One thing that I enjoy doing is finding ways and means to improve or supplement my dog’s diet.
This helps to keep his doggie palate intrigued with all the different tastes and textures. One item that I have recently been using is chicken gizzards.
Chicken gizzards aren’t as popular as other organ meats but it is starting to gain in popularity with pet owners.
But are chicken gizzards actually good for dogs?
Chicken gizzards are generally safe for most dogs when given in moderation. Gizzards are high in protein, vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dog. However, you will need to properly clean the gizzards before feeding them to your dog.
In this article, we will explore in greater detail what chicken gizzards are and the must-know before feeding gizzards to your dog.
What Are Chicken Gizzards?
I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that if someone asked me this question years ago, I would have thought it was the ‘comb-like’ thing on a rooster’s head.
We live and learn.
Gizzards are what some would call a second stomach. Similar to a smaller dessert stomach that many of us have even after a full dinner.
The gizzard helps to mechanically grind the food that the animal has eaten.
Here’s a fun fact.
Gizzards aren’t just limited to chicken or birds.
It is said that even crocodiles, earthworms and even some species of marine life have gizzards.
Some birds will eat stuff like dirt, small pebbles and shells that will remain in the gizzard to help crush the food.
Sort of like a mortar and pestle.
Nutritional Content Of Chicken Gizzards
Here’s the nutritional breakdown of 100g of chicken gizzards:
Calories: 94 cals
Chicken gizzards are also high in vitamin b12, iron, zinc and phosphorous.
Are Chicken Gizzards Good For Dogs?
Chicken gizzards are good for dogs and humans too. They are considered a delicacy in certain cuisines and taste great stir-fried or in a stew.
Here are some reasons why I feed them to my dog.
High In Protein
The biggest draw for me when it comes to feeding my dog chicken gizzard is the high protein content.
The protein content is on par with actual chicken meat but I wouldn’t go as far as replacing actual meat with chicken gizzards.
I’ll get to this point in a second.
And when it comes to our dogs, they do need a lot of protein. Dogs are carnivores which means that they do require a large amount of protein from animal meat.
Yeah sure, it is fone to find your dog some rich or greens every now and then but that stuff isn’t part of its natural diet.
Your dog is first and foremost a meat eater.
Rich In Vitamins And Minerals
Other benefits of feeding your dog chicken gizzards are vitamin b12 and mineral contents.
Vitamin b12 is important for your dog for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, your don’t isn’t able to naturally produce vitamin b12 thus it has to come from your dog’s diet.
Secondly, b12 or folate acid helps to keep your dog’s nervous system, red blood cells and brain functions healthy.
The mineral contents such as iron and zinc help with many other bodily processes in your dog.
Low In Fat
Do you know that more than 50% of domesticated dogs in America are overweight?
This issue is largely due to pet owners feeding overfeeding their dogs are feeding them food that is too high in fat.
Dogs that are overweight can suffer from:
- Joint issues
- Heart disease
The good news is that chicken gizzards are low in fat as compared to other types of meat like beef or pork.
Might Help With Dental Health
If you have eaten or handled raw chicken gizzards before, they are very chewy and hard in texture.
You can break down the muscle fibers if you cook them long enough but most people like the ‘crunchy’ texture.
The reason why I added ‘might’ is because I can’t say that I’m totally sold on the idea of chicken gizzards being dentally beneficial for dogs.
I guess it also depends on the size of your dog.
My dog is medium size and can gobble down an entire piece of gizzard in a flash. But if you have a smaller dog, the chewy texture can give its teeth and gums a good workout.
Can A Dog Eat Raw Chicken Gizzards?
Dogs can most certainly eat raw chicken gizzards and it is how I feed my dog by adding a few pieces to his homemade dog food.
I know that many dog owners are reluctant to feed their dogs raw meat due to potential health issues. But your dog is more than biologically equipped to handle raw meat and organ meat.
In fact, I would be more wary about letting my dog eat dry food or kibbles instead of raw meat.
How Do I Prepare Chicken Gizzard For My Dog?
When preparing chicken gizzards for your dog, you can’t just clean the outside and feed it to your dog.
There’s quite a bit of debris and crap inside the gizzard that you need to clean out properly.
Here’s a video that does a good job showing how it is done.
Since my dog is on a raw diet, he gets raw chicken gizzards straight up and he loves it. But if your pooch isn’t too keen on ‘sashimi grade’ meat, you can either boil or steam the gizzards.
Cooked chicken gizzards didn’t have to be super soft for your dog. Just 30 seconds to a minute in boiling water is sufficient.
Your dog has a strong enough jaw to comfortably eat it without a problem.
How Often Can I Give My Dog Chicken Gizzards?
Even though chicken gizzards are high in protein, you can’t give them out to your dog like candy. A gizzard is still considered to be organ meat just like chicken liver or kidney.
That means it is high in cholesterol.
If we were to compare the cholesterol levels of gizzards vs chicken breast, chicken gizzards have 3x the amount of cholesterol in them for the same serving size.
That isn’t very healthy for your dog and can lead to health problems like diabetes and pancreatitis.
Limit chicken gizzards or organ meats in general to just 10% of your dog’s total calorie intake.
Are There Any Potential Risks And Concerns?
Chicken gizzards are safe for the majority of healthy dogs. But if your dog has cholesterol issues then you need to dial back on such items.
There are some concerns that you need to be aware of.
Gizzards can be rather hard and chewy for both raw and cooked. If you have a medium-sized dog, it can easily swallow the gizzard with no issues.
But for puppies or smaller dogs like a Maltese, it would be better to cut up the gizzard into smaller pieces before feeding the dog.
This will prevent the dog from choking on a large piece of gizzard.
Food allergies can be very common in dogs especially when it comes to feeding your dog something that it has never eaten before.
It can be difficult to tell how the body will react.
Many dogs are allergic to peanuts so don’t let your dog drink cashew milk if it has such an allergy.
If your dog is showing signs of a reaction such as:
- Red and inflamed skin
- Excessive scratching
Chances are it might be allergic to chicken gizzards and should no longer be fed this food item.
Can My Dog Eat Raw Chicken Hearts?
Another muscle or organ meat that is beneficial for your dog is chicken heart.
Chicken heart is high in protein, vitamin b12 and zinc which are used to support many important body processes.
But as with chicken gizzards, you need to moderate the amount of chicken heart that you feed your dog.
Nora is a passionate writer with a love for books, animals, and gardening.
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