Can dogs eat chicken liver?

Can dogs eat chicken liver? Yes they can and infact, chicken liver is one of best sources of protein that our dogs can get. 

Organ meats in general tend to be brilliant sources of goodness for our canine friends including heart, kidney, spleen and even lung! Delicious. 

Why is chicken liver so good for dogs? Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

What is chicken liver?

The liver is an organ that sits just beneath that diaphragm in the abdomen and has many different functions within the body.

You may be wondering why chicken liver is so beneficial for dogs to consume, especially when they filter a lot of waste from the bloodstream. 

The truth is, chicken liver is packed with a whole cocktail of vitamins and minerals, all of which are really good for our dogs.

Is chicken liver good for dogs?

Yes. Chicken liver is absolutely good for dogs and in fact, it’s one of the best organ meats out there for dogs to eat. 

Chicken liver can help with a variety of functions within a dog’s body. Let’s look at the health benefits of chicken liver.

Healthy eyes, skin and coat:

Thanks to the Vitamin A content of chicken liver, many bodily functions are supported.

Vitamin A helps to keep a dogs coat shiny and aids in skin cell production and maintenance. 

Eye health is also benefits from Vitamin A, as it helps them to stay clear and sharp.

Provides the body with energy:

Chicken liver contains high levels of Vitamin B, which helps to supply plenty of energy to our furry friends. 

Vitamin B helps to convert carbohydrates into glucose, which in turn makes our dogs full of energy and life.

Supports thyroid and immune functions:

Good amounts of zinc is found within chicken liver. 

Zinc helps to protect a dog’s body from infection, aids in their ability to fight disease and supports wounds in the healing process. 

Zinc also helps with the production of hormones released by the thyroid gland which supports a dogs energy and metabolic rate.

Helps with circulation:

Packed with Iron, chicken livers help with a dog’s circulatory system. 

Iron is a mineral that enables blood cells to carry oxygen to the essential organs within the body.

Supports blood cell production:

Copper found within chicken liver helps the body to produce new red blood cells. 

Red blood cells are formed within the bone marrow and carry oxygen around a dogs body.

Acts as a natural anti-inflammatory:

Thanks to Omega-3 found in chicken liver, conditions such as arthritis and joint issues may be better tolerated by our dogs due to omega-3’s anti inflammatory properties. 

Omega-3 can help to reduce swelling, improving overall joint capabilities.

Helps the body's building blocks:

Protein is essential for dog’s bodies to function correctly. 

Protein helps to build tendons, ligaments and cartilage as well as skin, nails, muscles and hair. 

Without adequate protein, our dog’s health can suffer badly.

How to cook chicken liver for dogs

Chicken liver can be purchased from most grocery stores or butchers. Do not be put off by its appearance, just think of all the goodness found within the chicken liver that you dog’s body will benefit from.

Chicken livers can be prepared in a variety of ways, but the healthiest option for dogs is to boil them on the cooker. They can also be baked, grilled or fried but just be aware that little to no oil should be used, as this can make the liver unsuitable for canine consumption.

Chicken liver should first be washed under cold water to remove any excess fluid or particles.

Half fill a pot with cold water and place the pot on the cooker. Do not add salt to the water.

Once the pot is boiling, turn the water down to a simmer and add your chicken liver, either whole or chopped into pieces

Simmer for around 10 – 15 minutes before leaving to cool, serve with a little sprinkle of parsley or other dog friendly herb!

Any uncooked chicken liver can be frozen, but should be used within 2 weeks. Cooked chicken liver can last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

There are hundreds of chicken liver recipes for dogs across the internet including chicken liver cakes, chicken liver woofins and chicken liver stews! 

Be sure to use trusted, well reviewed recipes and ensure that they do not involve the addition of any toxic ingredients such as garlic, onions or leeks.

Can dogs eat raw chicken liver?

