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Can Dogs Eat Old Chicken – Is It Safe?

Dogs can have strange eating habits. From poo to bugs, and even old chicken. There’s nothing that your furry pal won’t take a bite at. And, that’s also one of the main reasons why their digestive systems can get a bit wonky. If you’re wondering if that’s the case with old chicken, you’ve come to the right place. So, can dogs eat old chicken?

Dogs can eat old chicken, provided it’s not too old or raw. If your dog ingests old chicken that’s gone bad, it can be susceptible to stomach pain, salmonellosis, clostridium perfringens, obesity, and choking hazards.

Suffice it to say, your dog’s problems can experience from eating old chicken aren’t with feeding your pup the stuff. If you’re still a little iffy on the topic, browse through our comprehensive canine guide to discover the hidden dangers of feeding your pet stale poultry meat. 

Reasons Dogs Can’t Eat Old Chicken

As a meat type, chicken appears pretty harmless. It’s not as bad as red meat and can be used to make just about anything from pasta to pie. However, handling raw chicken is another ball game altogether because of the presence of pathogens. 

What’s more, there’s a misconception among some canine enthusiasts that dogs are obligate carnivores and therefore do better with a raw diet or a meat-based diet. Canines may have descended from wolves, but they are omnivores – like us.

And like us, they’re prone to some of the pathogens found in raw, old, or spoiled meat. With that in mind, let’s move on to discussing five main reasons why feeding your dog old chicken isn’t an intelligent choice. 

Garbage Gut

Garbage gut is what veterinarians affectionately term food poisoning in dogs. It can be caused by ingesting contaminated food or water, eating table scraps, spoiled food, and even old meat. Symptoms of garbage gut include fever, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, hypothermia, and in severe cases, shock. 

When it comes to feeding your pet old chicken, raw and old poultry meat poses more of a risk than cooked chicken. Cooking any meat tends to get rid of the bacteria and is safe to eat for pets and animals. Conversely, raw chicken that’s also stale has a higher likelihood of causing food poisoning in your hound due to the presence of bacteria and toxins. 

Additionally, canines under five years of age and small or toy dog breeds are more at risk of developing food poisoning than their larger counterparts. Treatment of food poisoning may involve hospitalization (if your vet feels the need), IV drips, and antibiotics. Recovery time depends on how quickly the condition is diagnosed and tackled. 


Scientists have thus far discovered around 2500 serotypes of Salmonella – all of which are capable of infecting humans. And, here’s the kicker – freezing meat (like chicken) does not kill this bacteria because it’s capable of surviving several weeks in dry and wet environments. 

While it’s uncommon for adult dogs to contract salmonellosis, they can be carriers of this bacteria – without showing any symptoms. That means your canine could be infected and could be shedding salmonella in its stool or saliva, which isn’t good news for pet parents. 

Puppies, on the other hand, are pretty prone to show symptoms of salmonellosis, which include:

● Diarrhea

● Fever

● Vomiting

● Reduced appetite

● Reduced activity level

Adult dogs showing salmonellosis symptoms will generally be able to fight off the infection and recover in about a week. But, puppies are at risk of developing dehydration and may require hospitalization to recover. 

Clostridium Perfringens

Clostridium perfringens is a type of intestinal bacteria that are found quite commonly in poultry meat. However, it’s a bit of a mystery in canines because over 80% of dogs carry the bacteria without showing any adverse symptoms. When signs of the infection due appear, they can result from a stressor – such as a sudden change in diet. 

That means, even if your canine is pretty used to eating chicken, feeding it old chicken could set off a reaction that allows the clostridium perfringens bacteria present in your pet’s system to start producing toxins – which leads to diarrhea. Typically, your pet’s immune system will take care of the infection independently, with symptoms subsiding after one week. 

Still, there are chances that canines may develop a life-threatening form of gastritis (hemorrhagic gastroenteritis) with symptoms like bloody diarrhea and vomiting. This condition requires immediate veterinary treatment to prevent severe dehydration and shock and often requires antibiotics to treat the condition. 


Certain canine breeds, such as Daschunds or Labrador Retrievers, are prone to obesity – which means a high protein diet is out of the question. Conversely, even high-energy dogs do run the risk of getting overweight with a diet containing only meat. 

Even if your puppy has an industrial-strength digestive system and can eat old chicken like a champ – feeding it such a diet can lead to obesity or lead to liver or kidney problems. This is just another reason why you should avoid giving your dog too much chicken (or any meat) – be it old or not. 

Choking Hazards

Another danger of feeding your dog chicken with bones (stale or not) is that your canine can choke on the bones – this is even more true for cooked meat. Cooked bones can splinter easily and cause injuries (gastrointestinal and esophageal) because of their sharp edges. 

Additionally, chicken meat includes small bones that your pet may try to swallow whole, which can lead to the bone getting stuck in your pet’s throat. This will not only be extremely painful but can also be a life-threatening situation. 

If you even suspect your pet may have chowed down on chicken bones, it’s a good idea to visit your veterinarian to ensure no harm comes to your canine. 

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Left Out Overnight

Feeding your dog uncooked chicken that’s been left out overnight isn’t at all recommended. Raw chicken contains a host of bacteria, including salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter, etc.

Leaving raw meat out at room temperature allows bacteria to thrive and produce toxins, which can cause a host of digestive issues – if ingested. 

