Can Dogs Eat Chicken Thighs? Benefits & Dangers (From A Vet)

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Chances are if you’ve ever cooked chicken thighs, your dog has tried to get a piece.

Dogs absolutely love chicken thighs – but should they be allowed to eat them? And are there any benefits or dangers associated with feeding them this type of meat?

To find the most accurate answer, I reach out to our consultant Dr. Littlejohn to get a vet’s opinion.

So, can dogs eat chicken thighs?

The answer is a resounding yes! Chicken is the main ingredient in many dog foods, and for good reasons. Chicken thighs are great served raw or cooked. Just be sure to remove the skin and bones, and make sure your dog has no chicken allergy.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • Why dogs can eat a chicken thigh
  • Why dogs should avoid eating chicken thigh skin and bones
  • The dangers & benefits of dogs eating chicken thigh
  • What to do if your dog eats too many chicken thighs
  • How to properly cook chick thighs for dogs

Let’s dive in.

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Thighs? Benefits & Dangers (From A Vet)

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Thighs?

The simple answer to can dogs eat chicken thighs is yes.

As with most meats, there are some benefits and dangers associated with feeding your dog chicken thighs.

Chicken is a common ingredient in a ton of dog foods and for a good reason.

It’s a lean protein that is packed with essential nutrients like vitamin B, niacin, and phosphorus.

Chicken thighs also contain a good amount of omega fatty acids, which are important for maintaining a healthy coat and skin.

The big things dog owners need to be worried about when feeding their dog chicken thighs are allergies, bones, and chicken skin.

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Thigh Bones?

Chicken thigh bones when cooked, become very brittle and can easily splinter.

This can cause mouth injuries, as well as blockages and perforations in the digestive tract.

For this reason, it’s best to remove the bones from chicken thighs before feeding them to your dog.

However, if you feed your dog raw chicken thighs, they can actually eat them with the bones in.

This is because when bones are not cooked, they are softer and, thus, safe for dogs to consume.

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Thigh Skin?

The skin on chicken thighs can be tough and difficult for dogs to digest. This is for both raw and cooked chicken thighs.

It can also cause an upset stomach or diarrhea in some dogs.

Although some dogs might have no problem with the skin, it’s high in fat and unhealthy for dogs to eat.

Plus, cooked chicken skin usually contains spices and seasoning that can be composed of onion, garlic, salt, etc.

These are all toxic to dogs, and even nontoxic seasonings can still give dogs an upset stomach.

For these reasons, it is best to remove the skin from raw or cooked chicken thighs before feeding them to your dog.

Health Benefits Of Chicken Thighs For Dogs

Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Thighs

Are chicken thighs even good for dogs?

Yes, chick thighs can be very good for dogs to eat. Here are a few benefits to feeding your dog chick thighs:

Dental Health

Dental health is important for dogs, just like it is for humans. Eating chicken can actually help keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy.

The chewing action can help remove plaque and tartar from their teeth. This is especially true if you are feeding your dog raw chick thighs.

In addition, the phosphorus contained in the chicken thigh is great for dental health.

Muscle Development & Maintenance

Chicken thighs are a great source of protein, which is essential for muscle development and repair.

Dogs need protein to maintain their muscle mass as they age.

A diet that is high in protein can help your dog maintain their muscle mass and prevent muscle loss as they age.

Joint Health

The cartilage in chicken can actually help support joint health.

This is because cartilage contains a substance called chondroitinogs can actually benefit from this substance as it can help reduce inflammation and pain in the joints.

It can also help protect the joints from further damage.

Immune System

Sufficient levels of protein are essential for a strong and healthy immune system.

Protein helps the body produce antibodies, which help fight off infection and disease.

The nutrients found in chicken can also help support the immune system.

For these reasons, chicken can be a great addition to your dog’s diet if you want to boost their immunity.

Skin & Hair

I’m sure you’ve noticed that a shiny coat of fur is one of the first things people compliment a dog.

A diet rich in omega fatty acids can help promote a healthy coat and skin.

This is because these fatty acids can help improve moisture retention in the skin.

Chicken thighs are lean meat that delivers omega fatty acids to your dog.

Is Chicken Breast Or Thigh Better For Dogs?

Dogs can eat both chicken breast and chicken thighs. However, there are some benefits to feeding them chicken thighs over chicken breast.

Here are a few reasons why:

More nutrients

Chicken thighs actually have more nutrients than chicken breasts. This is because they contain more fat and connective tissue.

The extra fat helps your dog absorb more of the fat-soluble vitamins found in chicken thighs.

These include vitamins A, D, E, and K. The connective tissue also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which can support joint health.

More flavor

Chicken breasts can be quite bland in comparison to chicken thighs. The extra fat in chicken thighs gives them a juicier and more flavorful taste.

All in all, both chicken thighs and chicken breast provide great benefits to your dog, so select one based on your dog’s preference and your budget.

Dangers Of Dogs Eating Chicken Thighs

Now let’s take a look at some of the dangers associated with feeding your dog chicken thighs.


Some dogs can be allergic to chicken. While most dogs can eat chicken without any problem, there are some that can develop an allergy to it.

If you think your dog may be allergic to chicken, it’s best to avoid feeding it to them altogether.

A good indicator that your dog is allergic is vomiting and diarrhea. You may even notice itchy skin, paws, or ears.

Chicken Bones

Another danger is that cooked chicken bones can splinter and cause internal bleeding or blockages in the digestive tract.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure if you are giving your dog-cooked chicken thighs that, the bones are removed.

