If you asked me years ago if I would eat a chicken heart, you would get a look of disgust in return. These days, grilled or bbq chicken hearts are one of my favorite snacks all thanks to my dog and cat.
Both my dog and cat are on a raw meat diet and chicken hearts are part of their regular diet.
Should you be feeding chicken hearts to your dog even if it’s not eating raw food?
All dogs can benefit from having some chicken heart in their daily dog food. The chicken heart is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12 and zinc. However, too many chicken hearts for your dog can lead to some stomach problems.
In this article, we will be taking a closer look at what a chicken heart consists of and how to go about feeding it to your dog.
Is Chicken Heart Good For My Dog?
We all know how important the heart is to every living thing. It helps to pump blood to all parts of the body.
Here’s a little pop quiz.
Is the heart a muscle or an organ?
If your answer is a muscle, you are not wrong. If your answer is an organ, you are also not wrong.
The heart is actually both or what scientists would call a muscular organ.
You can give chicken heart as part of your dog’s raw food diet or as an occasional snack.
Chicken hearts are actually pretty good for your dog. They are full of lean protein, vitamin B12, zinc and fatty acids.
Your dog can’t synthesize vitamin B12 and needs to get it from its good. B12 helps with your dog’s central nervous system, the formation of red blood cells and a healthy brain.
Zinc is an essential element that is required for many functions in a dog’s body. It helps to support a healthy immune system and metabolic processes1.
Here’s the nutritional breakdown of 100g of chicken heart:
The chicken heart is also rich in taurine which helps support many important functions in your dog’s body.
The good thing is that your dog doesn’t need to get taurine from chicken hearts as it is able to manufacture taurine on its own from other meat sources.
Taurine is more vital for cats as it is an essential amino acid which means that cats aren’t able to produce it naturally.
How Do I Prepare Chicken Heart For My Dog?
I wouldn’t recommend that you get freeze-dried chicken hearts for your dog. If possible, I prefer to get all my meat and organs fresh.
And the good thing is that raw chicken hearts are widely available in most supermarkets for cheap.
You can even buy it in bulk at an Asian grocery store near you.
What I would normally do after buying the chicken hearts is to clean them out thoroughly.
If you were to slice open a chicken heart with a knife, you will notice that there’s quite a bit of dried blood inside.
I will remove them away and trim away the fat that’s stuck to the top portion of the chicken heart.
When I go shopping for organ meat, I will buy other stuff such as liver and chicken gizzard which my dog loves as well.
I will pack some of each organ meat in separate containers and store them in the freezer.
Should I Cook The Chicken Heart?
One question that I frequently get from my readers is if they should cook the raw chicken hearts before feeding their dogs.
My answer is always if your dog can handle raw meat, then I rather you feed the chicken heart raw.
This ensures that your dog gets the maximum amount of goodness from the chicken hearts.
If your dog is unable to eat raw, then you can blanch the chicken heart in hot water before feeding it to your dog.
Don’t cook it for too long or you will destroy the vitamins and minerals.
How Often Should I Feed My Dog Chicken Heart?
Here’s the thing, even though chicken hearts are categorized as muscle meat, you shouldn’t be feeding your dog chicken hearts like it’s going out of style.
When my dad was diagnosed with high blood pressure, the doctor’s orders were to exercise more and cut down on food such as organ meat.
There’s a good reason for that.
Organ and muscle meat are high in sodium and cholesterol which you can see from the above nutritional values.
If your dog is in good health, 1-2 chicken hearts a day is more than enough.
Do not let your dog eat chicken hearts as a substitute for proper animal protein.
Your dog should only be eating meat as its main source of calories.
Organ meat is very rich and can upset your dog’s digestive system which causes diarrhea.
High cholesterol levels can also lead to pancreatitis and diabetes.
If you are feeding other organ meats such as liver or chicken gizzard, the total calorie intake should not be more than 10%-15% of your dog’s daily food intake.
When feeding your dog raw chicken liver, be careful to not overfeed.
Many dogs love raw liver due to how fatty is it but too much liver in your dog’s diet can lead to vitamin A toxicity.
1. Zinc in Dog Nutrition, Health and Disease: A Review (Pereira AM, Maia MRG, Fonseca AJM, Cabrita ARJ)