There are lots of controversies around feeding chicken necks to dogs. Chicken necks are generally safe for dogs and have several nutritional benefits. They are rich sources of chondroitin and glucosamine, which play a massive role in forming strong, healthy joints in dogs.
Though there are several risks involved, like choking, they are manageable with some level of care. Read along to learn more about feeding dogs on chicken necks and the best way to go about it.
How Do You Feed Chicken Necks to Dogs?
You can offer fresh or dehydrated chicken necks to your dog.
Fresh Chicken Necks
These are chicken necks that have not been processed. They’ve only had the feathers plucked, and therefore a highly natural additive to your dog’s diet.
You can easily find these in farmer’s markets, butchers, or supermarkets. You can also find them in frozen or refrigerated products, and you should keep them at low temperatures to prevent the multiplication of harmful bacteria.
Dehydrated Chicken Necks
These chicken necks could be air-dried, freeze-dried, or dried using a dehydrator or heat. You should always find out how the chicken bones were dried before purchasing them.
Chicken necks dried at high temperatures can be brittle and thus shatter into sharp pieces as the dog crushes them. These sharp shards can damage the dog’s mouth and digestive tract. You can find dehydrated chicken necks in pet stores through online or in-person purchases.
What Are the Benefits of Chicken Necks in Dogs?
These are the significant benefits your dog reaps from chicken necks:
Improves Joint Health
Chicken necks’ connective tissues and cartilages are a great source of chondroitin and glucosamine. These nutrients help improve joint health in dogs.
They function as precursors for joints and cartilage, thus highly beneficial, especially in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. They improve weight and pain-bearing capacity on affected limbs and ease the severity of the condition.
However, like most natural nutrient sources, the amounts of chondroitin and glucosamine in chicken necks are unknown and usually vary. Therefore, you should offer joint supplements to your dog, even with chicken necks in its diet, and have your dog diagnosed regularly by your veterinarian for joint problems.
Improves Dental Health
Chicken necks provide a similar dental benefit to dogs’ teeth as dental chews, except they are crunchier and more natural, giving better results. They offer an abrasive action on the surface of the teeth as the dog crushes through them, helping remove plaque from the teeth. They also improve the strength of the teeth and jaws of the dog.
Nutritional Facts About Chicken Necks
Chicken necks are considerably nutrient-packed and healthy treats for your dog. They have high protein content and are also rich in fats.
Your dog will therefore enjoy a rich protein source, which is crucial in muscle growth, DNA synthesis, and hormone production. The high-fat content also provides energy to the dogs. It would be best if you avoid feeding high fat-content foods to overweight dogs or those with conditions that get triggered by fatty treats such as pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease.
The spine in chicken necks is also a great source of calcium for dogs, which aids in the formation of strong bones.
An analysis of the dehydrated chick neck can be broken down into the following:
What Is the Right Amount of Chicken Necks to Feed a Dog?
The number of chicken necks you feed your dog depends on the size and health condition. To avoid health complications, you shouldn’t provide chicken neck or any other treat to an overweight dog. If your dog is active, with a healthy weight and a medium size, one or two chicken necks are enough.
You shouldn’t surpass two chicken necks in a day. Dogs are omnivorous and thus require a balanced diet; chicken necks are not nutritionally balanced. Two chicken necks and a healthy balance of other plant food nutrients can make a healthy meal for the dog.
What Are the Risks of Feeding Chicken Necks to Dogs?
Despite the health benefits of chicken necks, there are some downsides too, which you should watch out for to ensure your dog’s safety.
Choking risk is a reasonable concern when feeding chicken necks to dogs, especially when they are raw and fresh. Dogs, particularly medium or large-sized, are more likely to eat raw, fresh chicken necks in a hurry than harder and dehydrated ones.
They may neglect to chew properly, swallowing large pieces that can easily get stuck in the esophagus. Under crushed vertebrae can also be traumatic and scratchy to the dog’s insides.
Not Safe for Small Dogs
Chicken necks are not good treats or diet supplements for puppies due to their high calcium concentration. Their high calcium concentration can destabilize the balance that commercial, nutrient-balanced puppy meals provide, causing bone development problems. They also present a choking threat to the underdeveloped digestive tract of puppies.
Risk of Paralysis
Another concern when feeding chicken neck to your dogs is the risk of a dog paralysis condition, acute Polyradiculoneuritis (APN). It is a dog version of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), which affects humans.
The condition is caused by consuming raw chicken meat, where the dogs’ legs become weak and later advance to the neck and the head. It leads to immune-mediated damage to the nerves, which is thought to be caused by Campylobacter SPP bacteria.
Though the disease is rare, it is vital to take note of its risks by purchasing chicken necks from credible outlets. They should be certified pathogen-free chicken necks to protect your dog from this infection and other complications.
Which Are the Best Alternatives to Chicken Necks?
Turkey necks: Turkey necks are much similar to chicken necks, except they are larger. They have similar nutritional advantages as chicken necks, but their size makes them more suitable for bigger dogs. They push the dog to chew them before swallowing, considerably eliminating the choking hazard. Some medium and large-sized dogs swallow chicken necks whole due to their small size, but it’s much harder with turkey necks.
Chicken feet: Chicken feet also have high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, hence an excellent option for dogs with joint problems. Their bones are smaller and easily crumble as the dog chews; therefore, they hardly get stuck or scratch the dog’s esophagus while swallowing.