Can Dogs Eat Chicken Fat? 10 Facts, Benefits, Risks

Dogs can benefit from small amounts of chicken fat. Rich in Omega-6 fatty acids, which are fundamental for your dog’s health, this is a great choice. However, the high calorie content of chicken fat can lead to uncontrolled eating and ultimately, weight gain.

There is no reason to exclude chicken fat from your dog’s diet. However, as always, moderation and striking a healthy balance between protein, carbohydrates, and fat are essential.

Many commercial dog foods contain chicken fat, and it’s best to let the experts determine how much is optimal for your dog’s health.

What Is Chicken Fat?

Chicken Fat is not the same as the fat you trim off a whole chicken at home, so it’s important to make that distinction clear.

Chicken Fat is the highly processed fatty acids that have been extracted from a chicken without the use of any manual methods.

Typically, Chicken Fat is a waste product created during the processing of meat meals like Chicken Meal. Each day, thousands of chickens would be butchered for their parts, with the less savory parts and scraps finding the most widespread application.

Meat meals, such as Chicken Meal, a concentrated form of meat with most of its moisture and fat removed, are common ingredients in dog food recipes.

A lot of people are wary and worried about by-products being used in pet food. However, in an effort to dispel the notion that by-products are subpar ingredients, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association cites Chicken Fat as an illustration.

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Chicken Fat Nutrition

Although it’s probably common knowledge that conventional fat is the primary source of nutrition in chicken, we’ll state the obvious and say so anyway. Chicken Fat, like other animal fats, is essential for a dog’s health.

Dogs can also benefit from the concentrated energy found in fat. Dogs that engage in strenuous activity, such as working dogs or high-energy breeds, can benefit greatly from this concentrated energy source.

Carbohydrates are typically the first ingredient in dog food, but some people believe that ingredients like Chicken Fat are a better source of energy and more closely reflect a dog’s natural diet.

In addition, a much smaller amount of fat is needed to provide the same number of calories as protein or carbohydrates.

Finally, not all fats are created equal; chicken fat, which is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, may have some benefits.
The Omega 6 Fatty Acids may not be as well-known or helpful as the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, but they still have some positive effects on a dog’s health.

The Omega 6 Fatty Acids have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including protection against cancer and heart disease.

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The Importance of Fat in Your Dog’s Diet

Dogs can get an immediate boost to their energy from fats. Fats are the primary source of energy for your dog, surpassing even protein and carbohydrates, making it essential that they consume an adequate amount of healthy fats every day.

In colder climates and for dogs that expend a lot of energy each day, a diet higher in fat is essential. This class includes sled dogs and herding dogs, among others.

Fatty foods provide the quick energy outdoor dogs in colder climates need to keep their body temperature up.

Chicken Fat is Used in Many Commercial Dog Foods

Commercial dog foods frequently feature chicken fat as an ingredient because it is a high-quality fat source, provides excellent flavor, and improves the food’s consistency.

In spite of the fact that it is a waste product of the industry, chicken by-product meal is a healthy addition to dog food.

Animal fat is an excellent source of the essential fatty acids that dogs require in their diets. Oils from plants and seeds, such as safflower oil and sunflower oil, are also used as a source of healthy fats in dog foods.

There is a wide range of fat contents in commercial dog food. Fat is very calorie dense, and dog food may contain anywhere from 25% to 60% fat by weight. Comparatively, a gram of fat contains more than twice as many calories as a gram of protein or carbohydrates.

One can expect dry dog food to be on the lower end of this spectrum and wet dog food to be on the upper end.

The percentage of fat is about half that when expressed as a weight, as is standard practice for dog food labels. There should be no more than 5% fat in your dog’s diet by weight, but the majority of foods have much more than that already.

Benefits of Chicken Fat in Your Dog’s Diet


To put it simply, your dog will love the flavor of chicken fat. It’s a great way to add flavor and fat to whatever you’re cooking, and it also makes the food more palatable. Chicken fat, like other easily digested animal fats, can be quickly converted into energy by the dog’s body.

Health Benefits

Chicken fat is rich in the Omega-6 fatty acids that are crucial to your dog’s development.

Because they can’t make them themselves, Omega fatty acids must come from the food you feed your dog.

Deficiencies in healthy fats in a dog’s diet can cause skin dryness, itching, and a lackluster coat. Chicken fat helps your dog’s skin, coat, and immune system.

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Risks of Feeding Chicken Fat

Weight Gain

Since fat has a higher caloric density than either protein or carbohydrates, a relatively small amount can have a significant impact on your calorie intake. As a result, it is typically listed further down the list of ingredients in your dog’s food.

An overly caloric diet, such as that provided by extra chicken fat, can cause your dog to gain excess weight.

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Upset Stomach

The likelihood of your dog experiencing gastrointestinal distress after eating fatty foods is increased. Because of this, you shouldn’t feed your dog any chicken fat, not even as a treat.

