In moderation, chicken fat is good for dogs. It’s high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which are important building blocks for your dog’s body. However, chicken fat is also high in calories, which means too much chicken fat will lead to excessive weight gain.
Chicken fat can be a part of a healthy, well-balanced diet for your dog. But the key, as always, is moderation and keeping that important balance between protein, carbs, and fat.
Chicken fat is found in many commercial dog foods on the market, and it’s best to allow the experts to figure out the right amount to maintain a good balance of nutrients for your dog.
The Importance of Fat in Your Dog’s Diet
Fats offer a quick energy release for dogs. Your dogs body prefers to use fats as an energy source before protein and carbs, so getting the right amount of healthy fats in their diet is critical.
Higher fat diets are especially important in colder climates and for dogs that exert a lot of energy throughout the day. This includes working dogs (like sled dogs or herding dogs).
Dogs in cold climates need more energy to stay warm, and the fat in their diet gives them that quick energy to maintain their body heat.
Chicken Fat is Used in Many Commercial Dog Foods
Chicken fat is often found as an ingredient in commercial dog foods because it’s a great source of fat, makes the food taste great for your dog, and helps with consistency.
Although it’s technically a by-product of the process that makes chicken meal for dog foods, that doesn’t make it any less nutritious.
Dogs need a certain amount of healthy fat in their diets, and animal fat is a great source. Other sources of healthy fats used in dog foods include oils from plants and seeds, like safflower oil and sunflower oil.
The percentage of fat in commercial dog food varies quite a bit. On a calorie basis, dog food might contain anywhere from 25% to 60% fat, but fat is very calorie dense. A gram of fat has more than double the amount of calories (9) compared to a gram of protein and carbs (4).
Dry dog food is usually on the lower end of this range, and wet dog foods are generally on the upper end.
On a weight basis, which most dog food labels provide, the percentage of fat is about half that. The minimum recommended amount of fat in your dog’s diet is about 5% by weight, but most foods are well above that.
Benefits of Chicken Fat in Your Dog’s Diet
Chicken fat tastes excellent for your dog, plain and simple. Not only does it provide an excellent source of fat, but it makes the food desirable. Chicken fat is also an easily digested animal fat, which means the dog’s body can quickly convert the fat into energy.
Chicken fat is high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which are important building blocks for your dog’s body.
Your dog can’t produce Omega fatty acids on their own, so they need a good source of them in their diet.
When dog’s don’t get enough healthy fats in their diet, it can lead to dry, itchy skin and a dull coat. Chicken fat promotes healthy skin, coat, and immune system for your dog.
Risks of Feeding Chicken Fat
Fat is more calorie-dense than both proteins or carbs, so a little goes a long way. That’s why you’ll usually see it lower on the list of ingredients in your dog’s food because it makes up a smaller portion of the overall recipe.
Feeding your dog extra chicken fat can add too many calories to their diet and lead to weight gain.
Fatty foods also have a greater chance of upsetting your dogs stomach. This is why we don’t recommend giving your dog chicken fat as a treat or adder to his food.
High-fat content can irritate the gastrointestinal system and lead to symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. If you’re switching your dog’s food to one that has higher fat content, make the change gradually. Introduce a bit of the new food at a time, and phase out the old to avoid stressing your dog’s stomach.
Risk of Pancreatitis
Feeding your dog foods that have a high-fat content, like chicken fat, can cause Pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, and it can be life-threatening to dogs. There are many possible causes (like obesity), but one of them is a high-fat diet.
When your dog’s pancreas becomes inflamed, the enzymes it releases to support digestion activate too early and cause damage to the organ and the surrounding tissue. The inflammation can spread and damage other organs.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, continued vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or fever. If you think your dog might have Pancreatitis, especially if any of these symptoms are persistent, call your vet right away.
Pancreatitis often seems to hit without warning, but the best thing you can do to help prevent an emergency vet visit is to pay attention to the diet from the very beginning.
Follow feeding guidelines for your dog’s commercial food and your vet’s recommendations on fat content. Once your dog has had Pancreatitis once, it’s more likely to occur again, so it’s important to monitor their diet from the start, even if they don’t show any symptoms and seem perfectly healthy.
Should I Feed My Dog Extra Chicken Fat?
No. It’s best served as an ingredient in commercial dog food. And it is relatively common in many dog foods on the market, so it’s not hard to find.
We don’t recommend feeding chicken fat to their dogs straight or even adding it to their meals because it’s hard to get the portions right.
Although chicken fat is a healthy part of your dog’s diet, it needs to be properly incorporated. Commercial dog food companies spend a lot of time and money to make sure they get their recipes right.
The chicken fat needs to be balanced with the right amount of protein and carbohydrates to keep your dog healthy. Because chicken fat contains many calories, it also needs to be limited to ensure your dog doesn’t consume too many calories and risk obesity.
What Are Some Delicious Alternatives?
If you want to add something to your dog’s commercial dog food to make it more flavorful, we recommend small amounts of lean protein, like cooked chicken breast or a low sodium chicken broth. Both can be mixed into your dog’s dry kibble.
Lean meat is flavorful and an excellent source of protein. You can also switch it up, giving your dog chicken one day, turkey the next, and lean ground beef later in the week.
Low sodium chicken broth is a tasty option without adding too much fat into your dog’s diet. It can also be an excellent way to add moisture to their food, making it more appetizing for them to eat.
What If My Dog Is Allergic to Chicken? Can They Still Have Chicken Fat?
If your dog is allergic to chicken, they are actually allergic to the protein found in chicken. So, they should still be able to safely eat chicken fat since it doesn’t contain any chicken protein.
Chicken fat is produced as a by-product of making chicken meal. During this process, all the protein is separated from the fat.
If you’re worried about your dog’s allergies, always consult your vet before choosing a dog food brand or switching to a new one. Your vet will review the ingredients with you and help you decide on the right one for your dog.
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