Irritating as it is, many dogs will beg for scraps. They sit there waiting for you to toss them a piece of meat from the dinner table.
But how healthy or safe is it to indulge your dog’s desire for chicken innards?
It may seem like something out of a nature documentary, but dogs are hunters who have never lost their taste for raw meat.
Chicken Hearts are Good for Your Pup
As much as you may be put off by the prospect, chicken hearts are an excellent source of nutrition for your pup.
Think about it. Dogs are essentially domesticated wolves, hundreds of generations removed. And what wolf would you expect to merely chew on the outside of a carcass while leaving all the juicy insides? It may not be to your taste, but it certainly is to your dog’s.
Chicken hearts are rich in vitamin A, iron, and assorted B vitamins. But that’s not all. They are an excellent source of Taurine, an amino sulfonic acid, which is an important building block of protein.
Animal hearts, especially those of chicken and turkey, are lean protein, they contain essential fatty acids, and can be served to your canine companion either cooked or raw. Most vets agree that raw is better, more natural.
Any heat applied to the raw hearts, whether on your own stove, or in the canning process at a dog food processing plant, will decrease the levels of nutrients found in the raw product. There can also be a problem with processed food in that the process itself can affect the Taurine, making it difficult for your pet’s metabolism to process. But if you’re really not up to watching your beloved pet literally wolf down raw body parts, or your canine companion does not readily take to a raw diet, you can buy and prepare them yourself.
Chicken is a relatively economical white meat, which makes it a good choice for your pet, and yourself, of course. And you may in fact, prefer not to eat all those things found in the mysterious little packages so conveniently packed inside each bird. You can, in addition, buy chicken hearts separately at an even cheaper price. And cooking them yourself will alleviate some of those concerns about canned processed food.
How To Serve Chicken Hearts For Dogs
Chicken hearts can be prepared in several ways. You can fry them in a small amount of oil until a light golden brown, or simply boil them. You can even dry them out in a food dehydrator. Any way you prepare them, your pup will love them. It’s up to you to decide whether to incorporate these hearts into your pet’s regular diet, or to use them as well-deserved snacks.
Please be aware that vets say if chicken hearts comprise more than five percent of the diet, you may have to deal with the consequences of an overdose of vitamin A. These consequences include a loose, runny stool, which can be a major inconvenience to you as well as your pet. They also warn that your dog’s nutritional needs may vary according to their age, breed, and general health, so before making any major changes to their diet, consult your vet.
What About Chicken Gizzards?
How many of us are even aware of what a gizzard is? Well, you may have noticed that chickens don’t have teeth!
When a chicken pecks at food on the ground, it inevitably picks up small bits of rocks and stones along with the target. These bits become lodged in its gizzard, a muscular structure in the digestive system, where they help grind the food into easily digestible bits. So, a gizzard, in effect, acts as the chicken’s teeth.
Gizzards are high in protein, minerals such as iron and zinc, and vitamin B12. They are also high in Glucosamine, which is beneficial to your pet’s cartilage and joints. This substance is often used as a treatment for arthritis.
Unfortunately, despite all the good things, gizzards also contain a high amount of cholesterol, which is not a good thing. Due to this, vets recommend that chicken gizzards make up no more than twenty percent of a dog’s diet.
How Often Should I Feed My Dog Chicken Hearts and Gizzards?
Hearts and gizzards are organ meats, and along with other organ meats such as livers and kidneys, should be served to your dog in moderation. If your dog is regularly active, a diet consisting of ten percent organ meats is fine. If your pet is extremely active, he can tolerate a higher amount of around fifteen percent. You should limit the intake to under ten percent is your pet is extremely overweight.
You can easily make your dog’s food at home rather than relying on a canned or bagged variety. This allows you to feel secure in the fact that all the ingredients are healthy and well prepared. You can even make up a batch in your crock pot!
Add one pound of raw, chopped gizzards, one pound of raw chopped deboned chicken, three large carrots, four hard boiled eggs (crushed with their shell on), and one cup of water to the pot. Cook on low for two to three hours. It’s done when everything falls apart easily.
Now add two cups of cooked white rice and another cup of water and continue to cook on low for another thirty minutes. Voila! A veritable gourmet feast, and easily done.
There are a lot more recipes out there on the internet. Look around and decide what your dog would like.
You can incorporate hearts, gizzards, and various other proteins, along with a variety of unexpected ingredients like spinach or strawberries to give your canine companion a gourmet experience at every meal. Your pet is a member of your family, so why not treat him as one.
So, the next time you reach into a whole chicken, think twice before discarding that little surprise package you’ve found. You may not relish the taste of a raw heart or a muscular gizzard, but your canine companion certainly will.