Your dog means the world to you, so it is of paramount importance to you that you feed her how and what is best for her. You’ve been told to feed her once a day only, and you’ve been told to feed her two to three times per day.
You’ve been told not to feed her “people” food, and you’ve been told by yet someone else to feed her fresh food instead of dry food. In answer to one of those questions, most veterinarians nowadays will tell you that it’s best for your dog if you feed her twice a day at set times.
However, it’s hard to sift through all the hype concerning what you should feed your dog. In this article, we’re going to examine whether your dog should eat chicken heads.
Can dogs eat raw chicken heads?
While, for a long time, most canine professionals have advised against feeding your dog a raw diet, there has recently been a shift, and the number of people changing to a raw diet for their dogs is actually growing.
The reason given for discouraging raw feeding has, for the most part, been the fact that a raw diet usually includes raw meats, and raw meats mean bacteria. Bacteria can be very dangerous for both your dog and you if proper precautions are not taken.
On the other hand, wild dogs ate their meat raw and uncleaned. Domesticated dogs on a raw diet eat raw foods that have been carefully cleaned and kept at an optimal temperature. Many of these manufacturers even go as far as to use only organic foods, and so forth.
Another plus to eating raw chicken in particular is the fact that raw chicken bones are soft, thus, chewable and easily digestible for your dog. The beaks are removed. There is little chance that your dog will get choked by a raw chicken bone or that she will get internal damage from ingesting a chewed bone.
Chicken heads are edible by dogs, and they are especially dense in nutrients. However, be aware that a chicken head is about the size of a golf ball, and it contains a lot of bone, so concerning your dog’s diet, chicken heads must be regarded as bone.
Only 10% of your dog’s diet should come from bone, so make sure that bones and chicken heads make up no more than that. Chicken heads contain natural chemicals that can help with digestion, but if you feed your dog too much bone content, you could cause her to get constipated.
You can get raw chicken heads from Raw Feeding Miami or free-range raw chicken heads from Naturaw.
Can dogs eat cooked chicken heads?
It is never a good idea to give cooked chicken heads to your dog. Hopefully, you have already removed the beaks, which you should never leave on the head and offer to your dog but stop there. Don’t cook that chicken head.
While people eat them roasted on a stick as street food in Thailand, we, as humans, know how to leave behind the brittle bones, and our dogs do not. When cooked chicken bones get brittle and can splinter and get lodged in your dog’s throat or worse, cause an internal rupture of some kind.
If you don’t want to go with the truly raw chicken heads, try ordering the dehydrated raw chicken heads. Dogs love these delicious, crunchy treats, and the chicken brains, as well as the eyes and bones, are so nutritious. Plus, they are great for her dental health.
You can get dehydrated chicken heads from The Wild or Farm Hounds.
Are chicken heads healthy for dogs?
Chicken is used as an ingredient in many, if not most, dog foods, so there is no reason to think chicken is unhealthy for dogs, but why is chicken healthy for dogs? Neither are chicken heads. What is in chicken is in chicken heads, so let’s take a look.
Chicken is high in healthy fats.
One good reason that chicken is a common ingredient in dog foods is that it has higher than average levels of healthy fats. Why is this important? It is important because now that dogs are domesticated, it’s important that they still eat a diet like the prey their ancestors used to eat so that they remain at peak health.
Chicken fat is a good source of omega-6 fatty acid, and a diet high in healthy fats will ensure your dog absorbs the fat-soluble vitamins in her diet. Intake of healthy fats will also foster a healthy reproductive system.
Chicken is full of proteins.
Collagen is the most important protein in chicken, and chicken is full of them. Collagen peptides have many benefits for your dog. Here are a few examples.
Improved Skin Health
Collagen peptides leave your dog with healthier skin, so you will find her itching less and retaining moisture better. You will also find that her coat will be fuller and shinier.
Increased Bone Mass
Collagen peptides not only prevent osteoporosis but increase bone mass so that over time, your dog will experience stronger bones, meaning they won’t break as easily.
Increased Joint Strength
On average, more than 75% of a dog’s connective tissues (muscles, ligaments, and tendons) are comprised of collagen. Therefore, when your dog’s diet is rich in collagen, as in chicken, she will be less prone to injuries, such as torn ligaments and hip dysplasia.
Collagen peptides will reduce your dog’s aches and pains by reducing her inflammation, which will cut down on stiffness, increase flexibility and mobility, and encourage muscle regeneration.
Your dog can begin to lose her appetite for any of several reasons, such as the progression of dementia, and if she does, she can quickly lose weight, which is unhealthy. Collagen has been known to increase dogs’ appetites, as well as restore some of their enthusiasm about mealtime, and with all the healthy fats and proteins in chicken, her appetite will be piqued anyway.
