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Why raw chicken wings are perfect for dogs

Raw chicken wing bones are soft and safe, although of course you should never feed your dog cooked bones, writes David Tomlinson

raw chicken wing

How to joint a chicken: Step 5a of 10. Remove spur from each wing. Similar in W W. 4/6/96. Page 60.

Raw chicken wings for dogs – but never cooked

If you’re looking for a healthy treat for your hard working dog then these are ideal. It might surprise you because we’ve always been warned off giving dogs chicken on the bone. The difference is that cooked chicken bones are brittle and liable to splinter. However raw chicken bones are rubbery and a dog’s digestive system is well adapted to metabolising them.

I weaned my last litter of puppies on raw chicken wings at five weeks. The puppies loved them, though it did take them a long time to munch through a wing. I reckon that my springer Rowan must have eaten around 5,000 chicken wings in her lifetime.

Raw chicken wings for dogs

Puppies can be offered raw chicken wings from five weeks of age

Breakfasting on raw chicken wings

My late spaniel, Fleur, 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 was nervous about doing this at first.

For the dogs’ dinner I feed boiled rice, chopped vegetables (usually spinach, kale or broccoli) and raw meat. Today there’s an excellent choice of packaged raw meat for dogs from a variety of manufacturers, and you can choose anything from rabbit to venison. My dogs aren’t fussy and have shown no preferences for any particular meat: as long as it’s raw they will eat it with gusto. (Read more on raw food diets for dogs here.)

There are many excellent packaged dry foods available, and they do make feeding much easier. But wherever I am, I always try and ensure that raw chicken wings for dogs are available. You can sometimes find packets of frozen raw chicken wings in supermarket chiller sections (just make sure that you defrost them before giving them to your four-legged companions.) (Read up on energy bars for dogs here.)

Here’s just one manufacturer selling raw chicken wings for dogs online.

BARF diet for dogs

Dogs make their preference for raw food clear

Praise for raw chicken wings for dogs

The Canine Health Concern website says: “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.”

How soon can a puppy eat raw chicken wings?

My puppies were busily gnawing on chicken wings from five weeks.

None of these puppies had an upset stomach or diarrhoea during the time they spent with us before 
going to their new homes. (If you’re having trouble getting your dog to swallow medicine, try these pill pockets for dogs which can make the process easier. )

What about other raw bones?

Vet Tony Buckwell and Sporting Gun contributor advises:

  • Only offer dogs human-grade raw bones.
  • Do supervise your dog at all times when you give him a bone — and manage dogs in a multi-dog household. Bones represent a high-value resource to a dog and fights can break out.
  • Don’t feed cooked bones because these can splinter, causing internal damage or intestinal obstruction.
  • Don’t feed too many bones as this can cause constipation. The general guideline is one or two raw bones per week, with a few days in between each serving, but this may vary between individual dogs.
  • Don’t let your dog chew any kind of bone into small pieces.
  • Don’t give your dog small chunks of bone that can cause blockages.
  • Don’t give your dog a bone if he has stomach problems.

This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.