K9sOverCoffee | Raw chicken for dogs: How to feed, where to buy it & more

Raw Chicken for Dogs: How to Feed, Where to Buy & More

Raw chicken for dogs is loved by some (raw feeders) and hated by others (opponents of raw dog food).

Why is that?

As a raw feeder, I can tell you that cuts of raw chicken are some of the most inexpensive raw meat you can source.

So when money is tight, chicken is the way to go. At least for a while, and we’ll cover why you shouldn’t feed chicken exclusively in this blog post.

However, those opposed to feeding raw dog food are generally fearful of their dogs getting anywhere near raw meat, particularly raw chicken. That’s usually because they automatically associate raw chicken with bacteria such as salmonella.

So why is raw chicken safe for dogs?

Because healthy dogs aren’t affected by bacteria such as salmonella. It’s because their digestive system is very acidic as it’s designed to digest raw meat, including raw chicken.

If you’d like to learn more about the reasons why (healthy) dogs can eat raw dog food no problem, and if you’re curious to find out by how little wolf DNA and dog DNA differs, please check out my blog post:

Simple reasons why dogs can eat raw dog food

That said, there ARE a few caveats as far as how to feed raw chicken to your dog, how NOT to feed it and where to buy it.

I’ll cover those topics in this blog post, as well as:

  • The benefits & downsides of raw chicken for dogs
  • Can I feed my dog raw chicken from the grocery store?
  • Freeze-dried & dehydrated chicken options
  • How do I prepare raw chicken for my dog?
  • Can dogs eat raw chicken eggs?
  • Bonus for non-raw feeders: What to do if dog eats raw chicken breasts

Raw Chicken for Dogs: How to Feed, Where to Buy & More

Raw chicken for dogs: How to feed, where to buy it & more

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

Raw Chicken for Dogs: Benefits & Downsides

I already mentioned that chicken is fairly inexpensive to source. Besides that, it’s a great source of protein, as are all meats in general.

Raw chicken for dogs is also rich in:

  • Calcium. Important for healthy bones.
  • Glucosamine & chondroitin. Important for joint health.
  • Selenium. Important for thyroid metabolism.
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Supports the nervous system, cardiovascular health and helps with niacin synthesis.
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin). Essential for helping dogs convert macronutrients (fats, carbs and protein) into energy.

Here are the two main downsides of (traditionally) farmed raw chicken for dogs:

(1) Poultry has less nutrients than ruminants

Ruminants such as beef, lamb and goat are generally richer in vitamins and minerals.

That’s why it’s important to rotate your protein sources, regardless of whether you make your own raw dog food or if you buy pre-made raw meals.

Dogs who are only fed chicken will be deficient in nutrients.

So when you’re feeding pre-made meals from raw dog food brands, you could feed chicken for one week, followed by beef the week after that, followed by lamb, venison, rabbit, etc. You get the point.

If you’re making your own raw meals, make sure to include cuts of meat from other proteins as well.

Or, similar to the rotation advice I offered above, prepare and feed raw meals with chicken as the main ingredient (muscle meat) for one week, then feed a batch of raw meals with a different protein source as the main ingredient, etc.

(2) Traditionally farmed chicken is richer in Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3 fatty acids.

That’s because soy beans and grains are major components of chicken feed, and both are rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. The issue with Omega-6s is that they increase inflammation within the body while Omega-3s decrease them.

On the other hand, chickens that are allowed to freely roam pastures and aren’t fed regular chicken feed can chose their own food!

That’s an important difference because that means they’ll eat bugs and grubs, snails, seeds, some grasses etc, and will be less rich in Omega-6s.

Which brings us to the next question.

Can I Feed My Dog Raw Chicken From The Grocery Store?

Yes, you can…but.

For starters, most grocery stores carry the following products/cuts of raw chicken:

  • Eggs
  • Liver. Secreting organ.
  • Wings. Raw meaty bones, 45% bone, 55% muscle meat.
  • Thighs. Raw meaty bones, 20% bone, 80% muscle meat.
  • Breasts. Muscle meat.
  • Drumsticks. Raw meaty bones. 33% bone, 67% muscle meat.
  • Leg quarters (you’ll want to remove most of the skin as it’s too fatty). Raw meaty bones, 26% bone, 74% muscle meat.
  • Ground chicken meat. Muscle meat.
  • Gizzards and hearts. Muscle meat.
  • Whole chickens, 30% bone.
Shopping for raw cuts of chicken for raw dog food at the grocery store
Shopping for raw cuts of chicken at a local grocery store in NC (Food Lion)

Sometimes, you can also find chicken feet/paws at certain grocery stores. I personally have seen (and bought) them at Walmart before. They’re great for joint health!

