Is chicken in dog food good for dogs? A Complete Guide

What are the benefits of chicken in dog food?

In pet food, chicken is defined as clean flesh and skin derived from the whole carcass of a chicken. Like most meats, it’s provides with protein and essential amino acids, which are key for building strong muscles. And of course, chicken adds rich, meaty taste your dog craves.

Why Is Chicken Meal Used in Dog Food?

“When we’re making pet food, we need a certain proportion of wet and dry ingredients and also need to balance the nutritional needs of pets,” says Dr. RuthAnn Lobos, a Purina Veterinarian. “By drying and grinding up the chicken, the end product is a concentrated, bioavailable protein source.” “If we tried to use all chicken breasts for example, which are about 75% moisture, to make kibble, it would be way too watery and would not come out properly through the extrusion process,” says Lobos.

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On occasion, veterinarians are asked by patients why their dog can’t exclusively eat chicken. This question usually stems from a finicky dog that is given chicken to help encourage eating, resulting in them only wanting chicken and not the food items that make up a balanced diet. Exclusively feeding chicken meat to dogs does not provide a nutritionally adequate diet.

Dogs have a daily nutritional requirement beyond protein and amino acids, including essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. While chicken meat, cooked or raw, will adequately fulfill a dog’s protein and amino acid requirement, and a portion of their essential fatty acid requirement, their diet will be lacking in vitamins and minerals. For example, 2 cups of boiled, chopped, boneless, skinless chicken breast per day will fulfill the caloric needs of a neutered, ideal body-weight dog at 16-19lbs. However, this diet is lacking in the following nutrients recommended by The Association of American Feed Control Officials 2016 guidelines for adult maintenance:

  • Folate
  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamin
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Nutrient deficiencies can place an animal at risk for numerous nutritionally-mediated diseases. The most vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies are growing animals. Puppies require higher concentrations of nutrients in their diet to fulfill the needs of their growing bodies. Feeding an unbalanced diet to a puppy most often contributes to orthopedic disease, leading to skeletal abnormalities and fractures.

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