Critter talk: Should you feed your dog raw chicken?

A less conventional but most effective food resource for your dog is the BARF diet.   It sounds gross, but BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. When you stop and think about it, practically 100% of what you feed your dogs is essentially processed food. How do you think you’d feel if you ate nothing but processed foods all day? Probably a bit sluggish, right?

dog eating banana

Dogs didn’t evolve eating processed foods; they evolved eating raw foods. And, according to some dog experts, we’re negatively impacting their health and well-being when we feed them processed kibble 100% of the time. I like to mix it up a bit.

Feeding your pet a BARF diet improves their health, improves their teeth, gums, and breath, strengthens their immune system, improves their coat, reduces or eliminates allergies, and reduces your vet bills because your pets are now getting a more well-rounded diet.

That’s the hype and I’m not certain all of that is true.  I can only speak from years of experience as a trainer and dog lover and I know that a diet that consists of a good quality kibble, along with raw meat, fish and poultry, makes for better coats and more vitality.  The dogs of course would agree.  So hopefully I can answer the most common questions right here.

What raw foods can you feed your pets? Here’s a list, and keep in mind that all meats should be uncooked and 60 to 80% of their raw food diet should consist of raw meat.  Remember the operative word here is UNCOOKED meat.

  • Meats: raw eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, venison, turkey, rabbit, fish, buffalo, ostrich
  • Vegetables and Grains: broccoli, carrots, romaine lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, summer squash, asparagus, rice, oatmeal, kale
  • Dairy: cottage cheese, plain yogurt
  • Fruit: bananas, mango, apples
  • Oils: olive oil, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, hemp oil

Foods NOT to Feed Your Dog

The following foods can be poisonous or create some hazard to your dog:

  • Avocado (more from ingesting the seed than eating the meat)
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Apple seeds
  • Cherry pits
  • Walnuts
  • Potato leaves and stems (any green parts)
  • Alcohol, or alcoholic beverages

If you’re interested in starting a raw food diet for your pet, it’s important to know what you should be feeding them, and how much in each category, to ensure that your dog stays healthy and strong.  I feed my dogs raw chicken on a regular basis, although I only feed backs, wings, and thighs.  I don’t feed chicken legs or breast as the bones in these pieces can be troublesome even if the meat is uncooked.

It is important to care for the chicken prior to feeding as if you were going to eat it yourself, in other words don’t leave it out.  Keep it refrigerated or frozen before you feed to your dogs so you don’t risk bacterial contamination such as salmonella.  I invariably feed mine the frozen parts because the dogs seem to enjoy the chomping process.

There are any number of great books out there that speak to the raw food, or natural diet.  Check them out at Amazon or your local library.

Let us know in the comments section what you feed your dog.

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Posted by on June 9, 2011. Filed under Advice,Advice,Animals,CRITTER TALK. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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15 Responses to Critter talk: Should you feed your dog raw chicken?

  1. Leslie Parsley

    June 9, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I just wish I had a dog to feed. 🙁 Informative article.

  2. greenlight

    June 9, 2011 at 10:06 am

    My “resident expert” says raw chicken is okay, and all that I know is that the dogs don’t seem to mind it, they’ve never had an issue with it, and they have more beautiful coats than I’ve ever seen. Who knew?

  3. lasersedge

    June 9, 2011 at 10:31 am

    “although I only feed backs, legs, and thighs. I don’t feed chicken legs or breast as the bones”

    Mike, you mention that you feed them “legs and thigh” but don’t feed them chicken legs. I am confused?

    • A Michael J. Scott

      June 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      Oh no! I meant wings. Thanks Bill for your diligence.

  4. Cheshire Cat

    June 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    A very helpful article and I learned a lot. I wouldn’t have thought about feeding raw chicken. The purpose behind not cooking being the bones become brittle?

  5. bsranch

    June 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I don’t think the bones hurt them as long as they are used to them and they aren’t given in little peices. Our dogs regularly catch and eat rabbits and mice and rats. The bones don’t bother them at all. Also if you see what my dogs eat that they find you wouldn’t be so worried about how you handle the meat, they are scavengers and if wild would eat carion. Mine eat dead things and calf manure. I try to keep that to a minimum but they can be very deaf when they have a good tasty rotten hunk of something barely identifiable. One thing I would advise is regular wormings if they eat wild animals.

    • lazersedge

      June 9, 2011 at 8:12 pm

      Oohh! My dog would never eat such things. He is one spoiled child. He thinks that all dogs live in air conditioned homes, ride in BMW’s, and get fresh meat every day. They even get quarter pounders from McDonald’s with fries. He also loves his sweet potatoes and and corn on the cob.

      • Anonymous

        December 3, 2012 at 2:30 am

        Good grief, that is going to be one unhealthy dog.

        • Michael John Scott

          December 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

          On the contrary. A raw diet, when properly administered, makes for one very HEALTHY dog.

  6. Anonymous

    October 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    i just spoke with someone that said i should feed my dog raw foods, I was uncertain.

    I have been giving him apples,pears and Carrots to snack on.

    what can i give him as far as raw chicken and beef. I hear chicken backs?? so does that mean with bones and eveything?

    Please explain.

    Thank you


    • Michael John Scott

      October 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Chicken backs, and wings, UNCOOKED, are fine, as are the veggies you are giving them. Be careful of fruit products, especially grapes.

  7. Linda

    May 31, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks for your great info! Had no idea,I have 2 Great Pyrenees that r chomping away on some really nice beef leg bones uncooked:)i have put this pg on my Facebook hoping everyone sees it… Thanks again Micheal…

  8. Ray

    August 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I work at a kennel that trains police/military/SAR dogs. We feed all of our Belgian Mals, Shepherds, and Labs raw chicken backs. Once a week we give them all a 1c scoop of Blue Buffolo for minerals and such. Their poops stay tight and chalky and their skin and fur looks amazing. They have the best breath ever too! Once I saw this, I put my own dog on a raw diet. She is a Bichon, so I went with the buffolo meat, raw carrots, blueberries, steel cut oats, and swap out plain yogurt and fish oil every other day. She doesn’t scratch anymore, and she has TONS of energy for a 10 year old dog.

  9. Michael Scott

    August 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    This sounds like an ideal diet Ray. Thanks for the feedback.