Can Dogs Eat Chicken Skin?

Chicken skin for dogs? ¹

Have you just started prepping a bunch of chicken thighs and you have a pile of spare skin?

Or are you just cleaning up after a wonderful roast chicken dinner and you have a few pieces of skin left over?

Well, if you are like my wife you will be a bit reluctant to place it in the trash because it will just make it smell awful!

And if you are anything like me, you will be reluctant to chuck it out because you can’t stand waste!

But is it something that we should be feeding to our dogs?

You will find a quick answer below but keep reading if you want more detail

Can dogs eat chicken skin? There is nothing toxic or poisonous about chicken skin for dogs.They can eat small amounts every now and then. The main concern about chicken skin is that it is very high in fat and people are worried about giving their dogs fatty food. But if you keep it as a rare treat to feed your dog then that will be fine. 

What are the benefits of chicken skin?

[1] Fat content

Chicken skin is full of fat and calories- it is 40% fat

You might be asking how fat can possibly be considered to be beneficial?

Well, in small amounts, the fat in chicken skin provides lots of energy. 

Also fat helps your dog to stay healthy by helping things like their nerves and muscles to function better. 

Dogs find it very easy to digest fats. 

[2] Protein

Also chicken skin is 20% protein- which is another great nutrient for dogs.

From repairing muscles to helping to grow new hair, dogs need protein.

[3] Essential vitamins and nutrients

Last, but by no means least, we come to the tasty vitamins and nutrients that chicken skin contains. 

It is very high in vitamin B3 (Niacin) which can help with digestion and metabolism.

Having looked at the positives of a dog eating chicken skin, it is now time to shine a light on any drawbacks. 

What are the hazards?

As far as I can tell, there are three dangers to dogs eating chicken skin.

Two of these are very mild but one could be more serious. 

[1] Eating too much

When a food is 40% fat, it can be easy to eat too much of it.

The biggest immediate danger for a dog that eats too much fatty food such as chicken skin, is diarrhoea.

Their digestive systems just get overloaded and the fatty food won’t have been digested properly. 

You might have read that a dog can get pancreatitis from having too much fat in their diet but pancreatitis is a disease that develops over time, it can’t be triggered by a dog eating a boat load of chicken skins on one or two occasions!

[2] The skin is heavily seasoned or burnt

The other potential difficulty that your dog can get into by eating chicken skin is that the skin itself has been heavily seasoned or roasted (burnt.)

The greatest danger here once again is diarrhoea. 

Salt, pepper or herbs will probably only irritate your dog’s stomach which won’t be pleasant for either you or your dog but the worst that will happen will be an upset stomach. 

[3] The skin is mixed in with onion and garlic

The third danger is the most serious but also the most unlikely. 

It is that your dog eats leftover chicken skin with lots of gravy.

And the gravy contains lots of onions and garlic- both of which in the wrong quantities are poisonous for your dog. 

Having looked in some detail at the pros and cons of feeding chicken skins to your dog, it is now time for a comparison. 

Raw vs cooked chicken skin

There are many ways to prepare and feed chicken skin to your dog but which one is best?

[1] Raw

Feeding your dog raw chicken skin is the simplest because all you need to do is take it from the cutting board to the food bowl. 


But isn’t raw chicken dangerous?

Any part of a raw chicken can contain dangerous bacteria such as campylobacter or salmonella. 

And these bacteria can harm dogs but they are much more likely to harm humans than they are dogs.

But just how likely is it for raw chicken to be contaminated? 

A study in the U.S. in 2018 found that 4% of chicken from grocery stores was infected with salmonella, whereas a report in 2018 in Europe found that 33% of chicken was infected with campylobacter and 19% with salmonella. 

The biggest danger for dogs when it comes to eating raw chicken skin is that in handling it incorrectly, their owner increases their risk of getting poisoned.

[2] Cooked chicken skin

The only way to kill any bacteria within chicken is to cook the meat until the temperature inside the piece of meat is at least 165 degrees.

Chicken skin can be boiled, baked or fried. 

The easiest way to cook it (and the least messy) is to boil it. 

Boil an inch of water in a pan and then place the chicken skin in it for about 30 seconds.

Take it out and place it on some kitchen paper to cool and dry. 

Chicken skin can also be baked. 

Put it on a baking tray and place a couple of baking sheets over it to press them down.

Although if you were baking these skins to eat yourself you might be tempted to season them, don’t put any seasoning on them for your dog. 

Bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Finally, chicken skin can be fried.

Normally this is done by placing the skins in very hot oil for a few minutes.

The trouble with this method is that you are adding oil to a food which is full of fat!

My dog ate chicken skin, what should I do?

If your dog has eaten some chicken skin, there is no need to worry.

In all probability your dog will be fine.

A bit of diarrhea will probably be the worst thing that can happen.

However, after eating chicken skin, your dog experiences several bouts of diarrhea or sever vomiting then you need to call your vet as your dog might have eaten a piece of chicken skin infected with bacteria.

How much chicken skin should I feed to my dog?

However you prepare chicken skin for your dog, eating it should be a rare treat for them.

A couple of small strips of skin a week will be plenty. 

Can dogs eat dehydrated chicken skin?

Dehydrate them in the oven

Photo credits

¹ Photo by Kent Wang

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!