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Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat chicken?

Plain, unseasoned chicken is generally OK — but chicken bones are very unsafe.

In some homes, chicken is a staple meal. If that’s the case for your family — whether it's grilling, baking or broiling — you’ll likely spot your pup at your feet while cooking away. 

And if you want to treat your dog to a little bit of chicken, they’re in luck. According to Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, this snack is mostly safe for dogs, but there are a few caveats. Keep reading to learn how serving chicken might alter your dog’s food expectations. 

(Even though chicken is generally safe for your pet, always consult your vet before introducing new foods to their diet.)

Is chicken good for dogs? 

Dogs benefit from eating chicken as it’s lower in fat than other meat alternatives, a good protein source and (depending on how the chicken is cooked and your pup's allergies) doesn’t usually upset their stomachs. Just make sure chicken doesn't make up more than 10% of your pet’s daily diet without consulting your vet.  

“Chicken is often recommended to feed to dogs when their stomach is upset or when they aren’t feeling well and don’t want to eat their dog food,” Dr. Singler explains. “It can often entice them to eat again.”

Are there any health risks when feeding dogs chicken?

Feeding your pup chicken (or any human food) can encourage them to become picky eaters, Dr. Singler says. And adding this food to your dog’s diet can alter their daily nutritional balance and sometimes add extra calories, leading to them becoming overweight

RELATED: Can dogs eat turkey?

Can dogs eat raw chicken? 

Similarly for humans, raw chicken isn’t safe for dogs, as it can cause food-borne illnesses that lead to vomiting, diarrhea or severe illnesses. 

How should pet parents serve chicken to their dogs? 

White-meat chicken is best served to dogs when it’s boneless, skinless and has been baked or broiled without sauce or seasonings, Dr. Singler recommends.

Onion and garlic powder, in general, should be avoided, as they are toxic to dogs if enough is consumed,” Dr. Singler adds.

Can dogs eat chicken bones? 

In no capacity are chicken bones safe for dogs to eat — they can splinter and damage your pet's insides. If your dog eats a chicken bone, you should contact your vet for advice.

Check out our guide to finding the best dog chew toys for a safe alternative.

Are dogs allergic to chicken? 

Even though chicken is a popular ingredient in dog food, pups can be allergic to it.

Food allergies can present as vomiting and/or diarrhea that can be bloody or other signs of an upset stomach,” Dr. Singler says. “An allergic reaction to chicken can also cause skin problems including itchiness, irritation and secondary skin infections.”

Happy snacking

We're confident that chicken isn’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series "Can dogs eat … ?" to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what's fair game.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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