It’s sometimes referred to jokingly as awful offal, and some of us hate it, while others love it. Elite chefs nowadays seem to delight in it. Many chefs are now utilizing every part of the animals they cook with from their heads to their tails, using some offal parts to make stock and cooking others into delicacies some deem fit for kings.
No matter how you feel about offal, your dog would probably be thrilled to have those once-considered throwaway animal parts, but should you feed them to your dog? In particular, should you feed your dog chicken hearts? Take a look at the answer.
Can dogs eat chicken hearts?
Humans eat offal like livers, kidneys, tripe, brains, and hearts from choice animals all the time these days. They are richer in nutrients than the actual meat. In many cases, other offal from animals is eaten, as well. For instance, duck or goose blood is used for making soup broth. Lamb, sheep, or pork heads and feet are used for making stock, and so are bones, and small pork heads and entrails are used for making stew. Humans eat gizzards, tongues, intestines, lungs, and more.
Maybe the most famous offal, though, is Rocky Mountain oysters, which are bull testicles. To prepare them, they must be peeled, beaten with a meat mallet, seasoned, breaded, and fried. This “delicacy” is commonly found in the Western United States, as well as Western Canada.
So, back to the question at hand: If we, as humans, eat all this offal, what about our dogs — is it all right for them to eat chicken hearts? The answer is — Yes, dogs can eat chicken hearts, as they won’t hurt the average, healthy dog unless you feed them too many, and chicken hearts are quite dense with nutrients, as you can see with a quick glance at this chart.
|Nutrient Amount in 1 Cup of Chicken Hearts|
|Nutrient Name||Amount||Unit of Measure|
Can dogs eat chicken hearts every day?
It’s not really a problem for dogs to eat chicken hearts every day, as long as they don’t eat too many each day. It’s not so much how often your dog eats chicken hearts that’s important, but the amount that they eat and more specifically, what percentage of their diet the chicken hearts make up.
A moderately-active dog’s diet should consist of around 10% organ meats such as chicken hearts, livers, and kidneys. If your dog is more active than most, they can tolerate a diet of up to 15% chicken hearts, but an obese dog who isn’t very active shouldn’t have chicken hearts as more than 5% of their diet.
How often can dogs eat chicken hearts?
If you aren’t sure exactly how or, to you, it’s just too much trouble to try to calculate what percentage of your dog’s diet is made up of chicken hearts, just feed them chicken hearts three to five times per week. It works out well for some dog owners to continue feeding kibble or canned food as normal, but also add a small amount of chopped chicken hearts. You can also use chicken livers, kidneys, and gizzards, as well as the offal from other animals like beef and lamb.
How do I cook chicken hearts for dogs?
Many people nowadays are feeding their dogs a raw diet including raw chicken hearts and freeze-dried raw chicken hearts, even though others believe it is unsafe. Only you can decide what’s right for your dog. If you decide to feed your dog chicken hearts, though, you will still want to ensure that they get a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.
Here is a wonderful recipe for dog food made with chicken hearts. I got the basic dog food recipe off of Pinterest from The Healthy Kitchen Shop and tweaked it to my liking.
Ingredients for Dog Food Made With Chicken Hearts
To make this delicious dog food with chicken hearts, you will need the following ingredients.
You will need 2 pounds of chicken consisting of 1 pound of chicken hearts and 1 pound of boneless chicken of whatever kind you desire. Don’t ever feed cooked bones to your dog, as they are hard and brittle and are a choking hazard. You can also use chicken livers, kidneys, or gizzards.
You will need 2 apples (sweet or tart), 1 cup of blueberries, 2 pears, 2 cups of strawberries, 3 carrots, 2 cups of fresh spinach, and a half-pound of fresh green beans.
You will need 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Instructions for Dog Food Made With Chicken Hearts
The truth is that this recipe will work if you are raw feeding as well as if you are cooking it. If you are cooking it, there are some things you should remember, like that you should not overcook the organ meat or the chicken. The organ meat doesn’t take much cooking at all and should still show some pink inside. The chicken meat should be left juicy. Not overcooking the chicken meat and heart will ensure they are enjoyable for your dog, but it will also maximize their nutritional benefit.
Don’t just throw everything into a pot and think it will cook correctly. Some of these ingredients take longer than others to cook. The easiest way to ensure proper cooking is to cook them separately and then combine them, so read all the instructions before throwing everything into a pot. Except for ensuring you don’t feed your dog cooked chicken bones, there isn’t a lot of cleaning of ingredients to do, as dogs can eat 100% of this produce.
You can cook the chicken meat and hearts in the oven (watch it carefully) or saute them in a pan on the stovetop using up to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. The carrots and green beans take longer to cook than the other produce, so they will need to be cooked separately. I suggest steaming them. The apples, pears, and blueberries will take a little longer than the spinach and strawberries. Don’t overcook these ingredients, or you will be left with just mush that may not be as appetizing for your dog. It will take only a scant few minutes to cook the fruit and spinach. Remember: Leave the vegetables and fruits at least somewhat al dente. Your dog will enjoy them more if there is a little chew left in them. Lastly, don’t use any seasoning at all. Don’t use salt, sugar, spices, onions, garlic — nothing, as some of these ingredients will upset your dog’s tummy, and others are toxic to your dog.