Chicken feet. Raw meaty bone, 60% bone, 40% muscle meat.

Raw chicken feet are sometimes labeled chicken paws (seen at Walmart)
Raw chicken feet aka “paws” at Walmart

However, raw chicken from the grocery store is often treated with sodium, so it’s a good idea to give it a good rinse before using it for raw meal prep! Dogs don’t need all that sodium.

Also, the raw chicken you’ll find at retail/grocery giants such as Walmart, Costco and BJs may not be the most ethically sourced chicken products.

Can I feed my dog raw chicken from the grocery store?

The way chickens are raised, kept and fed is always reflected in their retail price, so that’s something to keep in mind.

As I already mentioned, chickens that are mostly fed grains and soy beans are much higher in Omega-6s than free-range pasture-raised chickens, which are known inflammatories (as opposed to Omega-3s).

Pasture-raised chickens eat a variety of vegetation, insects, grubs and bugs like snails, etc which lower their Omega-6 fatty acid content.

You may find raw cuts of humanely raised chicken that aren’t just corn-, soy- or grain-fed at a local farmer/Farmer’s Market. Back in NC, I was able to source a few high quality chicken products from a farmer nearby:

Chicken liver, feet and eggs from a local farm
Organic raw chicken feet, liver and eggs from a local farm in NC

For other cuts of raw chicken, you’ll have to browse the selection of online raw dog food retailers.

I’m thinking of chicken necks, backs, heads, rib cages and whole prey chicks.

Where Else to Buy Chicken for Raw Dog Food

Below is my list of online retailers that I’m aware of who carry raw chicken.

Please feel free to leave a comment under this blog post or email me at barbara@k9sovercoffee.com if you’d like to share another source you’re aware of!

(1) Raw Paws Pet Food, Indiana

Raw Paws Pet Food carries individual cuts of chicken as well as chicken completes that are ready to be fed as is:

All of these meats are sourced from free-range chickens that are raised on a family farm in Indiana.

Tip: You can save 15% with my affiliate discount code K9Savings.

5 lb of complete ground chicken from Raw Paws Pet Food
Missy with Complete Ground Chicken from Raw Paws Pet Food

(2) Raw Feeding Miami (RFM), Florida

Raw Feeding Miami also carries individual cuts of chicken as well as chicken grinds that are ready to be fed as is:

Raw Feeding Miami’s chicken is sourced from Joyce Farms, whose chickens are grown on small family farms in North Carolina. They state that they use pasture-raising practices that encourage normal chicken activity such as running, pecking, and scratching.

They are fed corn and soy BUT they’re also given access to the outdoors from 9 a.m. until dusk, so the birds can have their own version of “recess” — running, socializing, or just relaxing and catching some rays.

That means they can also have their pick of vegetation and insects.

Additionally, they’re given music to listen to (usually classical, which seems to soothe them), and toys to play with, like these hanging CDs. Chickens love bright shiny objects.

Tip: You can save 10% with my referral discount link.

Putting My Dogs' Raw Meals Together - Part 1- Muscle Meat, Ground Chicken and Green Tripe
Ground chicken & ground green tripe from RFM

(3) My Pet Carnivore (MPC), Indiana

MPC also carries individual cuts of raw chicken for dogs as well as ground raw chicken that is ready to be fed as is:

Here’s what MPC has to say about their chicken sourcing:

[…]Schoenborn Family Farms exclusively provides these products. MPC uses a variety of breeds & some breeds are gamier in scent than others. Most of our birds are retired egg-laying hens from small farms. […] They are raised in Michigan & Indiana. MPC chicken is all-natural &  without enhancements. Our birds are steroid-free & hormone-free. Antibiotic & denaturant-free. Our meats are never irradiated & therefore better in quality than most.[…]

You can see pictures of the animals used for MPC products here.

