Does your dog have diarrhea after eating chicken? Are you concerned about feeding your dog chicken, because you’ve heard it can give them diarrhea? On the other hand, perhaps you’ve read that chicken is good for dogs with diarrhea.
You are used to hearing conflicting information about your diet. Some sources state that low fat is the way to go, while others swear by a high protein and low carb diet. Contradictory information can also be a problem when it comes to your dog’s diet.
Is chicken good for your dog’s stomach, or will it cause diarrhea?
Can chicken give my dog diarrhea?
Chicken is a common ingredient in most dog foods, and it’s considered a normal part of their diet. It’s rare for a dog to get diarrhea from eating chicken, but it does happen.
The most common reason chicken causes diarrhea is due to bacteria in the chicken. This typically occurs when the chicken is raw or undercooked. However, you can feed your dog raw chicken if you take the necessary precautions, with little risk. More on that soon.
Cooked chicken bones pose a danger to your dog. Once they are cooked, they become very hard and brittle. When your dog munches on them, they can splinter. They are essentially swallowing small needles, which can cause cuts inside their digestive tract.
In this case, the diarrhea will be bloody, because of internal bleeding. Other signs that chicken bones have caused your dog to become ill include poor appetite, vomiting, lethargy, gagging, drooling, and coughing.
Chicken isn’t known as a high fat food. However, if your pooch eats a significant amount of chicken skin, they are also getting quite a bit of fat. Dogs don’t process fat as well as humans do.
If there’s too much fat to be absorbed properly in the stomach, it makes its way into the colon. These fatty acids cause the colon to secrete fluid. This fluid causes diarrhea, because it makes the stool watery.
A high fat diet can also cause pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas. This can lead to vomiting and stomach upset, in addition to diarrhea.
True food allergies to chicken are rare in dogs. However, a food intolerance is more common. If your pooch has a chicken food intolerance, the chicken can cause diarrhea. Other potential symptoms include gas, vomiting, and upset stomach.
Chicken can cause diarrhea simply because it’s something your dog isn’t used to eating. If your pooch typically eats dog food, giving them chicken may be the culprit. When changing your dog’s diet, start with a small amount of the new food, and gradually increase the amount of new food in relation to the old.
If you just want to give your dog chicken as an occasional treat to supplement their regular diet, just start with a few bites of chicken. After a few days, increase the amount by a few bites.
Was it the Chicken?
Sure, chicken can give your dog diarrhea. The problem is there are also a myriad of other possible causes that have nothing to do with their diet.
Parasites are a well known cause of dog diarrhea. If you see white flecks or small worms in your dog’s poop, worms are probably to blame. Other signs of intestinal worms include coughing, dull coat, lethargy, and appetite changes.
Stress is another common culprit. Just like humans, stress can cause an upset stomach for your pooch. If they’ve recently experienced stress, that may be the cause of their diarrhea.
Common causes of stress include changes in the household or routine, a trip to the vet, and aggressive interactions with another animal. Other signs of stress include housetraining accidents, destructive behavior, panting, and pacing.
Lastly, an infection can cause diarrhea in your pooch. This includes coronavirus, parvovirus, and distemper. These infections will often cause other signs of illness, including coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. Your pooch may also have a fever.
Can chicken bones give my dog diarrhea?
Yes, chicken bones can give your dog diarrhea. This typically only occurs if the bones are cooked. The splintered bones can cause internal bleeding in your dog’s digestive tract.
This is rare, but it does happen. If this is the case, your dog will have bloody diarrhea. Other alarming symptoms include difficulty breathing, gagging, vomiting, lethargy, and drooling.
The other possibility is that the chicken bones contained bacteria. This is also rare. A dog’s stomach is much more acidic than a humans, making them much less susceptible to bacteria.
If bacteria is the cause, your pooch may also experience vomiting and loss of appetite.
Can raw chicken give my dog diarrhea?
Yes, raw chicken can give your dog diarrhea. The main cause of this is bacteria. However, it’s not nearly as common as you may expect.
