Can I Feed My Dog Canned Chicken? Plus a Few Alternatives

You can feed your dog canned chicken, but you don’t want to make it a daily habit. Chicken by itself is great for dogs, but the problem with canned chicken is that it contains excessive sodium. Before feeding your dog canned chicken, put it in a strainer and run water through it to reduce the sodium.

Your four-legged friend is running around his food bowl. He knows it’s dinnertime. You reach for his bag of regular dog food and realize it’s completely empty. The stores around you are closed. The only thing you have in your cabinet that would suffice is canned chicken.

If you’re like most dog owners, you’re probably hesitant to feed your dog anything that isn’t part of their regular diet. You know dogs have sensitive stomachs and that many food items considered “healthy” for humans are toxic for dogs. You know dogs can handle chicken, but what about canned chicken?

Can I Feed My Dog Canned Chicken?

Anything involving chicken seems like an obvious green light for many dog owners. After all, it seems to be the key ingredient in most dog food, including kibble, canned foods, treats, and biscuits that you can find in your local pet store.

Though unseasoned chicken is usually a safe choice for your dog, canned chicken may not be the best option.

With that said, your dog can eat canned chicken, but we don’t recommend feeding it to them daily. We only recommend feeding your dog canned chicken for one-off occasions such as an emergency or when you run out of dog food.

So why can dogs eat raw chicken every day but have to limit canned chicken?


Dogs don’t handle high sodium diets very well. All canned meats, including chicken, are high in sodium.

Too much sodium will not only lead to a lot of trips to the bathroom, but might cause sodium ion poisoning.

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Prepping Canned Chicken For Your Dog

Canned chicken straight out of the can may not be the healthiest option for your dog’s diet.
Due to the high content in sodium, there’s a few things you’ll need to do to ensure it’s suitable for your dog.

The most important step when preparing your canned chicken is to thoroughly rinse out the salt from the chicken in a colander or strainer.

Once washed and drained, you can now feed your dog the chicken.

Keep in mind that just because you rinsed the chicken in a strainer doesn’t mean the chicken no longer has sodium. Yes, rinsing will significantly reduce the amount of sodium, but doesn’t eliminate it.

If Canned Chicken Isn’t The Best Choice – What Are Other Options?

If you are out of dog food and don’t want to feed your dog canned chicken, there are plenty of other options.

Here are some dog friendly food options that you can commonly find in the pantry.

Please note that the foods listed below are not to be given to your dog every day or to completely substitute their regular meals.

Plain White Rice

Rice is a pantry staple for many households and makes for a quick and easy meal for your dog.

This is also a go-to option if your dog has an upset stomach. When preparing the rice, make sure it’s plain. You don’t need to add any seasonings.

We highly recommend feeding your dog plain long grained white rice instead of brown rice. This is because plain long-grained white rice is easier to digest than the latter.

If you have microwavable rice, we suggest reading the ingredients to ensure there are no harmful ingredients. Some microwavable rice products have ingredients that are not healthy for your dog, such as garlic and onion powder/flavors.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is another pantry staple in many households. This dog friendly ingredient is commonly found in many dog treats and biscuits.

In moderation, this can be given to your dog to curve their hunger. Before you give your dog any peanut butter, make sure it does not contain xylitol. This ingredient is harmful to dogs.

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Another thing you should look into when feeding your dog peanut butter is the salt content. It’s better to feed your dog unsalted and organic peanut butter if available.

Canned Fish

If you don’t have canned chicken but have canned fish for that tuna salad you planned on making the other day, your dog will love you for it!

Fish is packed with nutrients, Omega-3 fatty acids, and plenty of lean protein. All these things added up make for a healthy treat if you run out of dog food.

Before feeding it to your dog, make sure the fish is not preserved in oil. Instead, make sure the canned fish is soaked in water.

If you are worried about the salt content, we suggest rinsing the fish just like the chicken before feeding it to your dog.

Canned Pumpkin

Pumpkin is filled with so many nourishing nutrients and vitamins for your dog. Because of its high fiber content, it’s great for your dog’s digestive system.

We suggest that you feed your dog organic, plain, canned pumpkin puree. You don’t want to give your dog pumpkin pie filling or sweetened canned potatoes.

This can cause a severe upset stomach or digestive issues. With no dog food on hand, this is a very healthy snack for your four-legged friend.

Baby Food

Baby food is another healthy alternative for your dog. Canned baby foods such as sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, and other dog friendly foods can fulfill your dog’s hunger.

Baby food is a common ingredient in many homemade dog treats, but we suggest checking the ingredients list on everything that you feed your pup. Make sure these foods aren’t excessively high in sodium (most baby foods aren’t), sugars, or any other harmful ingredients, including any form of garlic and onion.

Harmful Side Effects of Excessive Sodium

Some canned foods make for a quick and easy meal for your dog, but there’s a reason canned foods should not completely replace your dog’s regular food unless you have consulted with your veterinarian.

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Many canned foods are way too high in sodium, leading to diarrhea, seizures, or vomiting. Your dog can also develop health problems for their heart, liver, and kidneys.

Any time you feed your dog canned food that’s high in sodium, rinse it off with water in a strainer.

We understand that sometimes life can get hectic. Please note that if you are unsure about any of the ingredients or food options listed above for your dog, it’s best to play it safe and avoid it.

Remember that any sudden changes in your dog’s diet can lead to diarrhea or an upset stomach, especially if your dog already has digestive issues. We hope you were able to fulfill your dog’s hunger with some of the suggestions above.

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