Many pet supply stores sell dried or uncooked dog treats like chicken feet. Some companies tout the benefits of chicken feet for the health of your joints and teeth. Can your dog eat raw chicken feet without becoming sick, though? Before giving one to your dog to snack on, what should you be mindful of?
Can Dogs Consume Raw Chicken Feet?
Some people believe that giving your dog chicken feet might be a good, nutrient-rich treat for older and elderly dogs because they are high in glucosamine and chondroitin. In fact, offering glucosamine and chondroitin pills to an aged dog can help soothe painful joints. According to proponents of feeding dogs raw chicken feet, since chicken feet are mostly made up of bones and ligaments, they also make great dental treats since the crunchy bones and connective tissues can help remove tartar from the teeth. But in actuality, the chicken is still raw. The primary risk of feeding your dog raw food or raw treats is the potential of germs and parasites. Studies have shown that between 20 and 48 percent of raw meat-based diets examined had Salmonella, and that 18 of the bacterium types studied exhibited resistance to 12 of the 16 antibiotics used to treat them. In a different, more limited research, salmonella was detected in 30% of the stool samples and 80% of the homemade raw chicken meals.
However, there are other risks associated with consuming raw chicken than salmonellosis. Additionally, it could include several germs. In supermarket chicken sold for human consumption, rates of Campylobacter and Listeria contamination range from 29% to 74% and 15% to 34%, respectively. It might not be the best idea to buy chicken feet from the butcher shop in light of this.
Another thing entirely are cooked chicken feet
If eating raw chicken feet carries a risk of bacterial illness, would cooking them make them safer? Unfortunately, boiling chicken feet probably accomplishes nothing but make your dog’s situation more dangerous. This is because the benefits for the joints and teeth are supposed to be supported by the many bones in the feet. Chicken bones that have been cooked become very brittle and prone to splintering. Chicken bone shards that have broken off can easily pierce a dog’s digestive system because they are as sharp as scalpel blades. This can lead to deadly conditions including sepsis and peritonitis. To manufacture snacks that resemble jerky, the temperature of the meat during the dehydration process must be kept between 130 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent bacterial infection. The bones in chicken feet may become weak when exposed to these temperatures for the entirety of the dehydrating process, making dehydrated chicken feet snacks, whether bought or made at home, potentially unsafe.
What about other raw animal products?
Raw treats aren’t just confined to chicken feet in fancy pet stores. In some locations, you may even get bully sticks, chicken and duck necks, large bins of raw chicken and duck hearts, and other foods at a raw bar. The bulk of these are freeze dried, however you might want to contact the manufacturer to confirm if the label at the store is unclear.
In addition to the long-standing practice of manufacturing jerky for humans, more people recently began dehydrating meat to create pet jerky. Dehydration slows the growth of bacteria and removes all water from the meat, but it doesn’t necessarily get rid of any bacteria that are already there.
The current USDA jerky recommendation calls for the raw beef to first be frozen for up to three days, thawed in the refrigerator, and then cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit by roasting or steaming. Once the thickest part of the flesh reaches this internal temperature, the dehydration process can begin. It is suggested to dehydrate beef for jerky using an artificial heat source rather than the open air. The USDA advises keeping the meat at a steady temperature between 130 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit during the entire dehydrating process to prevent parasites or bacteria from growing on the meat during the actual dehydration process.
Even while chicken feet’s high glucosamine and chondroitin content may make them seem like healthful, natural treats, the hazards outweigh any potential advantages. Additionally, safe glucosamine/chondroitin supplements comprised of equally natural ingredients are available. There are also several dental chews and treats on the market that don’t raise the risk of intestinal parasites or perforations. If you have questions about raw or freeze-dried dog treats, joint supplements, dental care, or your dog’s health, talk to your veterinarian.
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