Is Canned Chicken GOOD for Dogs?

If you’re a dog lover like me, you only want to give your pooch the very best. You’ve asked the vet for advice on dog foods, and you’re careful to give your canine companion healthy and nutritious foods. 

But, sometimes, your dog wants a special treat. Remember that time you opened canned chicken to make chicken salad sandwiches and Fido asked for some of the tasty canned contents? Is canned chicken good for dogs, though?

is canned chicken good for dogs
Is canned chicken GOOD for dogs?

Read on to find out more. 

Should I Feed My Dog Canned Chicken? 

You can give your dog a little bit of canned chicken, but only as a treat. Don’t do this on a regular basis. Why? Well, it’s because canned chicken (like other canned products) contains salt (sodium).

While every creature needs a little bit of salt, too much can be unhealthy.  

puppies eating
Two puppies eating from their bowls.

Rinse Canned Chicken With Water 

That’s why if you give your dog canned chicken, you should rinse it off with water first. This will help to get rid of a lot of sodium. Put the chicken in a strainer and put it under the cold water faucet, or under a stream of filtered water. 

Effects of Excessive Sodium on Dogs

A little bit of canned chicken as a special treat won’t cause problems for your pooch. But if you get in the habit of giving your dog foods with a lot of salt, the excessive sodium could cause health problems

If your dog eats hugely excessive amounts of sodium, he may end up with sodium ion poisoning. Some potential symptoms of too much salt include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Kidney damage
  • Excessive thirst
  • High fever
  • Lethargy or depression 
a tired pit bull snoozes
A tired pit bull relaxes

Other Treats for Dogs

If your dog seems to want canned chicken but you’re worried about the sodium, there are other treats and foods you can offer to vary their diet. Let’s take a look at some examples below. 

natural dog food
Natural organic dog food with vegetables and meat.

Canned Fish

Yes, canned fish does include a certain amount of sodium. In small quantities, it’s a fantastic way to give your pet an omega-3 fatty acids boost. Of course, fish also offers protein. If you decide to give Fido some canned fish, ensure it’s packed in water instead of oil


When it comes to the protein that canines love, lamb comes near the top of the list as a protein supplement. Lamb is the superior source thanks to several nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and myoglobin. It’s particularly beneficial for helping support heart health. 

Is Fresh Chicken Good for Dogs?

We know about the risks of canned chicken, but what about fresh chicken? Can you feed that to your dog? 

Yes, but you must make sure there are absolutely no bones in the chicken. Only give your dog little pieces of chicken from boneless chicken cuts. Check through the meat before serving it to ensure there are no bones that have made their way through. 

Don’t take a chance with bones as they are a choking hazard for dogs. Cooked bones frequently splinter, creating even sharper bones that may get lodged in a throat. Even if they don’t cause choking, they may lead to a serious injury (such as puncture) in the gastrointestinal tract. 

But as long as there aren’t any bones in the chicken you give your dog, this can be a healthy treat. 

dog eats chicken
A Golden Retriever eats a raw chicken.

Can You Give Your Dog Raw Chicken? 

You’ve probably heard people talk about raw diets for dogs. However, when it comes to chicken, we’ve got to think about the threats of salmonella and other kinds of bacteria. That is why many experts say you should only give your dog thoroughly cooked chicken (completely boneless, of course) as a treat. 

How to Give Your Dog Fresh Chicken ?

Like every other food you put in the dog bowl, always ask your veterinarian first before offering chicken to your pet. 

Don’t give your dog chicken that has spices or seasoning. After all, dogs are not humans. They don’t respond to foods like garlic and onion like we do. In fact, onions and garlic can be toxic for dogs

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, many dogs are allergic to chicken. Don’t assume your dog will be okay if you offer them this popular human food. Start slow, only giving a tiny bit at a time. If your dog doesn’t have any negative symptoms after that, you can try a little bit more. 

But remember, as I talked about before, go through the chicken carefully and make sure there aren’t any bones. Chicken bones can get stuck in your dog’s throat, causing choking. They may also get lodged in the digestive system.  

The healthiest part of the chicken for your dog is the breast. It is typically more nutritious and it does not contain as much fat. 

How to Cook Chicken for Dogs?

If you want to try giving your dog a little bit of cooked chicken, consider boiling it. It’s best to start with a boneless cut of chicken breast. But even if it’s listed as boneless, check through the meat to make sure there aren’t any bones. 

Mix Chicken With Rice 

Many dogs enjoy eating chicken mixed with rice. The addition of rice can help cut down on the risk of stomach issues developing. Remember, it’s best not to add any spices or seasonings, as many are hazardous for canines.

To make chicken and rice for your dog, use completely bone-free boiled chicken. Once you’ve checked through the chicken and made sure there aren’t any bones, mix it into some rice. You should also try to mash up the rice a bit, to make it as easy as possible for your dog to eat and digest. 

White Rice Is Better Than Brown Varieties

This seems counterintuitive to many of us. After all, brown rice is known to be more nutritious for humans than white rice. But when it comes to our canine companions, we should go with white rice

a dog chows down on some good
A dog chowing down on some food. Some owners mix in proteins like salmon into their dogs kibble.

There’s Such a Thing as Chicken Allergy

While it may be unheard of in people, chicken allergies do exist in some dogs. In fact, chicken allergy is much more common in dogs than you probably imagine. It’s so prevalent that the AKC says it is among the ten most common foods that cause allergic responses

Treats Are Okay, But Only Occasionally

Yes I know, your dog loves treats. But for his health’s sake, you’ve got to stick to giving Fido a nutritious diet. Consult with your veterinarian to find out what kind of diet is best for your pet. 

If you notice your dog asking for canned chicken, it’s probably fine to give a little bit to them on an occasional basis. But make sure you rinse the canned chicken with water before putting it in your pooch’s bowel. This will rinse off a lot of the salt. 

Be aware, though, that this rinsing won’t get rid of absolutely all the salt. There will still be some excessive sodium there. This is why you shouldn’t give your dog canned chicken all the time.

Mix Treats With Dog Food

For a special treat that may be easier on your dog’s stomach, you could add tiny amounts of treats (that you already know your pet can tolerate) into your dog’s food. 

does wet dog food cause diarrhea
Does Wet Dog Food Cause Diarrhea?

Be Cautious About Giving Your Dog Human Foods

Yes, I know your dog begs for human foods every time you prepare a meal or snack, but you’ve got to be cautious. The occasional human food snack is okay, but you don’t want to go overboard. Human foods have that name for a reason: they’re for people.

Many of them may contain ingredients that have adverse reactions for canine health. 

Poodle wants a pizza too
A Poodle wants to eat a pizza too.

Final Thought—Is Canned Chicken Good for Dogs? 

The answer to the question, “is canned chicken good for dogs?” depends on how much canned chicken you give your dog. In tiny amounts, most dogs will do well with eating canned chicken as a treat. However, you should start cautiously. (And avoiding canned chicken or chicken nuggets is probably for the best)

Some dogs are allergic to chicken, and canned chicken contains too much sodium to make it suitable for regular feeding to canines. When in doubt, just focus on protecting your pooch’s health. (Dehydrated chicken feet might be a safer idea)