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Mar 9, 2011 01:00 PM

Dogs and Chicken [split from Cookware]

(This post was split from Cookware at: -- The Chowhound Team)

Cleavers are called meat cleavers because that is what they are designed for, they are not meant for chopping through bones. Instead of wrecking some knives ask the butcher to cut up the chickens for you. Are you sure you want to be feeding chicken bones to your dogs?

I had a customer a couple of months ago who was intent on making her own cat food. She was adamant about having the bone in the food for calcium. I suggested the butcher cutting up the chickens for her. Failing that buying some inxspensive cleavers because she will wreck them.

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  1. Chicken bones(or other non-weight bearing bones from larger animals) are not dangerous for dogs to eat so long as they are uncooked. They become brittle and splinter when cooked or dried.

    I buy whatever meat's on sale for the dogs for the most part (while still providing a balanced diet) and bringing 5 chickens to the meat counter of the grocery store once a week for them to cut up seems unreasonable when I can just do it at home with a $15 knife that I'd feel ok about destroying the edge on every month or so and giving it a quick resharpen.

    18 Replies
    1. re: LaureltQ

      The problem is that you are not going to have the knife re sharpened, you can nick and ding the blade. Cleavers are jut not designed to cut through bone.

      I commend you for wanting to prepare your dog's food. I have 2 large dogs too, St. Poodles. Before I would use one of my knives on bone, I'd take the bones down to my husband's power saw and use that. I sharpen knives for customers and believe me I have seen knives beyond redemption.

      We do our best but occasionally there is some one who has done something like you are proposing to do and they are just wrecked. The companies who produce good knives will not honor their guarantee on knives that have been misused or mistreated.

      1. re: LaureltQ

        Chicken bones(or other non-weight bearing bones from larger animals) are not dangerous for dogs to eat so long as they are uncooked

        Do you feed them raw chicken? I always figgered they could eat it, but my wife would kill me if she ever found out

        1. re: Dave5440

          They only get raw chicken. Cooked meat, while not bad for dogs is less "available" and many of the nutrients in it have been destroyed or damaged by the heat. Since switching to a raw diet including chicken (and bones), pork (and bones) and beef(and occasionally what I call "recreational bones") plus raw eggs, high fat dairy like sour cream, cream cheese, and full fat yogurt, plus previously frozen vegetables like peas, carrots, sweet potato, and broccoli, they're never been healthier. No problems maintaining a healthy weight, beautiful coat, good dental health, more energy, and best of all, their (huge!) stool breaks down into crumbly bits of bone within 3-4 days of rain. I attribute that last bit to the lack of preservatives in their food. If you're interested, read up on the raw, and barf diet. Many owners report better health and fewer allergy/skin problems with dogs that have been switched from commercially prepared foods to something simpler and more "whole."

          1. re: LaureltQ

            I have a question and it is a real honest question. I am not challenging anyone and this is not a trap.

            I have heard that chicken meat, at least modern chicken meat, has to be cooked throughly because of the numerous bacteria. That is, chicken is not beef, and we should eat it half-cooked. Yet, if this is true, then how come dogs can eat these highly infected raw chicken and not us?

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I don't have the complete answer to your question, but dogs eat all sorts of nasty stuff that would probably infect us. For example, dogs eat the feces of all sorts of other animals including their own, and frequently drink out of water sources that we could not. I have never heard of a dog getting giardia, though I will say that in typing giardia into the google bar to ascertain the appropriate spelling, I did find that dogs can contract giardia, but it is usually asymptomatic. I don't know why, but it seems that dogs can handle a lot more gastronomical challenges than we can. I know a newfoundland (who weighs 165) who is fed a raw diet mostly consisting of meat, but his favorite food is the roadkill deer carcasses he brings home and lets sit in the sun for a few days before enjoying. Anyway, I would be interested in why dogs can do all of these things and not us. Maybe there is a way we can build up our digestive tract to handle things that would make most people sick.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                +1 with motownbrown. I'm no vet, but I think dogs have a sort of win-win digestive tract. That is, they can eat, digest, and even enjoy some really vile stuff--more bacteria than meat sometimes. Yet they also seem to be able to easily vomit up whatever is over some line of being unsafe for them.

                Dogs are not so lucky with some of our foods, e.g., chocolate.

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Yeah, no chocolate for doggie. Nope. Unfortunately, they do not find chocolate repulsive. It would have been much better if they actually hate the taste of chocolate, but they don't.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Skeezix, our 1st Ridgie, would argue that point about chocolate being bad for them. I remember the time we had left a bag of chocolate chip danish on the table unattended for a short while. When we got home the empty bag and crumbs were on the floor. It never fazed him. Talk about different digestive systems, this is the guy that ate several remote clickers, a pair of sunglasses and destroyed my hearing aids that I inadvertantly left within his reach.

