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Why Chicken Feet Are the Next Big Thing in Dog Health

There’s been a buzz in the pet community recently about an unusual dog treat: chicken feet. Yes, you heard that right, the feet of chickens are becoming a popular dog treat, and for good reason. Let’s dive into the world of feeding chicken feet to dogs and understand the many benefits it brings.

A bunch of raw chicken feet in a box.
Photo credit: YayImages.

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What’s the deal with chicken feet?

One common question that pops up when considering if dogs can eat chicken feet is: raw chicken feet vs. dehydrated chicken feet – which is better?

While both options have their merits, many pet owners lean towards dehydrated chicken feet because the drying process rids them of harmful bacteria present in raw meat, making them a safer choice.

Dental health benefits of chicken feet

One of the most evident benefits of chicken feet treats is the enhancement of the dog’s dental health.

Dental disease, sadly, is the most common disease among our furry friends. However, chicken feet provide a natural abrasive texture that helps in cleaning a dog’s teeth, ensuring healthy teeth and better dental hygiene.

Every time your pooch gnashes on a chicken foot, it acts like a natural dog plaque remover, helping reduce bad breath and making your dog’s breath fresher.

Think of chicken feet as a natural toothbrush. In fact, if your dog is averse to having their teeth brushed, chicken feet and other soft raw bones can be great options for keeping up with dog dental cleaning.

Don’t confuse soft raw bones like chicken feet with cooked pork rib bones. When bones are cooked, they’re a different story altogether when it comes to safely feeding your dog.

A dog chewing on a bone in the grass.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Chicken feet nutrients

Chicken feet aren’t just about dental health. They’re also an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate – essential nutrients for overall joint health. Each chicken foot contains about 450 mg of glucosamine, which is crucial for rebuilding joint cartilage. This is great news for older dogs or those with hip dysplasia and joint pain.

Moreover, chicken feet are a good source of protein and essential amino acids – the building blocks of the body. Using them in bone broth to pour over your dog’s food is a great way to reap their benefits without having to feed your dog the whole foot.

Safety concerns of feeding dogs chicken feet

The topic of chicken bones can be a bit touchy. The common fear is about the small bones in chicken feet being a choking hazard, especially for small dogs.

However, when chicken feet are dehydrated, the tiny bones become crunchy, not hard and splintery like some larger, cooked chicken bones which can cause serious injuries.

Raw chicken bones are also safe and digestible for your dog. In contrast to cooked bones, raw bones are softer and more brittle.

If the nails are still attached to the chicken feet, don’t fret. They’re also fine for your dog to eat but they can also be clipped off if they concern you.

Always monitor your dog the first time you introduce any new food or treat, especially natural treats like chicken feet or pig ears.

Chicken feet in a bowl on a wooden table.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Where to get chicken feet for dogs?

Wondering where are the best places to source chicken feet? Pet stores and butcher shops are your best bet for raw feet. However, you can also try Asian markets where chicken feet are commonly sold at an affordable price for human consumption.

If you’re opting for raw chicken feet, ensure it’s from a trusted source, preferably free range or pasture raised and always offer your dog small amounts to prevent digestive issues.

If you source chicken from a local farm for yourself, ask for the feet — they’re usually removed along with the head since most customers don’t care for those parts.

Dehydrated chicken feet are available in many pet stores as well as online. Look for brands sourced from the USA not China.

How many chicken feet can I feed my dog?

Like all treats, moderation is key. Chicken feet are indeed a nutritious treat, but giving too many can lead to weight gain even though they’re a low-calorie food.

Remember, treats should only constitute a small part of your dog’s balanced diet. One to three chicken feet a day depending on your dog’s size is more than enough for a healthy treat.

Wrapping it up

Feeding chicken feet, whether raw or dehydrated, is a great way to give your dog a healthy snack while taking care of their dental and joint health. They’re a natural source of glucosamine and protein, making them a great addition to your dog’s diet. For those looking for natural alternatives to commercial canine joint supplements and dental chews, chicken feet are definitely worth a try!

So next time you’re looking to switch up your dog chews, or if you’re a dog owner eager to introduce a tasty treat into your dog’s meals, why not consider chicken feet? Your dog’s teeth, joints, and taste buds will thank you!