Can Dogs Eat Duck Feet?

Photo by jimbomack66 on Flickr

Your dog loves to chew, and you want to give them something to chew on.

However, you want neither antlers nor rawhide because they’re too hard and might pose a choking hazard.

Duck feet seem like a good alternative, and you’re considering going with that, but are they truly okay, can dogs eat duck feet?

Well, here’s what you should know, duck feet are actually excellent chew treats for dogs.

They are healthy and all-natural treats with an abundance of nutrients.

Many dogs can’t get enough of those crunchy little treats.

But before you give them to your pet, there’s more you should know, like; are they safe? What nutrients do they contain?

How much should you give? Keep scrolling to find out all you need to know about duck feet for dogs.

What nutrition do duck’s feet contain?

Duck feet are great for your dogs, they are rich in proteins and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are great for overall dog health. The amino acids and proteins in duck feet are especially great for growing dogs. 

Besides being an excellent source of proteins, duck feet contain high amounts of minerals like calcium, iron, phosphate, potassium, zinc, copper, magnesium, niacin, selenium, vitamins A & C. 

These vitamins and minerals help to build strong bones, fight free radicals, improve mobility, aid in hormone transmission. Zinc and selenium, in particular, help to boost the immune system and maintain normal thyroid function. 

Duck feet also contain natural sources of glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen, which are great for healthy joints and bones. Finally, duck feet contain trace amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and these help your dog maintain healthy skin and shiny coat.  

How should I prepare duck feet for my dog?

If you prefer to give your dog homemade meals, you can follow a simple recipe, with just a single ingredient, to prepare healthy duck feet for your dog. Duck feet can be fed to dogs either as raw meat or in the dehydrated form as dry chewy sticks. 

To prepare homemade dehydrated dog feet for your dog, you will need raw duck feet (from a trustworthy source) and a dehydrator. 

Here are the steps to follow;

  • Thoroughly wash the feet, you can choose to clip the nails or leave them on (every part of duck feet is digestible, including the nails). However, if you choose to clip them, scissors or dog nail clip will efficiently do the job.
  • Place the duck feet on the dehydrator, making sure that they do not overlap. Set the dehydrator to the highest heat. 
  • The dehydration should take about 24 to 72 hours, depending on the quantity of feet you are drying. You can tell if the feet are ready by checking for flexibility. When properly dehydrated, the duck feet should be very stiff and unable to bend. 
  • Store your dehydrated duck feet in Ziploc bags and refrigerate.  

Raw or dehydrated duck feet are good for dogs. Never give your dog cooked, boiled, or fried duck feet. Because when dogs chew cooked bones, they break into sharp splinters that can cause a major health crisis for your dog. 

What forms do duck’s feet come in? 

Duck feet are a very healthy treat for dogs, and they can be given to your dog in different forms; either are dehydrated duck feet, freeze-dried duck feet or in the raw natural form. 

Dehydrated duck feet: these are duck feet that have been completely dehydrated to increase their shelf life. They are crunchy and excellent chew treats for dogs, and easily digestible. One minor drawback of dehydrated dog feet is that some of the essential vitamins and minerals they contain may be lost during the dehydrating process because heat destroys certain nutrients. You can get these from pet shops, and Amazon from as little as $5 for a pack of 6 duck feet, or $60 for a pack of 100 duck feet.  

Freeze-dried duck feet: an excellent alternative to dehydrated duck feet is freeze-dried duck feet. These are great because unlike dehydrated duck feet, they were processed with freezing temperatures and not heat, therefore they still retain all the essential nutrients. Freeze-dried duck feet can also be rehydrated by soaking them in water for some hours. Rehydrating freeze-dried feet converts them to raw duck feet. You can get a pack of freeze-dried duck feet for about $10 to $15.

Raw duck feet: duck feet can be given to dogs in their raw, unprocessed form. This is a good addition to your dogs’ food, if you’re feeding them a raw diet. Raw duck feet can be frozen or fresh, and they have all the important nutrients intact. If you are concerned about the presence of harmful microorganisms in raw duck feet, only buy from reliable butchers or go with the other duck feet varieties.

Duck feet vs chicken feet

Duck feet or chicken feet, if you’re wondering which is healthier and better for your dogs, here’s how they compare in terms of nutrition availability and cost.

Nutrition: in this regard, duck feet and chicken feet are almost on par. Duck feet and chicken feet are both very rich in protein and essential nutrients, however chicken feet contain slightly more proteins and less fat than duck feet. Duck feet are bonier and contain more cartilage and iron than chicken feet, they are also more flavorful with a higher amount of healthy unsaturated fats. 

Availability and cost: chicken feet are more available and cost less. Duck feet are usually harder to find and the different forms of duck feet cost more than their chicken feet counterparts. 

Benefits of ducks feet for dogs

Besides the obvious nutritional benefits of duck feet, there are other good reasons why you should give your dogs some duck feet chews. And here are a few;

Very digestible: duck feet do not undergo heavy processing with chemicals, they are mostly natural and very easy for dogs to digest. Both picky eaters or dogs with sensitive stomachs can enjoy dog feet chews, and it’s great for recreational chewing.

Helps with teeth cleaning: duck feet are bony and encourage dogs to chew, which helps to clean off plaque from their teeth and improve dental health. Chewing duck feet also helps dogs to maintain healthy gums and clean teeth, especially for smaller dog breeds. 

Relatively affordable: they are also inexpensive, and you can get a box of 12 duck feet for $5 or less. You can get it even cheaper when you buy it in bulk. 

Do duck’s feet have bones?

While duck feet are great for dogs, you should be aware that they have bones which can be broken and pose threats of choking hazard. When dogs chew duck feet, especially dehydrated duck feet, the bones can break. And if your dog tries to swallow a piece that’s too big for them, it can get stuck in their throat and cause them to choke. With this in mind, make sure to supervise your dog whenever you give them duck feet or any bone at all.

Where can I buy duck’s feet from?

Frozen, freeze-dried, and dehydrated duck feet can be purchased from most pet shops, butchers shops, meat section of grocery stores and online marketplaces such as Amazon. You can source raw duck feet (fresh or frozen) from a local farmer’s market or butcher. 

How many duck’s feet should I give a dog?

When giving your dog treats, remember that they should only make up 10% of their daily calorie intake. This rule also applies to duck feet. A duck foot contains about 50 calories, but this isn’t exact, as it varies depending on the size and amount of meat on the foot. 

Duck feet shouldn’t be given all the time, and they certainly shouldn’t replace your dog’s normal food. They are treats and should be given moderately, you can add them to your dog’s normal meal or give them for recreational chewing. Also, if you’re using store-bought duck feet, refer to the pack for important information like calorie content per chew. 

Should puppies be fed duck’s feet?

Duck feet are healthy and easily digestible. They are crunchy and safe for most dogs to eat. However, they shouldn’t be fed to puppies because of the possibility of accidentally breaking their teeth. 

Puppy teeth are still developing and not as strong as adult dog teeth, so they are more susceptible to damage. This also removes the risk of swallowing unchewed bone. You can give your puppy duck feet only after they lose their baby teeth and have grown adult teeth. This is for the safety of your pup.

Closing Thoughts

Most dogs will chew when they are happy, bored, frustrated, etc. It’s part of their natural instinct to always chew on something, and duck feet are excellent chew treats for them. Duck feet are natural, flavourful, and highly nutritious chew treats for dogs. 

They are a good source of proteins and contain essential vitamins and minerals. These chew toys are also great for scraping off tartar and plaque from dog’s teeth. Duck feet are safe for dogs, but should only be given under supervision.