A dog with an unsure expression looking at raw chicken, indicating caution for dog consumption.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?

In a word, yesβ€”but proceed with caution. Raw chicken can be a contentious topic among dog owners and veterinarians alike. While many dogs can handle raw chicken without issue, there are significant risks involved. The main concern revolves around harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, which can pose health threats to both your dog and your household.

A photo of Stefan Stumpfl, the co-author of this article.

By Stefan Stumpfl, in collaboration with Dr. Ali Raza.

Updated on Jul 9, 2024

Did You Know?

Raw chicken can carry bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter, which can be harmful to both dogs and humans.

Raw Chicken



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Feeding Frequency


Allergic Risk


Benefits and Risks of Raw Chicken

When it comes to raw chicken, the benefits include its high protein content and essential nutrients, which can bolster muscle growth and energy levels. However, the risks are substantial. Bacterial contamination is the most significant danger, potentially leading to severe gastrointestinal issues. Additionally, raw bones present a choking hazard and can splinter, causing internal injuries. Uncooked chicken meat also lacks the balanced nutrients found in specially formulated dog foods.

What Parts of Raw Chicken are Safe or Unsafe?

  • Safe:
    • Chicken breast, thighs, and drumsticks (without bones)
    • Chicken liver in small, infrequent amounts
  • Unsafe:
    • Raw chicken bones
    • Chicken skin (high fat content)

Other Products Containing Raw Chicken

Raw chicken isn't only found in the meat section. Keep an eye out for:

  • Raw dog food meals: Some premade raw food for dogs includes chicken, but always source it from reputable brands.
  • Uncooked chicken in dishes: Be cautious when handling uncooked chicken in your kitchen to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Marinated or seasoned chicken: Seasonings can be harmful to dogs, particularly garlic and onions.

How to Feed Raw Chicken to Your Dog

If you decide to feed your dog raw chicken, do so sparingly and with utmost care. Ensure the meat is fresh and of high quality. Always remove the bones to avoid choking or internal injuries. Serve small, manageable pieces to mitigate the risk of digestive upset. Never give chicken skin due to its high fat content, which can cause pancreatitis. Lastly, maintain rigorous hygiene practices to prevent bacterial spreading.

Common Misconceptions

A prevalent myth is that wolves eat raw meat, so dogs can too. While it's true that dogs share some ancestry with wolves, domestic dogs have adapted differently and are not equipped to handle the same diet without risks. Another misconception is that cooking chicken removes all its nutritional valueβ€”while cooking does alter some nutrients, it primarily makes the food safer by eliminating harmful bacteria.

What If Your Dog Reacts Badly to Raw Chicken?

If your dog shows signs of illness after consuming raw chicken, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, consult your vet immediately. Retain a piece of the chicken to help identify any bacterial contamination or allergens, if advised.

Safer Alternatives to Raw Chicken

If you're looking for protein-rich options without the risks, consider these alternatives:

  • Cooked Chicken: Fully cooked and unseasoned, it eliminates bacterial risks.
  • Turkey: Ground or cooked, turkey offers a leaner protein.
  • Lean Beef: Boiled or grilled, it's easily digestible and satisfying.


In summary, while raw chicken can be fed to dogs, it carries significant risks that should not be overlooked. Prioritize safety by considering thoroughly cooked alternatives and always consult with your vet before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet. Remember, ensuring the health and wellbeing of your furry friend should always come first.