Can Chickens Eat Dog Food?

Chickens usually like pecking at dog food because it is delicious and nutritious. Dog food also offers plenty of nutrition compared to commercial chicken feeds. Although dog food shouldn’t be your chickens’ main diet, it can be an excellent treat for your birds, provided it is fresh and high-quality.

Dog food is entirely safe for your chickens, provided it is fresh. That notwithstanding, excessive quantities of dog food can be harmful to chickens. Therefore, you should provide your birds with dog food in moderation.

Is Dog Food Safe for Chickens?

Yes, dog food is completely safe for your chickens. Fresh and high-quality dog food doesn’t have toxins or chemicals that risk your chickens’ health. Your chickens can thrive well with high-quality dog food.

Therefore, consider giving your chickens a high-quality dog, whether you want to give your birds dog food as a treat or part of their diet. Although dog food is safe for chickens, you should always give your chickens dog food in moderation because too much of everything, including dog food, can be hazardous to your chickens. Avoid providing your birds with raw or expired dog food.

Benefits of Chickens Eating Dog Food

Fresh and high-quality dog food can benefit your chickens in many ways. Dog food is far much more nutritious and healthier than regular chicken feed. Your chickens can benefit a lot from eating dog food. These are the benefits of providing your birds with fresh dog food.

– Your Chickens Will Have a Shinier Plumage

Dog food contains healthy oils, unlike most commercial chicken feeds that don’t have healthy fats. These essential oils can turn a dull chicken’s plumage glossy. Fresh dog food contains a blend of essential oils, which have various health benefits. Chickens with shiny plumage look fantastic, and the shiny plumage is an indication that your birds are healthy and happy.

– Dog Food Can Give Your Chickens More Energy

Foods such as plant material can be tough on your chickens’ digestive system. Furthermore, chickens can spend plenty of energy trying to break down over-proceed chicken feed. Your chickens will struggle to glean nutrients from over-proceed feeds and plant material.

Fresh dog food contains fresh ingredients which are easier for chickens to digest, allowing your chickens to get plenty of energy from the dog food. Therefore, dog food gives your chickens energy to roam your yard because chickens are active.

You will notice that your birds will be more energetic and happy after giving them dog food.

– Firmer Stools

Many processed chicken feeds have excessive amounts of fiber. Although fiber is essential for chickens, your chickens will struggle to break down too much fiber in their diet. In the long run, your chickens will experience digestive-related problems.

Fresh food contains moderate amounts of fiber, unlike commercial chicken feed. Moreover, the fiber from high-quality dog foods is from natural sources. That means your chickens will defecate less frequently and their stools will be much firmer.

– More Healthy Ingredients

One thing that makes dog food great for chickens is its more healthy ingredients than the regular chicken feeds. Dog food, for instance, is rich in vitamins, which will keep your chickens’ immune system strong. Dog food also has freshly cooked meats as part of its ingredients.

These meats are a rich source of zinc and protein for chickens. Because of the abundance of protein in the dog food, your egg-laying chickens will continue laying more eggs. Furthermore, the protein in the dog food can be especially crucial for your chickens as the birds undergo their annual molting process.

The other critical mineral in dog food is calcium, vital for your chickens’ bone development.

– Dog Food Can Improve Your Chickens’ Immunity

Dog food’s vital minerals and vitamins can help keep your chickens’ immune systems strong. They can also help keep your birds’ metabolism functioning normally. The natural vitamins in fresh dog food help reduce body cell damage, thus protecting your birds against various poultry diseases.

Without sufficient minerals and vitamins, your chickens will eventually succumb to illnesses. Therefore, providing your chickens with high-quality dog food is a sure way of protecting them from diseases in the long run.

Risks Associated with Chickens Eating Dog Food

Dog food may offer several benefits to your chickens. However, there are serious risks that come with feeding your chickens with dog feed in the long run, mainly if you are providing the birds with the dog food as their primary diet. These are some potential risks of feeding your chickens with dog food.

