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Is chicken dangerous for my dog?

Do you feed your dog chicken? Most dogs love the taste of chicken and it is a favourite for many. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when giving your dog chicken.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

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Raw chicken

If you feed raw chicken, it is important to be aware that the chicken can contain bacteria that in some cases can make the dog unwell. For example, chicken may contain Salmonella, Campylobacter or ESBL (Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase) bacteria that carry resistance genes against certain antibiotics. These are also potentially dangerous to humans. Good hygiene is therefore essential when handling raw chicken or giving it to your dog. Food bowls and surfaces that the dogs have eaten from should be disinfected after the dog has finished eating. If your dog is currently receiving a course of prescribed antibiotics, it may be a good idea not to feed raw chicken or similar raw food, until after the treatment course is finished. This is because bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics.


Drumsticks

Parts of a whole chicken, such as the thighs or wings can pose a serious risk to dogs. This is because pieces can get stuck in a dog's throat, stomach or the intestine. When the bones are crunched, it creates sharp ends which can pierce the delicate walls of the digestive system. Cooked bones are more brittle, and therefore shatter more easily than raw bones, however both pose a risk. If you feed raw chicken legs as part of your dog’s diet, it is advisable to supervise their meal times. Many dogs are eager to eat and, if they eat very quickly, there is also a risk that chicken legs could get stuck in the dog's throat. We would recommend preparing your dog’s food safely to avoid these risks. Read our article for advice on how to help your dog to slow their eating and make the most out of meal times.


Spices

It is tempting to let dogs taste a piece of chicken, or have leftovers, from meals that we have cooked for ourselves and our families? It is important to remember that some spices used in cooking chicken can irritate a dog's stomach, resulting in symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea. In this case, it is better to scrape off any spices before giving it to your dog. Why not cook a separate piece for your dog without any spices?


Dried chicken treats

There is a huge range of dog treats with dried chicken available, which many dogs love. When using training aids or feeding treats, we would recommend reducing some of their allocated daily food allowance in order to avoid excess calories and over-feeding your dog. When selecting treats for your dog, it is important to avoid those that contain additives or preservatives, and to always provide your dog with access to plenty of fresh water. If your dog shows signs of dehydration, increased thirst or urination, or they are off colour, always seek veterinary advice. Read more about how to do a simple examination of your pet at home here.


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