Constipation, nausea, and vomiting are just some of the digestive symptoms that can result from a diet high in fat. When switching your dog to a food with a higher fat content, do so gradually. To avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach, transition to the new food gradually.

Risk of Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis can be brought on by feeding your dog fatty foods, like chicken fat.

Canine pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, is a serious condition that can quickly become fatal. A high-fat diet is one of many potential causes (including obesity).

When your dog’s pancreas is inflamed, the digestive enzymes it produces become overactive, wreaking havoc on the organ and the tissues around it. When inflammation occurs, other organs may be harmed.

Abdominal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, or a fever may be present as symptoms. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms in your dog on a consistent basis and suspect pancreatitis.

The best way to avoid a trip to the emergency vet because of pancreatitis is to pay close attention to the diet from the start.

Be sure to give your dog the recommended amount of commercial dog food and listen to your vet’s advice on your dog’s fat intake. A dog’s risk of developing Pancreatitis increases after they’ve already had it once, so it’s important to keep a close eye on their diet from the get-go, even if they don’t seem sick or show any symptoms.

Should I Feed My Dog Extra Chicken Fat?

No. Commercial dog food is the ideal vehicle for delivery. And you won’t have a hard time tracking it down because it is a staple in many commercially available dog foods.

For the same reason, we don’t advise people to give their dogs chicken fat on its own or as an additive to their dog food.

To reap the benefits of adding chicken fat to your dog’s diet, you must do so properly. Many hours and dollars are spent by commercial dog food manufacturers perfecting their recipes.

To keep your dog healthy, you’ll need to find a good balance between the chicken fat and the protein and carbs in his food. Because of its high caloric content, chicken fat should also be limited to prevent your dog from becoming overweight.

What Are Some Delicious Alternatives?

Small amounts of lean protein, such as cooked chicken breast or a low sodium chicken broth, can enhance the flavor of commercial dog food for your pet. Both of these can be added to your dog’s dry kibble.

Lean meat has a lot of flavor and is a great protein source. You can give your dog a different kind of meat every day of the week if you like. Try chicken one day, turkey the next, and lean ground beef on the weekend.

You can satisfy your dog’s appetite without worrying about adding too much fat to his diet by giving him low-sodium chicken broth. An additional benefit is that it can be used to make their food more palatable by adding moisture.

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Can Chicken Fat Trigger A Chicken Allergy?

Chicken is a good example of a dog whose owner doesn’t fully understand his or her dog’s allergy situation.

Dogs with Chicken allergies typically react negatively to a specific protein in Chicken, rather than to the meat itself.

One could reason that since Chicken Fat shouldn’t contain any Chicken Protein, a dog probably wouldn’t have an allergic reaction to it.

That’s a fair point, and it’s true that many dogs who have problems digesting chicken can thrive on a dog food recipe that includes chicken fat.

While some dogs may have no reaction to chicken, others may have an adverse reaction to chicken fat. It is crucial that you know exactly what is in the dog food that you feed your pet.

Chicken fat can appear on the ingredient list after the first five or ten ingredients but before the last.

Most people who care about their pets and the food they feed them have been taught to look only at these primary ingredients, so they might miss Chicken Fat if it appears further down the list.

Check out our piece Best Dog Food Without Chicken for more information on Chicken allergies and the best alternatives for dogs who can’t eat Chicken.

What If My Dog Is Allergic to Chicken? Can They Still Have Chicken Fat?

It is the protein in chicken that causes an allergic reaction in dogs. Since chicken fat does not contain any chicken protein, it should still be fine for them to consume.

When chicken meal is processed, chicken fat is a byproduct. As a part of this procedure, the protein is isolated from the fat.

Your vet should be consulted prior to purchasing or switching brands of dog food if you are concerned about your dog’s susceptibility to developing food allergies. Your veterinarian can go over the ingredients with you and help you make a decision.

Dog Food Brands That Use Chicken Fat

There are dozens of well-known dog food brands that use chicken fat because it is one of the most popular animal-based ingredients in dog food.

These brands range from high-end gourmet fare for canines to more budget-friendly options.

Chicken Fat is used in many popular dog food brands, including Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, Diamond, Wellness, American Journey, Iams, Rachael Ray Nutrish, Nutro, and Victor.

Here, Chicken Fat appears as an ingredient in Taste of the Wild’s Ancient Prairie dry dog food recipe as an example of its use in dog food.

Taste of the Wild Chicken Fat Use Example

As you can see, Chicken Fat plays a significant role in this recipe, as the sixth most abundant ingredient and a key contributor to the minimum 18% crude fat level required by the recipe.

As was mentioned earlier in the article, some brands use Chicken Fat as a cheap way to increase the amount of animal fat, while other brands claim to do so in order to increase the level of Omega Fatty Acids.

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