The answer to this is tricky, it’s a yes and no. There is an on-going debate regarding feeding raw meats to dogs due to the potential risks it could have on both your dog and family members.

Many dogs are fed on a pure raw diet and can have no problems at all. Raw meats can be seen as having little to no processing or added ingredients, as well as being able to offer vitamins and minerals in their purest form.

However, there are risks with feeding dogs a raw diet, including:

Harmful pathogens, parasites and bacteria:

Raw meats can contain harmful bacteria and pathogens that can spread disease in not only our dogs, but to humans too. 

Some of these bacteria may be resistant to antibiotics, meaning that they are more difficult to treat.

Bones can be present:

This should not necessarily be a problem with feeding your dog raw chicken livers, but if you decided to feed your dog a purely raw diet, the meat may contain traces of bones. 

This can cause a risk of choking as well as gastro-intestinal obstruction.

Expensive:

Raw diets can be expensive when compared to conventional dog food diets.

If you want to try a raw diet for your dog, speak with your veterinarian or dog nutritionalist.

How much chicken liver can dogs eat?

As with any food source, chicken liver should be offered as part of a wider, more balanced diet. There can be too much of a good thing, and even though chicken liver is packed with nutrients, it should be fed in moderation. 

Too much chicken liver in a dogs diet can cause problems such as:

High intake of fat:

Chicken liver does contain high levels of fat, so if ingested too often, it can lead to weight gain, diabetes and pancreatitis. 

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas organ, which can lead to severe abdominal pain.

Vitamin A toxicosis:

Even though Vitamin A works miracles in a dogs body, they can have too much of it. 

Toxicity of Vitamin A can cause symptoms such as overdevelopment of bones, constipation and lethargy.

Fetal abnormalities:

If you have a pregnant bitch that consumes too much chicken liver, this can sometimes lead to abnormalities within the offspring.

Abnormalities can include cleft palate or abnormal bone growth.

If you think your dog is acting differently post ingestion of chicken liver, then contact your veterinary practice immediately.

Can dogs eat other organs?

Yes, dogs can eat a variety of organs, whether they’re from chickens, pigs or cows. Organs are rich in nutrients and minerals and can be even more beneficial than feeding your dog muscle meat. 

There are a variety of different organs that dogs can eat, but be warned, some are not for the faint hearted.

Kidney:

Kidneys from chickens are the most nutrient rich for dogs to eat. 

Containing Vitamins E, K and A as well as high levels of iron, they ensure that your dog’s body is functioning correctly.

Heart:

Chicken and cow hearts are the most nutritious for dogs. 

They contain high levels of proteins, iron, phosphorus and taruine, all of which help to maintain a dog’s health body.

Lung:

Entering the realm or more unusual organ meats, beef lung is a surprisingly popular organ for dogs to eat. 

Lung contains essential fatty acids, Vitamins B1, B2 and B12, as well as containing high levels of anti-oxidants.

Spleen:

The spleen organ contains high levels of Vitamins A, D, E and K as well as having good amounts of the minerals zinc and iron. 

The benefits are very similar to that of chicken liver.

Eyeballs:

Perhaps more of an interesting organ option, why not treat your dog to a healthy… delicious… eyeball? 

Containing high levels of the minerals zinc, magnesium and omega-3’s, the eyeball organ can contribute, ironically, to healthy vision.

Do not offer the eyeball whole, as it may become a choking hazard. It may be beneficial to chop it into smaller pieces or even blend it into a paste. Lovely.

Can dogs eat chicken liver? Final Thoughts

Chicken liver is a brilliant way to offer your dog plenty of nutrients, vitamins and minerals and they are sure to enjoy this tasty treat. 

Most dogs will happily eat organ meat, even though it may feel a bit strange or abnormal as an owner to be offering them organs as a food source. As with any food, feed chicken livers in moderation and in addition to their usual diet.

If you are unsure on introducing chicken liver into your dogs diet, speak to your veterinary practice for advice.

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