurt them internally.
If you are a health-conscious dog owner who wants to improve your pooch’s diet, raw food diet is the ideal choice compared to commercial dog food on the shelves.
However, introducing your pet to a raw diet has to be gradual. Also, please take note that if your dog has a weak immune system, you should consult your vet first begin doing so.