Cooked chicken bones are dangerous ... but raw are perfect

It is close to 15 years since I changed my dogs’ diet from feeding so-called complete foods out of a sack to what is now generally termed a BARF (bones and raw food) diet. I prefer to call it 
a natural diet, as that is what it is. I’m convinced it is the best way to feed a dog, though you should adapt it to the specific requirements of your own dog or dogs.

A chicken wing for breakfast

For some reason my spaniel Fleur, who died last year aged 15, couldn’t cope with big bones, but chicken wings were a different matter. She consumed these with enthusiasm, crunching up a wing for breakfast every morning. Having been brought up to believe that giving a dog 
a chicken bone was dangerous, I fed wings with some trepidation at first. There was no cause to worry. Cooked chicken bones are brittle and dangerous, but when raw they are the perfect dog food.

If you want further information about the BARF diet, visit the Canine Health Concern website. Here you will read that “raw chicken on the bone is without doubt the very best form in which to feed your dog most of its requirements of meaty bones… The bones come from 10-week-old birds so are extremely soft. Once your dog has crunched through the flesh, the bones are very safely crushed. Contrast this with cooked chicken, where the flesh is beautifully soft, but the bones have gone brittle and sometimes quite splintery. These are dangerous!”

“Raw wings have the best fatty acid content of all animal bones. They are beautifully balanced with respect to their bone-to-flesh ratio, and when raw, they are soft and safe.”

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When can a puppy eat raw chicken wings?

A recent letter from a reader asked me when I thought it safe to introduce chicken wings to a puppy’s diet. With 
my last litter we started offering chicken wings at five weeks as part of their weaning and the puppies had a great 
time gnawing on them. It did take them some time to consume a wing, but it 
kept them happily occupied.

It is worth adding that not one of the puppies had an upset or runny stomach 
in the time they spent with us before 
going to their new homes.