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Can Dogs Eat Dark Meat Chicken?

Dark meat chicken is a meat that has risen in popularity because it is rich in proteins, but how safe is it? Let’s take a look at dark-meat chicken for your best buddy.

Choosing what dog food to feed your best friend is an important step that can affect their overall well-being. Many pet parents are looking for more natural ingredients that offer high-quality nutrition.

Some dog owners are choosing raw meat for their furry friends because they believe it represents a more natural diet. Other pet owners are pondering the nutritional value of different types of meat as they search for a good source of protein for their pooch.

Dark meat chicken is a meat that has risen in popularity because it is rich in proteins, but how safe is it? Let’s take a look at dark-meat chicken for your best buddy.

How Nutritious Is Dark Meat Chicken?

can dogs eat dark meat chicken

Dark meat chicken is a rich source of various proteins, which help your best friend develop strong muscles and improve overall health. But white meat chicken is also rich in protein. It typically has 26 grams of protein in 3 ounces, whereas dark meat has 23 grams.

Dark meat is, however, more nutrient-dense. Because it has a higher fat content than white meat, it has approximately twice as many omega-3 fatty acids. It also has a higher myoglobin content, which means it has more iron and zinc than white meat.

Dark meat chicken is also abundant in certain vitamins, such as B6, B12, and niacin, as well as minerals like selenium, phosphorus, and of course, zinc.

What are the Nutritional Cautions of Feeding Dark Meat Chicken to Your Dog?

While dark meat is abundant in vitamins, minerals, and protein, there are some reasons to be cautious when feeding it to your best friend. Let’s take a look at some of those.

Fat Content

Chicken, in general, is a low-fat food; however, dark meat is higher in fat than white meat. A three-ounce serving of dark meat has two grams of fat, whereas white meat only has one gram. Fats are a necessary part of a healthy diet, but of course, excessive amounts can lead to obesity.

Additionally, a higher level of fat can cause digestive issues. Fatty meats can upset your dog’s stomach, and they can cause gastritis, gastroenteritis, and even pancreatitis. Those types of digestive issues can result in diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, dehydration, and, if it goes untreated, death.

Calorie Content

Dark meat is also higher in calories than white meat. That three-ounce serving of dark meat contains 174 calories as compared to only 147 for white meat. Whether or not you let your dog eat dark meat chicken may be a matter of managing his weight.

If your pooch is prone to obesity, it may be better to stick to white-meat chicken. Even if your dog is not obese, it’s important to feed dark meat in moderation because of it’s higher calorie and fat content.

Food Allergies

As with any food, it’s possible your dog might have or develop a food allergy to dark meat chicken. For that reason, it’s important to observe your dog for any signs of an allergic reaction.

These might include an upset stomach, itching, a skin rash, or, in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. Of course, if you see these symptoms, it’s a good idea to call your veterinarian.

How Do You Prepare Dark Chicken Meat for Your Dog?

instant pot dog food recipe

There are a few things to be aware of when preparing dark meat for your furry friend. Here are a couple of pointers.

  • Go Boneless: The first thing to remember when preparing dark chicken meat for your buddy is that you don’t want to feed bones. Cooked chicken bones are a choking hazard for your pooch, and they can become lodged in the intestinal tract and cause blockages. What’s more, they can splinter and cause damage to the intestinal tract.
  • Go Skinless: You also want to remove the skin as it is high in fat. Additionally, some food producers put seasonings in the skin that can be harmful to your dog.
  • Boil It: Boiled skinless chicken breast isn’t the only cut you can use! Boiled chicken has all the protein, vitamins, and minerals that your dog’s diet should include, but it is also gentle. That means you can feed it to dogs with sensitive or upset stomachs.
  • No Seasonings: Anytime you prepare food for your dog, you should cook it plainly, without any seasonings, added oils, or other ingredients that might harm your buddy.
  • Avoid Raw Chicken: Before you feed your dog raw chicken, you should consider that, as with any other meat, it can be harmful to your dog unless it is handled carefully. There is always the risk of salmonella or other bacterial contaminants that could cause health issues for your puppy. Though raw food has become popular recently, it needs to be handled with care to avoid problems. For this reason, it’s usually best to stick to cooked chicken.
  • Check with Your Vet: It’s always a good idea to check with your vet before making changes to your dog’s diet. You want to make sure the change is a good choice for your dog. It’s ideal to talk to a veterinary nutritionist so that you can ensure your buddy gets what he needs for a long, healthy, and happy life.

Can All Dogs Eat Dark Meat Chicken?

Dark meat chicken can be a healthy part of your dog’s balanced diet, but it doesn’t provide your dog with all of the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals he needs. You want to feed in moderation to avoid digestive system upset, and you want to include other foods to ensure he will get everything he needs.

That said, dark meat chicken is a good choice for puppies because of their specific nutritional needs, given their rapid development. You’ll want to watch the portions and feed only that which is suitable for their age, size, and breed.

Speaking of breeds, there is no breed that should avoid dark chicken, but take care with dog breeds that are prone to food allergies or sensitivities. They may need closer monitoring for reactions to new food.

How Does Dark Meat Chicken Compare to Other Protein Sources?

supplements for homemade dog food

Dark meat chicken is typically leaner than other meats, including beef and fish, and it is rich in essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. That means it is one of the more beneficial protein sources, but it should be fed in moderation.

Diversity in protein sources is important for a balanced diet because different meats have different nutrient profiles. So, while dark meat chicken is a good protein source, it’s also good to mix it up once in a while.

Can You Feed Your Dog Dark Meat Chicken Human Food?

It’s usually not a good idea to feed your dog human food. While dark meat chicken for dogs is a good choice in moderation, human food usually has seasons added to the skin, and those could be harmful to your dog.

The best plan is to set aside a piece of plain, cooked chicken before you add any seasons. That way, you can both enjoy your meal.

How Often Can You Feed Your Dog Dark Meat Chicken?

Of course, you keep hearing that you should feed your dog dark meat chicken in moderation, but what does moderation mean? As a general rule, dark meat chicken should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s diet on a daily basis.

That may vary depending on your dog’s age, size, breed, and health status, so it’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian first. You want to make sure your buddy stays healthy.

Keep It Healthy

JustFoodForDogs has several recipes that include dark meat chicken as a protein source, like our Chicken & White Rice recipe. With your dog’s health in mind, our food is made only with whole, fresh ingredients and no preservatives.

They are dedicated to providing nutritional meals for every dog. They gently cook their food and ensure it provides human-grade nutrition. If you want your pooch to have healthy recipes that he loves, kick the kibble today!

This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional nutrition and/or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific nutrition and/or medical recommendations. Please talk with your veterinarian about any questions or concerns.