(4) BJs Raw Pet Food, Pennsylvania

BJs Raw Pet Food also carries individual cuts of chicken as well as a ground chicken blend that is ready to be fed as is:

Here’s what BJs Raw Pet Food says about their animals:

Our meats come from grass fe(e)d animals from local farms that raise animals for BJ’s Raw Pet Food […]

(5) Darwin’s Natural Pet, Washington

Darwin’s Natural Pet offers two different complete recipes featuring chicken, but they don’t offer any individual cuts of raw chicken for DIY raw meal prep:

  • Premium Line made with free-range meats & organic vegetables: Natural Selections Chicken (chicken, chicken necks, gizzards, livers, carrots, lettuce, squash {seasonal}, sweet potato, celery, parsley, organic flaxseed oil, cod liver oil, proprietary vitamin and mineral mix)
  • Value Line made with conventional meats and vegetables: Biologics Chicken (chicken, chicken necks, gizzards, livers, carrots, lettuce, squash {seasonal}, sweet potato, celery, parsley, flax seed oil, cod liver oil, proprietary vitamin and mineral mix)

(6) North Star Bison, Wisconsin

North Star Bison carries several individual cuts of raw chicken for dogs, as well as a chicken blend:

Here’s what North Star Bison has to say about their chickens:

Our Pastured, Soy-Free, Corn-Free Chicken (carcasses are ground together making it easy for your pet to consume and digest).

(7) Grassland Beef, Missouri

Grassland Beef sells mostly individual cuts of meat from pasture-raised chickens:

Here’s what Grassland Beef says about their chickens:

Our pastured poultry are raised on family farms based right here in the United States, where they roam in open pastures pecking insects, worms, grasses, seeds, and whatever else nature intended. Nothing about their lives is rushed or forced, so our chickens, turkeys, and ducks all mature at their natural pace — just as it should be.

(8) RawPetFood4Sale, Florida

RawPetFood4Sale carries individual cuts of raw chicken for dogs as well as prey model chicken blends that are ready to be fed as is:

I couldn’t find any specifics about the way their chickens are raised and/or fed.

(9) Steve’s Real Food, Utah

Steve’s Real Food offers one complete recipe featuring chicken, but they don’t offer any individual cuts of chicken for DIY raw meal prep:

Frozen raw dog food chicken diet:

Ground chicken, ground chicken bone, chicken livers, chicken gizzards, broccoli, carrots, romaine lettuce, cantaloupe, goat’s milk, flaxseed, dried kelp, salmon oil, coconut oil, inulin, taurine, green lipped mussel, ground eggshell).

Here’s what Steve’s Real Food says about their chicken diet:

Steve’s Real Food frozen raw chicken diet for dogs and cats uses free-range, vegetarian-fed chicken.

As of 2023, they also offer a freeze-dried, fermented chicken dog treat called Protein Bites (it’s also available as lamb).

Fermented chicken dog treats by Steve's Real Food

How Do I Prepare Chicken for My Dog?

You can feed your dog the entire bird but without most of the skin as it’s too fatty.

That said, you can cut it up into its different components and then use them in your raw meal prep.

Important note: While you can use many of the different components of a whole chicken for home cooked dog food, you NEVER want to cook any bones and then offer them to your dog.

That’s because cooking changes the bone density. Raw bones are soft and pliable, while cooked bones are brittle and sharp. In that state, they can pose a danger to your dog’s insides, so please be aware of that caveat!

The only time when it’s OK to cook bones for your dog is when you’re making a fresh batch of bone broth.

Spoiler alert: You toss the cooked bones once the bone broth is done simmering.

Organic Raw chicken for dogs
Raw chicken is safe for dogs – I’ve fed it since 2015 and love finding a good chicken deal!

Of course you can also turn them into your very own chicken grinds with the help of a heavy duty raw meat grinder.

For example, the Weston Butcher Series or the STX Turboforce 2 Platinum.

Remember to give your whole chicken a good rinse if you bought it from your local grocery store. That’ll get rid of the sodium it’s treated with.

If you’re not sure about the different components that should make it into your pup’s raw meals, please check out my blog post What does balanced raw dog food consist of?

How do I prepare raw chicken for my dog?

Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Eggs?

Yep!

Eggs are a complete source of protein because they consist of all the building blocks of protein – amino acids.

If they’re organic eggs, you can even feed them with their shell and the membrane.

You can either mix the (organic) egg (and the shell + membrane) in with your pup’s raw dog food or offer it as an in-between snack.