– Harmful Ingredients

Low-quality dog food harbors harmful ingredients that can be horrendous to your chickens’ health. Some dog food can contain dangerous ingredients such as uncooked meats and stale organs from animals such as chicken, cattle, pigs, and ducks.

These ingredients contain harmful bacteria that will eventually affect your chickens’ health. Research also shows that some raw and low-quality dog foods harbor salmonella, bacteria that spreads rapidly among chickens, claiming the entire flock.

These bacteria can find its way into the human body if one eats an infected chicken or infected chicken eggs. Moreover, most commercial dog foods contain additives that are also disastrous to chickens.

– Digestive Problems

Feeding your chickens with poor-quality dog food can lead to digestive issues. Some hard-to-digest ingredients in dog food can lead to gastrointestinal infections and inflammation.

Chickens can also suffer from bowel constrictions and diarrhea because of consuming low-quality dog food. Some poor-quality dog foods can also make your chickens suffer from constipation.

– Weight Issues

Dog food has more energy and calories compared to chicken feed. Chickens that eat dog food frequently are at risk of becoming obese. Obese chickens are at high risk of heart diseases and other cardiovascular diseases.

Dog food is especially unsuitable for indoor chickens since these chickens aren’t active compared to free-range chickens. Therefore, chickens that spend their entire time indoors shouldn’t consume large quantities of dog food because they will be at risk of becoming obese.

– Nutritional Imbalances

Although most dog food brands infuse tons of nutrients and minerals into their products, some dog foods lack some of the essential nutrients that chickens require to thrive.

For instance, most dog foods contain limited amounts of vitamins; therefore, they can’t provide the nutrients your chickens need for growth and egg production. In most cases, dog food contains excessive amounts of protein.

Can You Give Chickens Expired Dog Food?

No, it would help if you never gave your chickens expired dog food since it is toxic and can make your birds sick. Expired dog food also contains molds, which can harm your chickens. Furthermore, the stale ingredients in expired dog food harbor harmful bacteria, including salmonella.

Expired dog food can make your chickens experience digestive issues such as diarrhea. It’s always best to give your chickens fresh dog food if you want to introduce dog food to their diet.

How to Keep Chickens From Eating Dog Food?

Not every chicken keeper is comfortable with their chickens eating dog food. After all, dog feed may be risky for chickens to some extent. Therefore, it helps to stop providing your chickens with dog food, especially if you aren’t sure about the quality of dog food you are introducing to your birds.

Here are some simple ways to keep your chickens from eating dog food.

  • Don’t introduce dog food to your chickens– Chickens will love the taste of dog food the first time they eat it. They will roam your yard looking for dog food leftovers to satisfy their desire for dog food. Therefore, don’t feed your chickens with dog food at all if you don’t want your birds to develop a liking for dog food.
  • Clear leftovers– It’s good to dispose of any dog food leftovers from your yard to ensure your free-range chickens don’t have access to such leftovers. You can put the leftovers in a waste bin or a pit where it would be hard for chickens to notice the leftovers.
  • Have a feeding area for your dogs-It is prudent to have a separate feeding area for your dogs other than feeding your dogs in your yard. Ensure the chickens don’t have access to the feeding area lest they see the dog food and start pecking at it.
  • Get other tasty treats for your birds– Chickens won’t crave dog food if they have other delicious treats on their menu. Some great treat options for chickens include mealworms, fruits, and seeds. Chickens will love such treats more than dog food.
  • Keep the dog food beyond your chickens’ reach-The more access your chickens will have to dog food, the more the chickens are likely to consume the food. Thus, keep the dog food away from your birds’ reach. You can have separate containers for keeping dog food. Close the containers with tight lids to ensure chickens won’t peck at the dog food from the containers.


Dog food is 100% safe for chickens. Furthermore, fresh and high-quality dog food also contains vital minerals and nutrients that benefit your chickens. As healthy and nutritious as dog food is to chickens, there are demerits of providing your chickens with dog food.

Therefore, consider both the cons and pros of feeding your chickens with dog food before introducing the dog food to your birds’.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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