Collagen can help break down proteins in your dog’s body while calming her stomach lining. Collagen can also form amino acids and connective tissues, which, in turn, work to seal the GI tract’s protective lining.
Chicken contains a lot of glucosamine and chondroitin.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are wonderful for aching, hurting joints and hips in dogs. It’s not the first thing you think of when you think of a dog’s health issues, but arthritis in dogs is a common problem.
When age, disease, or trauma take their toll, your dog’s cartilage (it’s what cushions one bone from another) wears down and starts thinning. As the condition progresses, her bones, now with nothing between them, begin to rub together, an issue that is painful for your dog and may cause her to limp.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are chemicals found in chicken. It is thought that they may slow or even prevent joint cartilage degeneration, which is the underlying cause of arthritis pain. They can often also help to manage existing joint pain with few side effects. A diet rich in these two chemicals could go a long way toward healthy bone and connective tissue in your dog.
Many veterinarians recommend glucosamine for their canine patients. They are usually glucosamine supplements, all-natural OTC (over-the-counter) arthritis nutraceuticals that are not just for joint pain but also help the victims of spinal disc injuries and those who have undergone joint surgery. Glucosamine’s specialty is forming, repairing, and protecting cartilage.
This should tell you something about the implications of glucosamine and the importance of including chicken in your dog’s diet, especially if she is aging, has experienced an injury, or is plagued with a disease. As a matter of fact, glucosamine is even used by owners of performance dogs to aid in keeping them in optimal condition.
You will find both chondroitin, as well as glucosamine, in chicken. The two usually go hand-in-hand. If you buy a joint supplement for your dog, or even for yourself, it will probably have both glucosamine and chondroitin in it, but what is chondroitin?
Chondroitin, like glucosamine, is an all-natural OTC arthritis nutraceutical. It is chondroitin that gives cartilage elasticity. It reduces inflammation around the joints. Chondroitin impedes the degeneration of and even aids in the restoration of cartilage.
What parts of a chicken can dogs eat?
The question is which chicken parts are edible for dogs, and the answer is essentially, all of them, but if you cook the chicken, you cannot just throw it to your dog, or she could be in danger.
Cooked chicken bones are brittle and dry, and dogs can easily choke on them. One of these bones, once ingested, can also puncture her internally and cause bleeding and possible severe injury or even death.
Dark Meat (Thigh and Drumstick)
Dark meat chicken is comprised of thighs and drumsticks. It has less fat than other cuts, so you’d think it would have less flavor, but that’s not the case. Dark meat has a stronger flavor than white meat.
Dark meat chicken has only good, unsaturated fat, with more vitamin C, iron, and zinc than white meat but a little less protein. Removing most or all of the skin is a good idea to maintain your dog’s weight and prevent pancreatitis.
It’s fine to give raw thigh and drumstick to your dog, but you must first remove the fibula bone, which is pointy and sharp, like a needle. Here, the bone has been removed and is beside the drumstick.
White Meat (Breast and Wing)
Breasts and wings are the white meat of the chicken. White meat is loaded with antioxidants, vitamin B, zinc, and phosphorus, but it’s not loaded with calories unless you leave the skin on, which I beseech you not to do. Chicken breasts contain plenty of healthy, unsaturated fatty acids that can help keep your dog from having heart problems.
Raw chicken meat containing bones, like thighs and wings (drumsticks, too, but never forget to remove that fibula bone), are brimming in calcium and other vital minerals, and bone marrow, as well.
Chicken necks are comprised of almost half bone. They can get dry and brittle and should never be served to your dog if they’ve been cooked. Chicken necks should make up less than one-third of your dog’s plate.
Chicken feet are a wonderful surprise for your dog served raw, but if you must cook them, eat them yourself. Raw, they will make your dog a great, low-calorie snack.
Chicken Butt and Tail
Chicken butts and tails are full of saturated fat, too much of which can lead to your dog becoming overweight or getting pancreatitis.
Chicken livers and chicken hearts (the offal of the chicken) are protein-rich and contain lots of zinc, phosphorous, and vitamins A and B. Chicken livers and hearts, however, should make up no more than 5% of your dog’s complete diet.
Chicken skin also contains a ton of bad fat. Too much saturated fat can cause obesity in your dog, as well as pancreatitis.
To feed your dog chicken heads or to not feed her chicken heads…to feed her raw or cooked chicken heads…in the end, it’s a choice that only you can make. The brains and eyes of a chicken’s head, especially, are quite nutritious for dogs.
The bones aren’t usually anything but beneficial when fed to your dog raw, but a cooked chicken head could cause your dog to choke to death or cause an internal wound. Always make sure all feathers have been removed and the beaks, as well, before feeding chicken heads to your dog.