Raw dog food with raw egg

Of course you can also add a cracked raw egg over dog food as a topper and/or to entice a picky eater to eat!

Boosting foster dog Pablo's kibble with an organic raw egg

When you go the snack route, try to offer the egg whole! It’s a great mental workout/food puzzle of sorts to watch your pup figure out how to crack it open.

That said, it’s best to offer it outside or somewhere where clean up is easy!

Tip: Quail eggs, duck eggs and goose eggs are great alternatives for chicken eggs.

You can feed your medium to large dog 2 -3 eggs per week. Limit it to one regular size chicken or duck egg per week for your smaller dog, unless you feed raw quail eggs for dogs.

Due to their small size, you can give your small dog 2- 3 quail eggs per week.

Bonus for Non-Raw Feeders: What to Do If Dog Eats Raw Chicken Breasts

If you’re not a raw feeder and you’re reading this to find out what to do if your dog ate/stole raw chicken breasts, don’t worry!

They’ll be fine.

If your pup has a sensitive stomach, they may end up with an upset tummy because kibble and raw dog food digest at different rates (8 hours for kibble vs 4 hours for raw dog food).

To prevent this from happening, you can add a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar to your pup’s water dish or mix it in with their cooked or dry dog food. If you don’t have any at home, you can find some at your local grocery store.

That will make it easier for your pup’s stomach to digest the raw chicken breasts.

Recommended further reading: Can I feed kibble and raw dog food together?

Freeze-Dried & Dehydrated Chicken Options

Freeze-dried & dehydrated chicken is a good alternative to raw chicken for dogs when you’re traveling or when you’re out of fresh raw meals – just keep one in the pantry.

If you’re on the fence about giving raw dog food a try, these freeze-dried or dehydrated chicken options may be a good starting point:

BIXBI Rawbble freeze-dried chicken dog food

Raw Chicken for Dogs: Bottom Line

So, is raw chicken safe for dogs?

Why yes, it is. You can include it in your dog’s diet.

That includes the following cuts:

  • Feet
  • Wings
  • Necks
  • Heads
  • Rib cages
  • Drumsticks
  • Leg quarters
  • Breast meat

You can feed your dog the entire chicken, including a few feathers here and there if you have access to them. Those are a great source of manganese.

Don’t feed too many feathers though – I like to picture wolves eating chickens from the inside out. They’ll eat a few feathers here and there but will leave most of them behind.

If your pup’s teeth are in poor condition, you can feed them raw chicken mince for dogs.

You can either make your own with specific raw meat grinders, or buy it pre-made from a variety of (online) raw dog food retailers.

Remember to never feed your dog cooked chicken bones, or any cooked bones for that matter! Once they’re cooked, they’re no longer pliable but sharp.

Raw Dog Food Game Changers

BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK RAW DOG FOOD

Save 15% on anything at Raw Paws Pet Food with code K9Savings. They’re located in Indiana and ship nationwide within the US.

BEST VARIETY FOR INDIVIDUAL CUTS OF RAW MEAT

Save 10% on your first order of anything at Raw Feeding Miami with this referral link.

BEST SLOW FEEDER FOR RAW FED DOGS

Mighty Paw’s Slow Feed Insert combined with Yeti’s Boomer 4 Dog Bowl. Both are top rack dishwasher safe.

BEST FOUNDATION FOR BALANCED DIY RAW MEALS

Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm Base Mix. It’s low-carb which is particularly great for dogs on a keto diet and those with health issues like diabetes and cancer.

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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2 responses to “Raw Chicken for Dogs: How to Feed, Where to Buy & More”

  1. Bob Avatar
    Bob

    Great and in-depth information. The only problem for me is this bad economy won’t afford me this luxury for my dog. But I do appreciate all the information for the future.

    1. Barbara Rivers Avatar

      Hi Bob, you’re welcome. I’m sharing the link to one of my blog posts on how to keep raw dog food affordable:

      https://www.k9sovercoffee.com/raw-dog-food-nutrition/my-top-4-tips-to-keep-raw-feeding-affordable/

      Btw, even if you don’t feed your pup a full raw diet, you can still top off their kibble with some fresh foods, for example:

      *Some berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
      *Canned sardines in water or olive oil
      *Raw eggs (chicken, duck, quail)
      *A little plain yogurt

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