Dogs vs. Humans
As humans, we are very careful when handling and preparing meat. It must be kept at the correct temperature. It must be thoroughly cooked, and you must wash your hands after handling raw meat. Failure to follow these rules can cause you to become sick from bacteria.
Some of these same rules will apply when feeding raw meat to your pooch. However, their digestive systems are better equipped to handle bacteria than ours.
Dog Digestive Tract
Your dog’s digestive tract is pretty similar to yours, with a few key differences. First, their stomach has a much higher acidity level. This acid kills bacteria that would be able to grow in a human digestive tract.
Secondly, their digestive tract is shorter. This means that whatever they ingest, including bacteria, has less time and space to cause problems than it would in a human’s digestive system.
When thinking about feeding a dog raw meat, you must consider that they’ve evolved to consume raw food. Wolves don’t throw their prey on a fire. Instead, they consume it raw. Some canines, like coyotes, are also scavengers. This means that they will eat meat that has been dead for some time, and is likely full of bacteria.
Your dog is a descendant of these animals, and has the same basic digestive system. This means your dog’s system is designed to eat raw and even spoiled food.
Salmonella and Other Bacteria
Despite your dog’s evolutionary advantage, it’s still possible for salmonella or other bacteria to make them sick. This usually occurs when the chicken isn’t handled or stored properly.
Puppies, senior dogs, and those who have a chronic illness have a lower immune system function. They are more susceptible to salmonella poisoning than healthy mature dogs.
If your dog gets salmonella, the symptoms are similar to human food poisoning. They include diarrhea, which can be bloody. Your dog may also have vomiting and a fever. They will probably be more tired than usual as well.
Preventing Salmonella Poisoning
You can greatly reduce the risk of feeding your dog raw chicken by proper handling and preparation.
First, never leave chicken out at room temperature. If the chicken is frozen, thaw it in the fridge. You can also thaw it in hot water, although this increases the risk of bacteria.
Rinse the chicken before giving it to your dog. Once they are finished eating, remove any remaining chicken. Once the chicken reaches room temperature, bacteria can grow. It should never be left out for more than 4 hours. However, a best practice is to remove the chicken as soon as your dog walks away from the bowl.
Can boiled chicken give my dog diarrhea?
Yes, it’s possible, although rare, that boiled chicken can give your dog diarrhea. The most common reasons for this are food intolerance, too much chicken, and improper cooking.
As mentioned earlier, food intolerance can give your pooch diarrhea. Vomiting or stomach upset can also occur. However, many dogs will only have diarrhea.
Improper cooking can allow bacteria to grow. Most dogs will be able to handle the bacteria. However, there may be too much bacteria, or your dog may have a weakened immune system.
Too Much Chicken
If your dog isn’t used to eating chicken, they may have had too much for their system to handle. Try giving them less chicken next time, and slowly increasing the amount of chicken per meal.
What to do if my dog has diarrhea after eating chicken?
What you do if your dog has diarrhea after eating chicken will depend largely on their other symptoms, and the potential causes.
When to Call the Vet
If you suspect that salmonella or eating cooked chicken bones are the cause of the diarrhea, you’ll need to contact your vet.
You should also contact your vet if your dog has bloody diarrhea, or if the diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours.
Simple diarrhea will often resolve itself without veterinary intervention. However, it can also be a sign of a serious illness, including salmonella or parvo. If your dog has other symptoms with the diarrhea, including fever, weakness, or lethargy, they need to be evaluated by your vet.
A simple bout of diarrhea is usually nothing to be worried about. If your dog seems completely normal other than diarrhea, you can wait it out at home. If it continues beyond 24 hours, visit your vet.
Some vets recommend withholding food for 12-24 hours to allow the digestive system time to heal. Others recommend a specialized prescription diet. The simplest method is to give your dog brown rice and withhold dog food until the diarrhea is gone.
Normally, the recommendation is brown rice and chicken. However, if chicken was the cause of the problem, it’s wise to keep it out of your pooch’s diet.