On the contrary, if the chicken is cooked, you may get away with feeding it to your pet if it smells okay and doesn’t include any bones. Nonetheless, we recommend not taking any chances with your dog’s health and skipping it altogether. 

Pet experts advise against feeding canines wet dog food – if it’s been left out overnight. So, by that standard, it’s not wise to try and feed your dog chicken that’s been left out for more than seven to eight hours. 

Can Dogs Eat Expired Chicken

Scientists state that eating expired chicken can still cause food poisoning, even after it’s been cooked.

That’s because the bacteria present in uncooked chicken, such as salmonella, don’t die when the meat is frozen and can go on to produce toxins. That means that even after the meat is cooked, it can still give you food poisoning. 

While dogs have a more robust digestive system than humans, they’re still susceptible to toxins produced by the bacteria. Some dog owners claim their dog’s can devour chicken that’s past its best-by date and not suffer any ill effects. 

However, if your canine is still in its puppyhood or has a compromised immune system due to seniority or health condition, you should avoid feeding them expired chicken.

Dogs in the prime of their lives (who don’t have any underlying health concerns) may be able to digest the stuff. But, if the meat smells funny or sour or looks wonky – it’s best to throw it in the trash can. 

Will Spoiled Chicken Make A Dog Sick

Dr. Kevin Fitzgerarld, with the AKC (American Kennel Club), states that 20% of dogs fed moldy cheese and old eggs developed a slight fever in one scientific study.

That goes to show that despite their highly acidic tummies, canines are still prone to developing food poisoning when they eat rotten food. 

Experts especially warn against feeding canines spoiled meat, like chicken. Because such meat includes pathogens and the toxins they produce, these toxins can cause a bacterial infection with mild to severe symptoms when ingested. 

Besides that, cooking spoiled chicken doesn’t make it any safer for your canine – because cooking the meat only eliminates the bacteria, not the toxins. That’s why there’s a genuine possibility that feeding a dog spoiled chicken will make it sick. 

What Happens If A Dog Eats Old Raw Chicken

It’s difficult to predict precisely what will happen if your canine eats stale raw chicken because some dogs can digest the stuff while others fall ill. 

However, hounds that show symptoms of an infection, such as diarrhea or vomiting, need immediate medical help.

First off, your vet will need to run some tests to understand the kind of bacteria they’re dealing with. Canines suffering from dehydration may also need an IV to ensure their electrolyte levels stay stable. 

Once the infection has been identified, your vet may prescribe your pet antibiotics to clear the infection and any lingering toxins. 

Can Dogs Get Salmonella From Chicken

Adult dogs can get salmonella from chicken, but not all canines show symptoms of the infection. In short, it’s possible for your furry friend to be a carrier of salmonella and shed it (via its saliva or stool) without suffering any adverse side effects, like vomiting or diarrhea. 

However, it’s likelier for adult dogs with weak immune or digestive systems and puppies to fall ill because of salmonellosis. The symptoms can also include light fevers, dehydration, tremors, low energy, etc. 

Chances of your pet falling prey to salmonellosis are higher if you feed it raw or spoiled chicken (even if it’s cooked). Cooking the meat only gets rid of the bacteria and not the problematic toxins that can cause food poisoning. 

Can Dogs Get Food Poisoning From Old Chicken

Canines can get food poisoning for several reasons, and one of them is eating spoiled meat.

Raw diet advocates claim that dogs can withstand eating raw or rotten meat (including chicken) because canines are descended from wolves. The logic is that because wolves are carnivores and scavengers, pups have the same abilities too.  

However, this reasoning doesn’t consider that dogs have undergone some pretty massive changes thanks to domestication, including diet.

Once your furball is used to ingesting a particular type of diet, a sudden change can bring on a digestive upset. That’s possibly why some dogs can adjust to a raw diet, while others develop nutritional imbalances, along with problems like loose stools or vomiting. 

Similarly, your dog can develop food poisoning from old chicken if it’s used to eating commercial dog food or freshly cooked doggy meals. 

Things To Consider

In addition to chicken, dog parents are always on the lookout for the next best thing for their furry family members, and that’s how things should be. One of the things pet owners worry about the most is their pet’s diet.

If you’ve been searching for an alternative to commercial pet food, you’ve likely heard of the raw diet. 

Here are some pointers you need to know about the different diet options available and what experts say about them. 

Raw Diet

Raw dog food can contain muscle meat, organ meat, raw eggs, doggy-safe fruits, veggies, etc. You can choose to buy ready-made meals from the store or make them at home. Supporters of this diet claim that it can help canines with skin and coat health, improve dental hygiene and promote digestion. 

However, you should note that the American Veterinary Medical Association does not support this trend and states that feeding dogs any animal-source protein that hasn’t undergone rigorous pathogen elimination processes is a danger not just to the animals but also to humans. 

Fresh Food Diet

Compared to the raw diet, veterinarians much prefer a fresh food diet for canines because it includes all-natural ingredients (fresh and cooked) that can do wonders for your furball’s overall health.

The only downside to adopting a fresh food diet for canines is that you need to have extensive knowledge about your dog’s nutritional needs – which isn’t easy to come by unless you’re a veterinary nutritionist. 

Nonetheless, you can rely on your vet or food delivery services like Ollie that work hand in hand with pet nutritionists to provide well-balanced meals according to their breed, age, body composition, and activity levels.

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