My Dog Ate Raw Chicken and Seems Fine – What Should I Do?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Dog digestive systems can handle raw chicken better than humans can, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe.
  • Raw chicken can carry pathogenic bacteria or parasitic organisms that may make your dog sick.
  • Dogs with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of getting sick if they eat raw chicken.
  • If your dog eats raw chicken, you should report the incident to your veterinarian.

You only left the room for a minute, but that was all it took. One of the chicken breasts you pulled out of the fridge to grill was missing, and your dog was licking her lips. Should you be concerned?

Raw chicken is dangerous for people and some animals to eat because it can contain pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli. The meat may also carry parasites or cause other digestive issues. Usually, the acid in a dog’s stomach can handle the bacteria in raw chicken. But if your pup has a weakened immune system for any reason, he could become very ill. 

If your dog eats raw chicken, you should call your veterinarian and let him know what happened. 

How much raw chicken is dangerous to dogs?

Even owners who choose to feed a raw diet to their dogs should beware of the dangers of giving their furbabies too much raw chicken. Large quantities of this meat can be dangerous if it carries pathogens. 

Additionally, dogs that aren’t accustomed to ingesting raw diets can experience digestive upset if they snarf some raw chicken. The amount of raw poultry that it takes to harm your pooch varies depending on your pup’s age, breed, overall health, and size. Puppies, older dogs, and dogs with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to severe illness if they eat raw chicken.

The amount of raw chicken your dog can eat safely depends on his size, health status, breed, and age. Large quantities of chicken can make dogs very sick., Pups that aren’t accustomed to uncooked meat can also experience digestive upset.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Raw Chicken?

If you catch your dog eating raw chicken, restrain him and remove the uncooked meat from his presence. Confirm how much chicken your pup ingested. Once you have that information, call your vet to let him know what happened. Then, observe your furbaby for at least 24 hours for signs of illness.

There are several conditions your dog could develop after eating raw chicken. The most likely results are intestinal parasites or bacterial infection with Salmonella, E. coli, or Campylobacter. Signs you may observe include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Lethargy or depression

If you see your dog eating raw chicken, remove any leftover meat from access and determine how much he ate. Let your vet know what happened and observe your pooch for signs of digestive upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

What Should You Do Immediately If Your Dog Ate Raw Chicken?

If your dog ate raw chicken:

  • Immediately restrain him until you remove all remaining pieces from his reach. 
  • Determine how much meat is missing
  • Cook the chicken as soon as possible to prevent future temptation.
  • Call your veterinarian and report the incident
  • Observe your dog for signs of illness for the next 24 or more hours.

As long as your dog doesn’t exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, or depression, you can focus on cleaning the area where the raw chicken was and preventing further ingestion. However, if your dog throws up repeatedly or breaks with diarrhea, you should take him to the vet for diagnostic testing and treatment. 

The first thing to do if your pooch eats raw chicken is to remove any remaining pieces from your dog’s reach. Then you can determine how much is missing and inform your vet. If your dog shows signs of illness, take him to the vet as soon as possible.

What If My Dog Ate Plenty of Raw Chicken But Seems Fine?

The more chicken your dog eats, the greater the risk that he’ll get sick. So, if your pup ate a plate of raw thighs or a full carcass, you should contact your veterinarian and report how much he ingested. 

Signs of illness may not appear that soon after your pup snarfs a pile of chicken. For example, bacterial infections can take 72 hours or more to develop before you notice signs of an infection. Some parasite infestations may not manifest for a few weeks. 

At a minimum, you should observe your pooch for signs of digestive disturbance for a day or two. However, your veterinarian may want to run fecal and blood cultures to check for signs of infection.

When a dog eats lots of raw chicken, you may not see signs of illness right away. Bacterial infections can take 3 or more days to emerge, and intestinal parasites could take a few weeks to establish an infestation. Inform your veterinarian and observe your dog for at least a few days.

Signs That My Dog Became Ill After Eating Raw Chicken

The signs of illness you observe in your dog after he eats raw chicken depend on the types of pathogens contained in the meat. 

