Most pet owners are a little put off when they see chicken feet. Especially when they still have the nails on. Not an attractive or appetizing sight, I must admit. But what about our pooches? Can dogs eat chicken feet and are chicken feet good for dogs?
Yes, chicken feet for dogs are an excellent, healthy snack. With a few provisos, which we will cover in this article.
Chicken Feet For Dogs
Let’s talk about why chicken feet are good for dogs (and people).
I’m not aiming to be controversial when I say this, however, many dog owners, trainers, vets, websites, etc. recommend you feed chicken feet to dogs because of the glucosamine and chondroitin they contain, each foot is said to contain about 450 grams of glucosamine.
These are natural supplements found in certain foods, chicken feet being one. We tout them as a natural treatment for arthritis in both dogs, cats, and humans.
In my research on this subject, my Frenchie suffered from arthritis, to find something natural to help him, I came across these two supplements.
When we moved to Thailand with him, finding chicken feet was simple. They are on sale everywhere and very cheap. But, I have to say, feeding him one every day for the rest of his life, did nothing for his arthritis. If you read this article, you will get an idea of why – Glucosamine and chondroitin use in canines for osteoarthritis: A review.
So, if I don’t agree with the claims on glucosamine and chondroitin, why do I still recommend chicken feet for dogs?
Feeding Dogs Chicken Feet: Why You Should
Collagen content. Chicken feet are a perfect source of this protein. Upwards of 30% of our bodily protein comes from collagen.
It’s well known the effect that aging has on a body’s ability to produce collagen naturally. That’s why our skin becomes saggy and we suffer from joint pain and osteoporosis.
Other than being good for our skin, nails, hair, and bone health, it’s said to promote better gut health. Chicken feet are also high in calcium content.
One area of a dog’s health that we can often neglect is dental care. It’s something you should consider for your pooches continuing good health if you don’t already.
If it’s ignored, then a lack of dental hygiene will cause periodontal disease and can lead to diseases of the heart, liver, and kidneys. The best way to combat this is to use a doggy toothbrush with specially formulated toothpaste and clean his teeth every day.
But it’s not always that simple. Many dogs will not tolerate a toothbrush in their mouths, and it can become something of a struggle.
Feeding chicken feet to dogs can solve this problem. Chewing on raw chicken feet will help remove the yellow staining on his teeth.
Can I Feed My Dog Cooked Chicken Feet?
You should not feed any cooked bones to dogs. Under the heat, they become brittle and hard. When a dog crunches down on them it’s possible, they will splinter. This can cause pain and damage to a dog’s mouth and gums. If he swallows them, there is the risk of sharp bones puncturing his stomach. Even though chicken feet only contain small bones, there is still the possibility this may happen.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Feet?
Yes, they can and should eat them only raw or dehydrated. I never enjoyed feeding my dog raw chicken feet with the nails still on. I just snipped them off. It may not be the case, but I always felt there might be a choking hazard with nails.
When Can Chicken Feet Not Be Good for Dogs?
If your vet has placed your dog on a very specific diet, say for obesity, then you shouldn’t feed chicken feet to your dog. At least not without talking to the vet first.
Also, should your dog be suffering from pancreatitis then avoid chicken feet, we have known them to cause flare-ups of the disease.
Has your dog exhibited any allergic reactions to chicken? If they have don’t feed chicken feet.
Can Puppies Eat Chicken Feet?
A puppy’s teeth may not crunch through chicken feet, and even if they can, there’s always the risk of damage to the teeth.
It would be more sensible to wait until a puppy is about 8 months old, then they will have their adult teeth and much more likely to chew through chicken feet with no damage.
Frozen Chicken Feet For Dogs
As with any raw chicken, there is a natural shelf life before it goes off. If you buy your chicken feet from your local butcher, then it’s easy to know how fresh they are. Keep some in the fridge and separate the rest into the freezer.
I didn’t like to feed my dog his chicken feet frozen. Even though the bones are soft and pliable coming straight from a freezer makes them rock hard.
I always allowed them time to thaw out before I gave them to him. Less chance of any broken teeth or damage to the gums and mouth.
I would also be careful where you buy them from, especially if you buy them frozen from pet stores. You can’t always guarantee they are from free-range chickens. In Asia, they are regularly eaten by humans, so there is always a plentiful supply that’s quickly turned over, but in the west, it’s not usually the case with chicken feet.
If you buy ready-hydrated chicken feet try not to choose those coming from China. There has been plenty of pet food recalls, especially concerning chicken products from there. The rules regarding food safety are laxer in China than in the west.
Chicken feet are a suitable alternative to high-sugar and high-salt treats for your pooch. They are a superb source of natural nutrients for any dog. They are not nice to look at and they might remind some people of the actual animal, but if you can get over that, they are a great treat.
They do not slaughter chickens to create this treat, rather they are a by-product of the chicken industry. And it makes use of waste that otherwise would have been thrown away.
Don’t feed them to young puppies or dogs having allergic reactions to chicken.
Brad Davenport would love to live in a world where dogs rule (a kinder more caring society). As an experienced writer about dogs he’s been published on numerous websites. When he’s not writing about dogs you can find him with his wife and son on long walks with their feisty, little Havanese, Biscuit.