Can dogs eat Rotisserie chicken?

Have you just been to your local grocery store and been tempted by the cabinets full of rotisserie chickens.

Have you just done a double take on the price?

After all, they are cheap and who doesn’t like chicken?

What dog wouldn’t like chicken?!

After all I pay a fortune for his food at the moment and surely eating fresh chicken would be better for him, wouldn’t it?

Let’s find out shall we?

And we will start with some basics. 

What is rotisserie chicken?

A rotisserie chicken is a whole chicken that has been cooked on a spit or skewer. 

The chicken is placed close to a heat source (such as gas or electric) which cooks the chicken as it spins around on the skewer.

Why are rotisserie chickens so popular?

Rotisserie chickens are very popular because people love to eat chicken, particularly in the US and rotisserie chickens are generally very cheap- often cheaper than raw whole chickens. 

In 2010, six hundred million rotisserie chickens were sold in the US but by 2018 it had risen to nine hundred million. 

Costco, an American chain of supermarkets, sold 87 million rotisserie chickens in 2017 alone. 

Two Potential dangers of rotisserie chicken

The only difference between these two types of chicken is that a shop bought rotisserie chicken will probably have been injected with brine before it has been roasted.

The chickens are injected with brine in order to keep the meat nice and moist as it cooks.

But most brines contain lots of salt which isn’t an ingredient that your dog needs more of in his diet.

Most chickens roasted at home will not have been injected by brine but then again they probably would have been rubbed with oil or butter prior to roasting.

But I will talk more about this later.

The second danger relating to rotisserie chicken is that shop bought rotisserie chickens are often the chickens which are close to their “sell by” dates.

Which is fine as long as these chickens are eaten within a day or so of being bought.

Contrary to popular opinion, dogs cannot eat rotten meat.

And rotten chicken might contain lots of nasty bacteria that could harm your dog. 

Next up, I want to provide a quick comparison.

How do different cooking methods change the nutritional values of the chicken that our dog might eat?

Rotisserie chicken vs roast chicken vs boiled chicken

In the table below is some simple nutrition data showing the differences between rotisserie roast and boiled chicken.

100 g servingRotisserie Roast Boiled
Calories164165165
Protein27 g25 g26g
Fat6.4 g6.5 g 3 g
Sodium345 mg161 mg64 mg

Now some of this surprises me.

That the main nutrition within these different types of chicken is so similar.

If your main concern is calories, they are all almost identical. 

The biggest difference is with the fat content and the sodium content. 

Rotisserie chicken has double the amount of sodium than roasted chicken, which is probably due to the salt that is used in the brine that we discussed earlier.

In turn, roasted chicken has well over two times the amount of sodium than boiled chicken. 

Rotisserie and roast chicken have the same level of fat but boiled chicken has about half the fat content. 

Having looked at the overall nutrition of different types of cooked chicken, it is now time to turn our focus to different parts of rotisserie chicken.

Can dogs eat rotisserie chicken skin?

The trouble with chicken skin is that it has a very high fat content.

In fact it is 40% fat and a 100 g serving contains 450 calories and 20 g of protein.  

A food with such a high fat content and little else nutrition wise isn’t good for your dog. 

Another drawback of the skin on rotisserie chicken is that it might be burnt.

Although there was a scare a few years ago about humans eating burnt foods- it is thought that there was a link to cancer.

This has now been ruled out

But burnt food is harder to digest and combined with the high fat content of rotisserie chicken skin, I would take it off before feeding it to your dog. 

Phew! Having dealt with the skin, let’s move on to the bones. 

Can dogs eat rotisserie chicken bones?

Were you hoping to just throw a whole rotisserie chicken to your dog, skin, bones and all and let them eat the whole lot?

I’m sorry to shatter your illusions- first about the skin and now about the bones.

The whole issue of whether or not dogs should eat animal bones is very contentious.

But I think that something that is fairly certain is that cooked animal bones are more dangerous to dogs than raw bones.

In roasting a chicken, the bones become harder and more brittle.

When a dog bites into a cooked chicken bone, the bone is far more likely to break into a piece with very sharp ends, which makes it harder and more dangerous to swallow.

Coupled with the fact that some of the bones within a chicken are small enough to become choking hazards in their own right because a dog might just swallow them whole. 

And so my advice is that, just as you need to take the skin off a rotisserie chicken before feeding it to your dog, you should also strip the flesh away from the bones. 

How much rotisserie chicken should I feed my dog?

This is a very interesting question because it depends how much chicken you want to be in your dog’s diet.

Here’s the thing.

Some of you will be looking to use rotisserie chickens as a big part of a homemade diet for your dog.

Homemade dog food diets is a topic that is beyond the scope of this article.

Dogs need lots of nutrients, which can only be provided by giving them a range of real foods.

Although chicken can form part of that diet, it cannot provide everything that a dog needs.

And to try and do this yourself is complicated because I have tried this.

If you are looking to add a little rotisserie chicken to your dog’s diet then this is a better approach.

Say, for instance, that your dog is on a complete diet of dry or canned food and you want to use rotisserie chicken as a topping or garnish?

This seems like a good idea. 

If you want a rough guide to how much to add, don’t exceed more than 10% of the their total diet.

So if your dog is eating 400 g of kibble a day, add up to 40 g of chicken.

Just remember to feed them 10% less kibble as well!

Can dogs eat rotisserie chicken everyday?

No matter what additional food you are looking to add to your dog’s diet.

Be it vegetable or meat, I would say don’t feed it to them everyday.

Vary it a bit.

Don’t feed them rotisserie chicken everyday if you can help it.

Find another source of cheap but good quality meat and sometimes add to their diet.

The same goes for any vegetable that you might be looking to add.

Don’t just focus on how great the nutrition of vegetable X or vegetable Y is.

Over time add lots of different vegetables into your dog’s diet.

Could rotisserie chicken cause dog diarrhea?

Most of this article has been quite positive about how good rotisserie chicken can be for your dog but it does have its dark side.

And for some people the downside is dog diarrhea. 

And in my experience this can happen for two reasons.

Firstly it is because the chicken was slightly rotten when you fed it to your dog.

Although some dogs can eat slightly rotten meat other dogs struggle to digest it properly.

The second reason that your dog had a touch of diarrhea after eating rotisserie chicken could be that they ate too much of it or that it is a new food for them and their stomach struggled to deal with it.

Which, when you think about it, is the same thing!

Can dogs eat rotisserie chicken?

To finish, let me answer the main question whizzing through your mind.

Can dogs eat rotisserie chicken?

Yes, of course they can.

It is a great source of protein for your dog. 

But you do need to think carefully about what part it will play in their overall food plan.

Don’t use it as a main part of their diet unless you have taken lots of advice from homemade dog diet experts.

If you are going to feed it to your dog as an occasional extra then remember to remove the skin and the bones first because they will not do your dog any favours at all.

And just think about how much salt shop bought rotisserie chickens seems to have in them…