Signs of Salmonella Infection

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Mucus in stool
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Elevated heart rate

Signs of E. coli infection

  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Cold skin 
  • Bluish-colored mucous membranes

Signs of Campylobacter infection

  • Watery to mucoid diarrhea
  • Straining
  • Abdominal cramping/pain
  • Lethargy
  • Fever

Signs of intestinal parasite infestation

  • Diarrhea
  • Licking the anus
  • Increased appetite with weight loss
  • Worms or worm segments in the feces
  • Swollen abdomen

The signs you may observe in your dog after he eats raw chicken vary depending on the types of pathogens in the meat. Symptoms of illness often include vomiting and diarrhea. In the case of bacterial infections, you may also notice a loss of appetite, fever, and depression.

What Happens to Dogs When They Eat Raw Chicken?

Usually, your dog’s stomach acid will kill the pathogens or parasites found in the raw chicken. However, the meat in the gut can still trigger mild digestive upset. Your dog may have a mild case of vomiting and diarrhea.

If your pooch has a compromised immune system or eats lots of chicken, the bacteria can overwhelm your dog’s stomach acid and cause an infection. When this happens, the microbes will multiply and proliferate causing vomiting, diarrhea, and other signs of illness.

In the case of parasites, the larvae will migrate from the stomach to the intestines and attach to the gut lining. Over time, they can cause a loss of condition as they feed off your dog’s nutrients.

Usually, dogs will be fine after they eat raw chicken. However, if your dog has a weakened immune system or eats a ton of uncooked meat, the bacteria or parasites can overwhelm his system and cause infections.

Why Is Raw Chicken Dangerous to Dogs?

Raw chicken meat can contain several bacteria that are dangerous to dogs. While the canine digestive system produces more acid to kill the pathogenic organisms than human stomachs, dogs are still at risk if they consume these materials. For dogs with weakened immune systems, contaminated chicken can be overwhelming. 

When bacteria infect the canine digestive system, the microorganisms multiply in the system. As they proliferate, they affect the gut lining and cause signs of illness. Repetitive vomiting and diarrhea cause fluid loss and eventually dehydration, which can be life-threatening.

Raw chicken can carry pathogenic bacteria that tend to make dogs sick. Canines that have weak immune systems are susceptible to infection from dangerous organisms. The symptoms they cause can become life-threatening.

How Do Vets Treat Dogs That Get Sick By Eating Raw Chicken?

When you take your dog to the vet after he eats raw chicken, the doctor will start by getting a history about the event. Then he’ll conduct a physical examination on your pooch and may conduct diagnostic tests including fecal cultures, blood tests, and a urinalysis.

Depending on the doctor’s diagnosis and your dog’s symptoms, treatment may include

  • IV fluids for dehydration
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Antiparasitic drugs to eliminate intestinal parasites
  • Feeding a bland diet such as boiled rice and hamburger or chicken breast

When you take your dog to the vet, the doctor will take a history, conduct a physical examination, and may run diagnostic tests. The treatment will depend on your dog’s symptoms and the doctor’s diagnosis. 

How Long Will It Take My Dog to Recover After He Eats Raw Chicken?

The recovery period depends on what happens when your dog eats raw chicken. If your dog experiences mild digestive upset from the meat, he will probably recover in a few days. However, when there’s a bacterial infection, the recovery usually takes 10 days to 2 weeks with antibiotic treatment. In the case of Salmonella infection, recovery may take considerably longer. 

When your dog develops a parasite infestation, When dogs develop intestinal parasite infestations, they usually respond well to a course of antiparasitic medications. Three doses given about 2 weeks apart usually kill the parasites and their immature stages

The Final Woof

Canine digestive systems can usually handle some raw chicken, but if dogs have weak immune systems or eat a lot of uncooked poultry, it can be dangerous. The meat often carries pathogenic bacteria and may contain parasites that affect dogs. If your dog eats raw chicken, you should block him from further access and inform your vet.

Raw chicken can contain pathogenic organisms like Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter. These organisms can cause severe digestive infections that make your dog very ill. If your dog shows signs of illness after eating raw chicken, you should take him to the vet for an examination and diagnostic testing. Your furbaby’s treatment will depend on the doctor’s diagnosis. The recovery period varies depending on the type of infection.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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