                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      :) The story you tell remind me of Marley from the film "Marley and Me."

                      P.S.: Although chocolate is toxic to dogs... it takes a bit to actually kill one.

                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Dogs have a notably different digestive tract than ours and do not suffer from food poisoning the way that humans do. Apparently approximately 12% of chicken pieces that are purchased from the store contain salmonella. My dogs go through at least 2 cases of salmonella infected meat weekly based on that model.

                  Their digestive tract is much shorter and they just tend to pass the bacteria. The instance of salmonella and e coli in raw fed dog stools is much higher than that of commercially prepared dog stools, but the dogs don't seem to experience problems.

                  There are very occasional cases of food poisoning in raw fed dogs (as there are in kibble fed dogs) but it's difficult to say whether it's a function of the dog eating raw or the dog eating something crazy in the yard and then getting sick.

                  In fact, it's great, when I have meat that may have sat a little past it's prime in the fridge, as long as the smell isn't too overwhelming, the dogs will happily chow it down and be fine afterwards. I haven't rolled the dice too much with feeding them stuff that's been forgotten in the back of the fridge, but like motown says, they eat obviously spoiled carcasses with no problems so I'm just being a little overprotective. I bet my dogs would LOVE roadkill.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I have heard that modern chicken and turkey CAN be eaten rare, as long as the outside has been subject to 180F and above. I've eaten both rare(not on purpose mind you) and never suffered for it. As far as dogs go I guess all wild animals eat their food raw blood and all so it makes sense .

                      1. re: Dave5440


                        Yeah, I have accidentially eaten some raw or medium raw chicken and have never gotten sick, but a book I have claims modern chicken are nothing like beef and fish and should never be consumed rare. Yes, wild animals eat raw meat, but modern chicken are different. They are raised with antibiotics. So the logic is that all the common bacteria are no longer in the chicken, rather only the super-resistant stains surivive. Therefore these chickens have the so-called "super-bugs" and are particularly nasty.

                        In short, eating modern farmed raised chicken are nothing like eating wild chicken in the middle of a forest. Now, how true is that, I have no idea. It is actually not from a scientific literature. It is from a passage of the famous kitchen knife book "An Edge in the Kitchen" by Chard Ward:

                        '“....But,” you say, “my grandmother/mother/aunt used the same cutting board forever and never gave it anything more than a quick wipedown. We never got sick.” Maybe. Times are different now. Your grandmother’s fish and chicken came from a neighbor or the next county over. Even grocery stores were stocked with relatively local ingredients farmed on a moderate scale. Today’s factory farmed chickens, tasty as they might be, are inbred mutants with more recessive genes than the royal family. ....'

                        The dog topic got me wonder if that passage may be exaggerating things a bit.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Chem: Why not revisit the now-famous "Magic House" thread?

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              no Chem you have to google"magic house thread chowhound" pretty funny stuff

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Chem: I meant the one that Sam F. started. Posters keep referring to magic houses, then others ask them what it means, and it just goes on and on. I think Sam's dead now, but he would have liked that it continues.

            2. Candy: "Cleavers are called meat cleavers because that is what they are designed for, they are not meant for chopping through bones."

              With respect, I grew up working in my dad's slaughterhouse and packing plant, and cleavers *are* designed to chop through bone. Perhaps not the light, flat-ground 1/8"-thick cleaver-*shaped* things that are sold as such. I have a cleaver that was specifically designed to split the spines (all the way, C1 to coccyx) of calves, hogs and mutton. Even my kitchen cleaver is 3/8" thick, convex ground, that excels at cleanly cleaving bone. It's about 80 years old, with heavy use and nary a chip or ding.

              3 Replies
              1. re: kaleokahu

                Slight correction: My kitchen cleaver has a LOT of major dings and deformations on the spine where a *hammer* was used as a cudgel to drive it through heavy bone.

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I bought a rubber mallet for $2 for this purpose. I prefer to swing the mallet instead of rhe clever.

                  1. re: John E.

                    John E.: Yes, I do too, at least when the chop has to be precise. With my aim, it's finger insurance, too!

                    I inherited my kitchen cleaver with the metal-on-metal dings already in place.

              2. I feed raw, and I'm finally getting practice breaking down chickens! I just use a cheap knife and I can finally find the joints just fine.

                And on the not-about-food note, my dog can swallow a half chicken in about four gulps. They don't chew - they just crush to swallow. Once I read that, I finally realized why they can eat bacteria ridden raw chicken!