Can Dogs Eat Chicken Feet?

By John Martin - July 1, 2021

Chicken feet

Your pet dog is bound to be an integral part of your life. This is why you have to be very careful of what you feed him and how you care for him.

There are a lot of myths floating around the advantages and disadvantages of feeding chicken feet to your dog. But what is the truth? Is there a science behind this? Let us find out!

Chicken Feet: All You Need to Know

Chicken feet, as the name suggests, are feet portion of the chicken meat. These are usually left after the chicken is slaughtered. However, these are not useless and make for healthy and nutritious food for your dog.

Though they come across as slightly gross, you will be surprised to know that in some parts of the world these are also used as treats for people.

When it comes to feeding chicken feet to dogs, the biggest benefit is that you don’t necessarily need to feed it in its raw form, as there are many different ways in which chicken feet are available in the market.

Some of the most commonly available forms of chicken feet include:

Raw Chicken Feet

This refers to chicken feet in their raw form. All you need to do is to visit your local butcher and ask for some. They are completely unprocessed and would certainly need some cleaning before you can feed this to your dog.

Some people even like to defrost it and feed it to their dog in parts. You can either do this or get only the amount you need for one feeding.

Dehydrated Chicken Feet

When the raw chicken feet are processed and dehydrated and packaged, this is what you get. The dehydrated chicken feet look yellow in color and have a slightly shriveled exterior.

However, if you lead a busy life, you can get this from the market and you are good to go for at least six months. The biggest benefit of dehydrated chicken feet over their raw form is the elongated shelf life.

Puffed Chicken Feet

The making of puffed chicken feet involves the process of air-drying raw chicken feet such that it retains vitamins and nutrients and is therefore richer.

They are not shriveled and instead have a puffed exterior and are more white than yellow. These are also aimed at lasting longer to around six months.

You need to store the puffed and dehydrated chicken feet in an air-tight container to ensure it maintains its shelf life.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat String Cheese?

Chicken Feet Benefits for Dogs

There are several benefits of feeding chicken feet, in any form of your choice, to your dog. Here are a few of them.

  • Good Source of Protein: Chicken feet are a great source of protein. In addition, they are also high on glucosamine and chondroitin, ingredients that are said to improve the joint health of canines.
  • Maintains Dental Health: Another benefit of feeding chicken feet to your dog is that they help maintain their dental health. They help the dog clean their teeth while also ensuring better dental hygiene and stronger teeth.

Chicken feet act as a natural source of brushing your dog’s teeth and checks the formation of plaque and tartar.

  • Promotes Joint Health: Chicken feet are great for promoting the healthy joint health of your dog. If your dog has arthritis, chicken feet may prove to be a wonder food. If you feed chicken feet to your dog, you may be spared from giving them joint health supplements.
  • Sustainable Food Source: Chicken feet are an eco-friendly item to feed your dog. If not used as dog food, chances are butchers are going to throw it away, bar a few places. By feeding it to dogs, you are using the chicken remains which are also high in protein.
  • More Protein, Few Calories: Chicken feet are great for your dog because they don’t have many calories and are instead high in protein. This prevents your dog from gaining unnecessary weight.

Are There Any Downsides to Feeding Chicken Feet to Your Dog?

It is commonly believed that chicken bones are harmful to dogs. This is particularly true for boiled, cooked or fried chicken because the cooking process renders the bones of chicken excessively hard. This may cause serious injuries to dogs when they try to chew on these bones.

However, chicken feet are not very high on bone content and the part is constituted of skin tissues and cartilage. This makes them more chewable and is also easy to digest.

There is some concern about the nails of the chicken that are present on the chicken feet. Though in itself, it is not very harmful but if you still want to go the extra mile, you can chop the nails off before feeding it to your dog.

Tips for Feeding Chicken Feet to Your Dog

Now that it is established that chicken feet are a great source of protein for your dog, there are certain tips that you need to take into consideration while feeding this to your pet.

Monitor the Quantity

If you have a small dog, be careful to limit the quantity to one, while big dogs can have two or more chicken feet. Excess of chicken feet, like any other food, can be detrimental.

However, there is no problem in serving chicken feet regularly to your dog. As long as you monitor the daily limit, you can feed it to your dog every day if you want.

Watch out for the Nails

Nails are hard and sometimes brittle and may pose a problem for your dog. It is, therefore, advisable to trim them down before feeding chicken feet to your pet. You can easily do that at home using a small pair of scissors.

Most retailers sell chicken feet devoid of nails so you can directly buy those if you prefer. However, small nails are generally not a source of worry for dog owners.

Cooked Feet Are Not an Ideal Choice

As goes with a cooked chicken bone, cooked chicken feet are not an ideal choice for your pet. However, it is unlikely to find cooked chicken feet as this is available only in raw, puffed and dehydrated form.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Hash Browns?

A Word of Caution

If you have a pet puppy, it is recommended to exercise caution while feeding it chicken feet. This is particularly true for puppies below four months of age.

You should, however, wait till your puppy has got all its adult teeth in place so to avoid any injury or discomfort, or serious damage to teeth in severe situations.

When Should You Not Feed Chicken Feet to Your Dog?

Though chicken feet are proven to be a great food source for dogs, there are certain times you must not feed them to your beloved pet. These include:

  • Overweight Dogs: The dogs that are overweight may not be able to take full advantage of chicken feet and may lead to more obesity complications.
  • Pancreatic Disease: If your dog has a pancreatic disease, you should not feed it chicken feet.
  • Allergies: Chicken allergies or food allergies are clear signs to keep away chicken feet from your dog. No matter how healthy the food source is, if your pet is allergic, there is no point in feeding it that.

Are There Any Alternatives to Chicken Feet You Should Consider?

If you are used to feeding chicken feet to your dog and run out of it, there are some alternatives you can consider. This is more suited for those who don’t like to feed packaged dog food to their pets.

Some options that you can consider include:

Duck Feet

This works for those dogs who are allergic to chicken. Remember, if your dog is allergic to chicken, feeding chicken bones is not a great idea. Instead, opt for alternatives such as duck feet.

This should not be given to dogs who are prone to obesity because of its high-calorie content in addition to the presence of protein. It is also crucial to note that duck feet are not as easily available as chicken feet.

Pig Ears

If you are an advocate of sustainable food, another option you can consider as an alternative to chicken feet is pig ears. They are also excellent in ensuring the good dental health of your dog.

However, these are high in fat content and should not be given to dogs that are obese.

Rabbit Ears

Another alternative to chicken feet you can feed to your dog are rabbit ears. Though it is not as easy to find, they are an excellent source of protein, are low in fat and don’t smell.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Sherbet?

The Final Word

Chicken feet are a good food item for your dog. When compared with packaged food for your pet dog, chicken feet offer a sustainable source of food while keeping the calorie content low.

Chicken feet also promote healthy joint health in your dog and ensures that your dog’s dental hygiene is taken care of. Chicken feet are safe, healthy and also tasty to eat and that makes them a treat for dogs.