Boiled whole chicken

You may have been instructed by your vet to feed chicken to your dog, or perhaps you just want to add something tasty to their diet. Chicken is perfectly safe to feed to your dog as long as the skin and bones are removed and it’s cooked thoroughly.

In this article, we look at a few reasons that you might want to give chicken to your dog and how long you should boil it if you decide to do so.

Is Chicken Safe for My Dog?

Chicken is safe for your dog, especially white meat. Dark meat and chicken skin can be too rich and fatty for dogs, leading to pancreatitis. One major cause of pancreatitis in dogs is eating a large amount of fatty food at once.

Cooked chicken bones are brittle and can splinter, potentially creating a choking hazard for your dog. They can also be swallowed in shards and cut the intestinal lining or create a blockage. Cooked bones, skin, excess fat, and dark meat should never be offered to your dog.

Your dog should only eat cooked chicken. Raw chicken is not recommended due to its risk of salmonella and other bacterial infections. The chicken should be cooked thoroughly before offering it to your dog.

Dogs with poultry allergies or sensitivities should not eat chicken, even if you cook it yourself.

Why Should My Dog Eat Chicken?

Dogs should eat chicken because they enjoy the taste, and it offers them a nutritious treat that can break up the monotony of their everyday diet. Some dogs with sensitive stomachs enjoy chicken because it’s easy to digest and gentle on the digestive system. If your dog is suffering from a stomach illness, your vet may suggest feeding them cooked chicken and white rice instead of their dog food for a few days until they return to normal.

Chicken and rice are usually suggested when dogs are vomiting or have diarrhea. The rice is a bonding agent, and the chicken is easy on digestion so it won’t further irritate their stomach. The food is bland and easy to prepare. Frozen chicken breasts and a box of white rice are easy to keep on hand in case your dog ever needs them.

shar pei dog eating
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

How Do I Prepare Chicken for My Dog?

It’s best to boil chicken for dogs. Using anything like oil, seasonings, or butter can irritate your dog’s stomach and even make them sick. Some seasonings, like onion and garlic, are dangerous for dogs. You want the blandest chicken that you can get, and that comes from boiling it in water until it’s cooked through.

It may not seem tasty to humans, but dogs will still love it. They don’t need any enticing to eat chicken!

The best way to boil chicken for your dog is to place thawed or fresh chicken breasts in a medium pot of water. Cover the pot, turn the stove burner on, and let the chicken come to a boil.

Once the chicken is boiling, start your timer for 12 minutes. This should be enough time to cook the chicken completely, but you need to make sure of this before you give it to your dog.

If you’re a pro at eyeballing chicken to tell if it’s cooked, you can cut a piece open after 12 minutes and look for any sign of pink. If you see pink, it must cook longer. Place it back in the water, and let it boil for a few more minutes, checking occasionally to see if it’s done.

If this sounds like too much work, the easiest — and safest — way to tell if the chicken is done is to use a meat thermometer. The USDA recommends that chicken be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Temperatures higher than that are safe, but anything under it is dangerous.

Pull your chicken out of the water after 12 minutes, and insert the thermometer. If the reading is over 165°F, remove the chicken from the water, and let it cool. You can then either shred it or cut it into bite-sized pieces to offer to your dog.

Store any leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.


Chicken is healthy and safe for your dog to enjoy if it’s prepared properly. Remember to never give your dog any dark meat, cooked chicken bones, or chicken skin. The safest way to prepare chicken for your dog is to boil it in water until it’s fully cooked. No seasonings, oil, or butter should be added. It sounds plain, but it makes a delicious and healthy treat for them!

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay