How to Cook Boiled Chicken For Your Dog: A Beginner’s Guide
Chicken is one of the most common ingredients in dog food and for good reason. Nutritious, lean, packed with protein, and widely available, chicken is a fantastic protein option for most dogs—unless, of course, they have food allergies.
But, chicken isn’t just good for your dog when it’s added to their regular food! Chicken—especially boiled chicken—is commonly recommended for dogs with upset stomachs, as a quick and easy meal replacement, or as an alternative to commercial dog food. Most often, dog owners will cook up boiled chicken for their dogs after a bout of vomiting, diarrhea, or indigestion.
Easy to do at home, boiled chicken makes a nice neutral base for your dogs stomach and can help get nutrients in when they’re not feeling up to eating much. In this guide, we’re covering everything you need to know to successfully cook chicken for dogs, how to safely incorporate plain boiled chicken into their diet, and more.
How To Boil Chicken for Dogs
Boiling chicken for your dog is easy and takes less than half an hour. Boiled chicken can be made in a pinch, and since chicken is sold at almost every grocery store, it’s an easy ingredient to get your hands on at the last minute. Start with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then follow these steps.
- Fill a medium size pot about ½ — ⅔ way with water and add your chicken breasts. They should be fully covered with water. Place the pot over high heat to bring it to a boil. You do not need to cover the pot.
- Once your water is boiling, set a timer for 12 minutes. Check the pot occasionally to ensure the water is not either boiling over or getting too low.
- Remove the pot from the heat and take out a piece of chicken. Cut open and check for doneness. If it is fully cooked it will be creamy white all the way through. Gelatinous or pink meat is a sign that it is still raw. If undercooked, give the chicken an additional 3–6 minutes of cooking time.
- Drain the water and set the chicken aside to cool before you feed it to your dog.
- Store cooked chicken in the refrigerator if using it immediately, or transfer it to an airtight container in the freezer for long-term storage.
Why Feed Boiled Chicken To Your Dog
So, if you’ve already got dog food, why bother cooking chicken for your dog?
Well, first, boiled chicken can be used as part of a balanced diet. If you make homemade dog food, many of the recipes include chicken as the key source of protein. If you plan to make homemade food for your dog long-term, you’ll need to consult with a vet or nutritionist to make sure your pup is getting everything they need. Boiled chicken alone will not fulfill your dog’s dietary needs and must be supplemented with other ingredients to give your dog a full range of nutrients.
More commonly, people will make cooked chicken for their dogs as a treat, or as a temporary replacement for a meal.
As a treat, boiled chicken is fantastically low-fat, low-carb, and low-calorie, and makes a great option for picky dogs who need high-value treats to follow commands and training exercises. Tiny bits or shreds of chicken can be kept in a plastic bag and quickly dispensed as rewards.
As a meal replacement, boiled chicken has two primary purposes. First is for those days when you forget to buy dog food and you have run out. If you can’t make it to the store in time, feeding your dog boiled chicken and white or brown rice can act as a fine replacement until the next day.
The second is for when your dog is feeling sick. If your dog has been vomiting, having diarrhea, or experiencing gastrointestinal distress, boiled chicken and rice can help to soothe the stomach and provide a neutral base. Even if your dog ordinarily has no problems with their food, eating their regular diet can be a little much after a day of feeling sick. Plain chicken and rice are neutral enough to avoid triggering further issues and give your dog a little bit of protein and carbohydrates.
Vets from Ardmore Animal Hospital in Pennsylvania recommend first having your dog fast for 24 hours if they are experiencing diarrhea. After those 24 hours “begin feeding a combination of boiled white meat chicken (with all the skin and fat removed and the water poured off) and boiled long grain white rice. The combination of rice to chicken will be 2 to 1. In other words, if you want to give your dog a total of one cup of food he/she will receive 1/3 cup chicken mixed with 2/3 cup of rice.”
