Chicken is such a great, lean protein for dogs. But what about the skin? Should I feed it to my dog, or not?

baked chicken

Who doesn’t love that “oh so delicious” roasted chicken skin? Heck… that’s the first part I eat when it comes to roasted or fried chicken. YUM! But the question here isn’t whether or not chicken skin is tasty. It’s whether or not we should be feeding it to our dogs. And if our sneaky pup snags a piece, is chicken skin going to be poisonous to them?

Is chicken skin poisonous?

If your dog did happen to eat a little piece of chicken skin that fell on the floor… you can take a deep breath and relax. Chicken skin is not poisonous to dogs. Especially if they just got a little piece that fell on the floor.

But remember… just because something isn’t technically poisonous for your dog, doesn’t mean it isn’t bad for them. Chicken skin is really fatty and unhealthy for dogs. Plus, if it’s chicken that you’re cooking for yourself, you’ve probably added some delicious seasonings to the chicken skin. And a lot of those seasonings—like onion and garlic—are poisonous to dogs. So let’s not share any pieces of our dinner with our dogs.

And believe it or not, some dogs are actually allergic to chicken itself. Just like any allergy… this will only affect some dogs. But even something as lean and healthy as chicken is actually one of the top 10 allergens for dogs.

Is chicken skin digestible?

Not really. Again, if your dog just ate a small piece that hit the floor, they should be totally fine. But you can always call your veterinarian as a precaution—just to make sure your pup really is ok. tells us that “parts of the chicken can be a hazard to your dog’s health. Chicken skin is very high in fat. When ingested in large amounts, chicken skin may trigger pancreatitis.” Although plain, skinless, boneless cooked chicken is very healthy for dogs. The fatty skin is not easily digestible, and can also lead to gastrointestinal upset.

And I know we’re just talking about the chicken skin here. But please know that “the bones, when chewed, can have pointed ends which may cause obstruction or perforation along the intestinal tract.” So let’s be sure to avoid letting our dogs get any of the chicken bones too.

raw chicken with skin

Can dogs eat chicken skin raw?

I know you might be thinking… “Why shouldn’t dogs eat raw chicken? They would normally eat raw meat in the wild, right?” But here’s the thing—your pup isn’t in the wild anymore. Their stomach isn’t used to digesting and processing raw meats anymore. And they really don’t need to.

Plus, there’s a reason why we don’t eat raw chicken either… There’s such a high risk of salmonella and bacterial infections. Now don’t get me wrong, there are dog food companies who actually do raw meats only. And if that’s your thing, that’s totally fine! But keep in mind that “chicken prepared by raw food companies will have gone through special steps to prevent disease and infection.” It’s not the same as giving your dog raw chicken from the grocery store.

Plus, the question here was still about the chicken skin, which shouldn’t be given to your dog anyway. Whether cooked or raw.

chicken tenders

Can dogs eat fried chicken?

Now that you know chicken skin is unhealthy for your dog, I’m sure you can assume that fried chicken skin is even worse! Anything with added fats, oils, and butters are very unhealthy for your dog’s digestion, pancreas, heart, and weight.

How do I cook chicken skins for dogs?

As long as your dog isn’t allergic to chicken, it’s actually a great source of protein for them. Whether you’re choosing a dog food with chicken in it, or you want to add a little freshly cooked chicken to your pup’s dog bowl, it’s a lean, healthy protein choice for your canine companion.

grilled chicken

Tips to help you safely feed chicken to your dog

• Remove the skin, or use skinless chicken

By now, you’ve realized that the skin of the chicken is not a great snack choice for your pup. Instead, just feed them plain, skinless chicken.

• Remove the bones, or use boneless chicken

As mentioned above, the bones can splinter and be very hazardous for your dog. So make sure their chicken pieces don’t have any bones in them.

• Cook the chicken

Remember, cooked chicken only. You can grill it or boil it. Heck, you can even put it in your air fryer—just don’t use any oils.

• Don’t add oils, butters, or seasonings

Speaking of oils… oils, fats, and butters are very unhealthy for your dog to eat. And seasonings like garlic and onion are actually toxic to them. Let’s just feed our pups completely plain chicken.

• Cut chicken into small, edible pieces

We’ve already avoided choking hazards from the skin and bones. But remember to cut the chicken into very small, edible pieces, so that these don’t cause a choking hazard either.

• Only in small portions

And of course, everything in moderation. Treats of any kind should only make up 10% of your dog’s diet. The other 90% should come from their nutritionally-balanced dog food diet. If you’re not sure how much that would be for your dog in particular, you can always ask your veterinarian.

For more helpful articles about pet-parenting tips, check out the Off Leash blog at

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