Huskies are active, large breed dogs and they need a diet that will give them plenty of energy. Naturally, we want our canine companions to stay fit and healthy and a nutritious, balanced diet is the first step in achieving this. We also want them to love what they are eating. Commercial and home-prepared raw meat-based diets (RMBDs) have grown in popularity over the past decade and many Husky owners advocate feeding raw meat to their dogs. Chicken is an excellent protein source for dogs, and more importantly, most dogs love the taste! But is it safe to feed raw chicken to huskies? Are there any risks? And what are the alternatives? Let’s find out!
Yes, but with caution! Chicken is a lean protein source that can be a valuable ingredient in a well-balanced diet to provide energy, help repair and maintain healthy muscles, and support the immune system. Chicken can be fed cooked or uncooked. Many dogs, particularly if they are used to eating raw food, will tolerate raw chicken but for others, it can cause gastrointestinal upset. Commercially prepared raw dog foods that contain raw chicken or freeze-dried chicken may be safer as they undergo processing to reduce the bacterial load.
Chicken can be fed as organ meat such as liver, kidneys, and heart or as chicken breast, chicken wings, chicken legs, feet, or bones. If feeding raw chicken then you should use meat cuts such as thigh, breast, or leg and always avoid bones as these pose serious risks to dogs. Chicken feet and chicken necks are a poor food source for dogs and contain little nutritional value. They are best avoided.
The bacterial contamination of raw meat can be high and poses a risk to our dogs and other members of the household. All raw meat poses a potential risk, however, chicken may have higher levels of harmful bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter compared to other meats. This can increase the risks of gastrointestinal upset and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Dog owners can be infected by bacteria from raw meat when preparing their dog’s food, cleaning up their stools and allowing dogs to lick them, or having close contact with them after they have eaten a raw meat snack. People with compromised immune systems such as very young children, the elderly, or individuals with specific illnesses are more at risk.
Raw chicken contains numerous parasites including roundworms and tapeworms. These parasites can infest your dog after ingestion of even a small amount of raw meat. Your dog can spread these parasites to farm animals and people. Ensuring your dog has an up-to-date parasite treatment protocol is essential if he or she eats raw meat.
A well-balanced, nutritionally complete diet is essential to maintaining health. Huskies require a high protein, nutritious diet that provides enough energy for their active lifestyle and supports healthy muscle and bone development. Whilst Chicken is a good, lean protein source, if fed alone it does not provide all the components a Husky needs to stay fit and healthy. It is difficult to formulate home-prepared diets and ensure the diet provides all the nutrients required for dogs at each life stage. For this reason, good quality, commercially prepared foods are recommended over a home-prepared diet whether you choose to feed a raw or a cooked diet.
No. Avoid feeding chicken bones and carcasses to dogs (even cooked). Raw carcasses contain higher levels of bacteria than meat and can cause illness in dogs, even in those that are adapted to eating a raw diet. Bones can splinter causing wounds and abscesses in the mouth or leading to painful tooth fractures. They are also a potential choking hazard or could cause obstruction in the intestines when swallowed.
If you are drawn to feeding raw food due to the low processing involved and limited ingredients, then consider alternative dog foods that will provide a well-balanced and nutritionally complete diet. Freeze-dried or cold-pressed dog foods and treats may be an alternative as they contain ingredients that are cooked at low temperatures with minimal processing. Chicken can be boiled, poached, baked, or grilled. Cooked chicken contains lower levels of bacteria than raw chicken making it a safer alternative.
Raw chicken can be given to huskies, and many huskies seem to enjoy this food source and tolerate it well. Uncooked poultry may seem healthier than processed kibble, but it can cause serious issues for dogs that consume it as well as the pet owners who prepare it. Although raw chicken isn’t always problematic, equally it’s not always safe. If you choose to feed your dog a raw diet, do so with caution. Above all, ensuring your dog has a well-balanced, nutritionally complete diet that contains vegetables, fruit, fiber, vitamins, and minerals as well as meat is the most important consideration.
Whether to feed your Husky a raw meat-based diet or not doesn’t have a black and white answer. There is growing evidence that feeding raw meat can be a health risk to both pets and owners. Focusing on the quality of the ingredients in your dog’s food and the nutrition it provides is more important than whether the meat source is fed raw or cooked.
Muscle meat, organ meat, bones, and eggs may be included in a raw diet. Raw meat-based diets often include a mix of different animal meats including chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, and venison. Every dog is an individual and not all dogs will tolerate all meat sources. Some may have allergies or intolerances to certain meats. If your dog repeatedly shows signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain after eating a meat source then withhold this from their diet and seek veterinary advice if the problem persists.
Raw chicken bones are best avoided as the size and shape of the bone means that they easily splinter. This can potentially cause damage to your dog’s mouth, esophagus, or intestines when ingested. Small chicken bones can also get stuck and result in obstruction of the intestines which can lead to serious illness.