Of course, it’s important to remember that boiled chicken isn’t a good long-term option if your dog is struggling with digestion and stomach issues. Boiled chicken is fine for a meal or two, but if the issues persist, the issue is likely more serious than a simple upset stomach. Additionally, boiled chicken isn’t nutritionally complete for dogs, and can’t replace a balanced diet on its own.
Tips to Cook Chicken for Dogs
Boiling chicken for your dog is fairly straightforward, but there are a few things to avoid during the process. Take a look at our tips for successfully making chicken for your dog.
1. Use Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Dogs can safely eat both dark and light meat chicken, but using just the breasts makes it extra easy to prep. Dark meat chicken—like thigh—contains more fat than light meat chicken, and will need to be trimmed and prepped before being boiled.
By choosing boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you’ll also avoid the extra fat layer under the skin and bones. Again, some chicken skin is perfectly safe for your dog, but they shouldn’t eat very much since it’s so high in fat.
Chicken bones, on the other hand, are never safe to feed your dog. Both raw and cooked chicken bones can be a choking hazard and have been known to cause intestinal blockage in some dogs. Chicken bones also are at risk of shattering, and can turn into sharp shards that can seriously irritate or injure your dog’s digestive system.
For these reasons and to make your life easy, stick to skinless, boneless chicken breasts for your dog.
2. Allow Chicken to Cool Before Serving
Avoid feeding boiled or cooked chicken to your dog until it has fully cooled. Dogs love chicken, and many will gobble it down even if it’s burning hot and uncomfortable. Allowing the chicken to cool will keep your dog’s mouth safe, and encourage slower eating. This is especially important if your dog has an upset stomach since eating quickly can make the issue worse.
3. Shred or Cut Chicken Into Bite-Sized Pieces
You’ve probably seen videos or photos of dogs eating whole steaks or big pieces of chicken. While some dogs do well with big pieces of protein, the majority do best when their food is made into bite-sized pieces.
Breaking down the chicken can also make it go a little further, and your dog will need to spend more time eating the little pieces than scarfing down a large piece.
Depending on the size of your dog, try slicing, dicing, or shredding the chicken with two forks.
4. Mix with Rice
Especially if your dog is having tummy trouble, try mixing their boiled chicken with brown or white rice before serving. Rice is a neutral, soothing carbohydrate, and is relatively easy for your dog to digest. By combining rice and boiled chicken, you’ll be giving your pup a soothing base of protein and carbs to help them get over their stomach bug.
This simple home remedy is so effective and widely used that you can even buy chicken and rice meal replacements at the pet store. This option from Grandma Lucy’s is especially easy to use and freeze-dried to make it shelf stable.
Boiled Chicken for Dogs FAQ
Did we miss anything? If you’ve got more questions, we’ve got the answers right here!
Can dogs eat raw chicken?
Yes, but it’s not a good idea to feed your dog raw chicken from the grocery store without any additional prep. Raw diets are a popular choice for many dogs, and some raw diets include raw chicken. In the case of boiling chicken, it’s best to cook it all the way through to avoid any chance of passing harmful bacteria to your dog.
12—15 minutes is all it takes to cook a chicken breast in boiling water.
What parts of a boiled chicken can dogs eat?
The meat of a boiled chicken is the only part you should consider feeding your dog. Dogs can safely eat both dark and light meat, but should avoid eating fat, skin, or chicken bones.
If you boil the chicken and want to reserve the chicken broth, we recommend using it to boil your rice! While the broth won’t have a ton of flavor—like a broth made for humans—it will help give a little extra umph to the rice.
Can I feed my dog boiled chicken every day?
No, unless instructed to do so by your vet. Chicken alone is not a nutritionally complete meal, and must be served in addition to other foods to ensure your dog is getting enough nutrition. In general, boiled chicken is safe to feed for 1-2 meals when your dog is under the weather, but doesn’t work as a replacement for regular dog food.
How long do I boil chicken for my dog?
Once fully boiling, chicken needs about 12–15 minutes to be cooked through. Depending on the size of the pieces of chicken you use, this time may vary. Some people like to boil their chicken breasts whole, while others will slice before boiling.