If you are feeding them raw chicken thighs, the bones are softer and, thus, safe for them to eat.

Bacteria In Raw Chicken

If you are thinking of feeding your dog raw chicken thighs, it’s important to be aware of the bacteria that can be found in raw chicken.

This includes salmonella and listeria. Both of these can make your dog very sick and, in some cases, can be fatal.

To avoid this, make sure to store and handle raw chicken properly.

Hormones & Antibiotics In Chicken

It’s no secret that the food industry uses enhancers to make chickens bigger in order to get more meat from each animal.

This is usually in the form of hormones and antibiotics. These can be passed on to your dog (and you), which can cause health problems over time.

This is why many people preach the importance of organic and free-range food sources.

So, whenever you can choose organic and free-range chickens.

How Many Chicken Thighs Can Dogs Eat?

As a general rule of thumb, you can feed your dog one chicken thigh per 20 pounds of body weight.

For example, if your dog weighs 40 pounds, you can give them two chicken thighs.

What To Do If Your Dog Overeats Chicken Thighs?

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Thighs

 If your dog gets their paws into an entire plate full of chicken thighs, you might be wondering what to do.

Most of the time, dogs who overeat something end up with diarrhea and stinky farts for a day or two.

Some may even throw up. However, it depends on how much they got into and how big your dog is.

After speaking with Dr. Littlejohn to find out what he’d recommend, here are the main takeaways I got.

Vets online or over the phone will usually ask about the following things:

  • Ingredients in the food 
  • Amount consumed
  • The size of your dog
  • How long ago they consumed it
  • Any changes to your dog’s behaviors
  • Your dog’s energy level
  • Signs of physical pain or discomfort
  • If your dog’s drinking or eating
  • If they vomited or pooped since eating it (and what it looked like)

Every situation is different depending on what they ate, how much, and how big your dog is, but these are some major things vets will ask.

Knowing these common questions, vets will ask can help determine what you should pay attention to.

Of course, you know your dog best, so if you think something is off, you’re likely right.

As a rule of thumb, always seek medical advice from your vet if you are unsure or worried about your dog’s behavior or symptoms.

When dogs eat too much chicken 99 out of 100 times, a dog will be completely fine.

The most common concerns are minor indigestion or gastrointestinal distress.

Some signs of this can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Increased gas
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal enlargement/distension
  • Distress or inability to get comfortable

These symptoms usually go away after your dog’s digestive system has had time to process the human food.

They may experience diarrhea and vomiting, but it’ll usually disappear after 24 hours. If they last longer than 24-48 hours, get in touch with your vet.

During this time, make sure your dog is staying hydrated and if your dog is showing any severe symptoms, seems “off,” or you are concerned, contact your vet.

Always air on the side of caution.

You can also use online services to speak directly with a vet for immediate help.

Click here if you wish to speak with a vet online right now.

What About Raw Chicken Thigh Vs. Cooked Chicken Thigh?

The debate of raw chicken vs. cooked chicken for dogs is a continuous one.

On the one hand, some people believe that feeding their dog raw meat is more natural and closer to what they would eat in the wild.

On the other hand, baked chicken thighs are less likely to contain bacteria that can make your dog sick.

If you do choose to feed your dog raw chicken meat, it’s important to source it from a trusted supplier and handle it safely to avoid contamination.

Raw food has its risks, so if you’d rather your dog eat raw meat just make sure you are aware of the safety precautions and dangers.

There is a lot of healthy freeze dried dog food options on the market today that take care of all the preparations so you don’t have to.

This can make life a little easier for feeding your dog a raw food diet. However, it does come at a price.

As always, if you have any concerns about what’s best for your dog, consult with your veterinarian.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Cooked Chicken Thighs

How Do I Cook Chicken Thighs For My Dog?

The safest and healthiest way to cook chicken thighs for a dog is to boil them.

This is because dogs’ stomachs aren’t immune to oils, spices, and tastes that result from other types of cooking.

Plain, boiled chicken is ideal.

Cooking chicken for your dog is easy! All you need is a pot of boiling water and some chicken thighs.

  1. First, boil a pot of water large enough to fit your chicken thighs. Then place them in the pot of boiling water. Make sure that each chicken thigh is completely submerged.
  2. Boil the chicken for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and let it cool.
  3. Once cooled, chop the chicken into small pieces and serve. Your dog will love this delicious and healthy meal or treat!

Can Dogs Eat Skinless Chicken Thighs?

The answer is yes! In fact, chicken skin can be unhealthy for dogs because it’s hard to digest and high in fat.

So, if you’re feeding your dog skinless chicken thighs, that’s actually ideal!

Can I Give My Dog A Whole Chicken Thigh?

To answer this question, it really depends on the size of your dog.

As a general rule of thumb, you can feed your dog one whole chicken thigh per 20 pounds of body weight.

So if your dog is under 20 pounds, you might need to cut up the chicken thigh to accommodate their size.

Dogs over 20 pounds can have a whole chicken thigh and even more if they are much bigger.

Can Chicken Thighs Give Dogs Diarrhea?

Diarrhea can be caused by many things, but chicken thighs are not one of them.

In fact, chicken thigh meat is easy for dogs to digest.

The only time you might see diarrhea after feeding your dog chicken thighs is if they eat too much, have a chicken allergy, or if the chicken is cooked in oils or spices, which can cause stomach upset.

If your dog does have diarrhea after eating chicken thighs, it should only last for 24 hours and then go away on its own.

If diarrhea lasts longer than that or is accompanied by other symptoms, contact your vet.

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