Can I Give My Dog Raw Chicken Wings?

Raw chicken wings are considered safe for your dog. Raw chicken wings contain a high amount of protein, which supports hormone production, strong nails, and a healthy coat. They also contain plenty of fatty acids which will provide energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy skin. 

Much like the debate over whether or not it’s safe to give bones to dogs, giving raw meat, such as chicken, to dogs is a hotly debated topic.

The short answer is that dogs can usually eat raw chicken wings with no consequences, but there are some risks involved.

Some dog owners do it all the time and have no problems, and others would never even consider it. Let’s take a look at those who say it’s fine, those who say it’s dangerous, and how to do it in the safest way possible.

Pros of Feeding Raw Chicken Wings

The raw dog food movement has grown in popularity in the recent years, with more and more dog owners wanting to feed their dogs natural, whole food ingredients.

Often, raw chicken, specifically raw chicken wings, is one of the main ingredients in a raw dog food diet.

Some dog owners feed their dogs’ commercial food and just want to give the raw chicken wings as an occasional treat.

Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on, here are some benefits of feeding dogs raw chicken wings.

Small, Soft Bones

The bones in raw chicken wings are soft and small, making them less of a choking hazard than some other bones.

Most dogs can easily crunch them up as easily as kibble, so they’re thought to present less of a choking hazard.

Remember that cooked chicken bones become brittle and splinter easily, resulting in jagged pieces that can really cause harm to your dog’s insides.

Excellent Source of Protein

Raw chicken wings are an excellent source of protein, which dogs need a lot of.

Protein is fundamental to muscle growth but also vital to many other bodily functions, including:

  • strong nail growth
  • healthy skin and coat
  • hormone production
  • joint health

Of course, commercial dog foods are full of protein as well, so feeding your dogs raw chicken wings is far from the only way to get them enough protein.

Cooked chicken without the bone is another way of getting protein into your dog’s diet with less risk.

Lots of Fatty Acids

Raw chicken wings contain a ton of fatty acids, which are necessary for good health.

Fatty acids have many jobs in a dog’s body, like:

  • Providing energy
  • Aiding in vitamin and mineral absorption
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Promoting good skin and coat health

However, if the chicken was fed mostly corn and soy rather than natural grasses, some say that the balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids will be off, which is not optimal for dog health.

It’s always best to choose chicken that’s raised as naturally as possible whenever you can.

Cons (Dangers) of Feeding Raw Chicken Wings

For every argument for feeding raw chicken wings to dogs, there seems to be a counterargument against it.

Here are some of the most common concerns that experts have regarding feeding raw chicken wings to dogs.

Choking

One of the most common reasons that people don’t like feeding raw chicken wings to their dogs is because of the potential for choking on the bones.

However, that’s usually because of a misunderstanding. Cooked chicken bones are one of the worst things you can give a dog because the bones sharply splinter. But raw chicken bones don’t splinter and are much softer on the teeth than many other bones.

Digestive Blockages

Although the bones in chicken wings are relatively small, they do still present the risk of causing blockages in the body, namely, the:

  • esophagus
  • windpipe
  • stomach
  • intestines

Bone fragments can not only cause blockages, but they can also sometimes perforate through the organ in which they’re stuck, leading to a potentially life-threatening situation.

Stuck bone fragments can cause your dog distress and pain and can cost you a lot of money in vet bills.

Food Poisoning

The most dangerous aspect of feeding your dog raw chicken wings, or any raw meat for that matter, is the danger of food poisoning.

Cooking food kills harmful bacteria that can otherwise make your dog very sick. Bacteria is responsible for:

  • Salmonella infection
  • Listeriosis
  • Campylobacter infection
  • Polyradiculoneuritis

These conditions can seriously compromise a dog’s health and are fatal if not caught and treated in time.

The best case scenario is a slight bacterial infection from eating raw meat that only results in vomiting and diarrhea for a few days. The worst case is the dog dying from something that could have easily been prevented by cooking the meat.

Unhealthy Chicken

As we learn more about the food we eat and feed our dogs, the concern over unnatural diets and hormones given to the animals that become our dog’s food is growing.

We don’t know yet whether any ill effects from hormone-riddled chicken are worse when the meat is raw, but some people prefer not to take any chances.

Constipation

Dogs that regularly feast on bones can suffer from constipation, so many experts recommend feeding your dog meat containing bones no more often than twice a week.

This is something that people who want to use raw chicken wings as a main diet staple should be aware of.

Diarrhea and Vomiting

For dogs not used to eating raw chicken bones, getting a hold of one can cause an upset stomach, complete with vomiting and diarrhea.

This is often because of the richness of the wing compared to kibble, but some dogs are sensitive to dietary changes no matter what it is.

How to Feed Raw Chicken Wings Safely

Now that you know some reasons for and against feeding raw chicken wings to your dog, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of whether you’re going to do it.

If you decide to feed them to your dog, here are a few suggestions for how to do so as safely as possible.

Choose High-Quality Chicken

As we mentioned earlier, there is growing concern over eating farm animals that have been raised on unnatural diets or given hormones.

For this reason, we recommend choosing cage-free, organic chicken that’s raised as naturally as possible if you’re going to be feeding it to your dog.

This especially makes sense if you’re looking to replace store-bought food with homemade. If you’re concerned about getting your dog the healthiest, most natural diet possible, start by choosing the healthiest possible ingredients.

Make Sure It’s Fresh

If you’re going to be feeding your dog raw meat of any kind, make sure it’s the freshest meat you can get.

The longer meat sits around, either in your home or in the store or processing plant, the more chance bacteria has to grow and multiply.

While all raw meat is going to contain some bacteria, it doesn’t become a problem until the number of harmful bacteria on the meat is plentiful enough to outweigh the beneficial bacteria in your dog’s gut.

Practice Food Safety

This section very much goes along with the previous one. Practicing food safety is all about keeping food fresh and safe to eat.

This means never leaving raw meat out at room temperature. This is because bacteria thrives in room temperature conditions, so raw meat must either be cooked to kill the bacteria or refrigerated to slow its growth.

Put raw chicken wings in the fridge as soon as possible after buying them to reduce the time that bacteria can quickly multiply.

Keep in mind, bacteria will still grow in the fridge, just more slowly. So it’s still important to make sure the meat is fresh and used within a few days of buying it.

Also, be sure to keep all kitchen surfaces and your dog’s food area clean and sanitized to prevent cross-contamination.

Make an Informed Decision

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when deciding whether to feed raw chicken wings to your dog. Do your research and familiarize yourself with potential problems so that you’re making an informed choice.

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