Can Dogs Eat Duck?

Published: 6/2/2021
While long popular in China, duck is considered a delicacy in the U.S. that is usually reserved for holidays and special occasions. The dark meat of this poultry actually tastes more like red meat than chicken or turkey, and contains a lot of healthy nutrients packed into a complete protein.

You may have seen dried duck necks or duck jerky at your local pet store, and wondered if duck was good for your dog to eat. The answer to the question of can dogs eat duck is a resounding yes! Duck is a great protein source for dogs, and while once a rare ingredient in pet foods and treats, it is now easily accessible for your dog’s eating pleasure.

In this guide, we’ll talk about why duck is so pawsome, how it can benefit your pooch, and a few tips on how to feed duck to your dog.

What’s in Duck?

Duck is a high-fat, nutrient-dense source of high-quality protein that is quite flavorful. Though duck can have a high amount of fat between the skin and muscle, it’s healthy unsaturated fat that contains essential fatty acids.

Besides being an excellent source of protein, duck meat is also a source of:

  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy heart, immune system, digestive system, skin and coat, and muscle condition.
  • Vitamin A for eye and skin health, and immune function.
  • Vitamin B-complex, particularly niacin for healthy digestion, brain function and hormone production, and B-12 for nerve function and red blood cell production.
  • Vitamin C for a strong immune system, healthy skin and bones, and as an antioxidant.
  • Selenium, another antioxidant that fights inflammation, and supports immune and thyroid function.
  • Copper for bone formation, nerve protection, and iron metabolization.
  • Iron for red blood cell production and oxygen transport throughout the body.
  • Zinc for boosting cognitive function, hormone production, and healthy skin, coat, and vision.

Duck for Allergies

While duck in itself isn’t hypoallergenic, it can be considered a novel protein, or a protein source that most dogs aren’t normally exposed to. Duck can be a viable alternative protein for a dog who has developed a food allergy to one of the standard proteins like beef, chicken or salmon, either as part of a food elimination trial, or as an ongoing meal choice.

Many commercial dog foods now feature limited ingredients made just for dogs who have a food allergy, and use unusual protein sources paired with a different carbohydrate than standard pet foods contain, such as potatoes or peas. Duck can now be found in several commercial dog foods and treats, which is great if your dog needs to switch to a different protein for allergy reasons.

Duck can also be a great addition to a rotational feeding diet, which is the practice of varying up the foods and proteins your dog eats to reduce the chance of your furry pal developing an allergy to one specific protein. This is based on the debated theory that consuming the same protein every day for years, or even a lifetime, could actually cause an allergy to that protein. 

Duck Treats, Homemade and Raw Diets

Your dog doesn’t need to be suffering from an allergy to enjoy duck, as they’ll probably love the taste of this delicious food. Dogs will love duck treats which are available in several forms. Whether inside commercially made treats or jerkies, or from whole duck parts such as dried or raw duck necks or feet, you can find plenty of ways to spoil your dog with this yummy food.

Duck also tends to be a good choice for those wishing to feed their dogs homemade cooked or raw diets, and there are many companies who sell packages of frozen, raw duck feet, necks, meat cuts, ground meat, and frames which any pooch would love to chew on. You should always consult your veterinarian to be sure a homemade or raw diet is right for your dog, and to ensure you are addressing all of their nutritional needs first.

As you introduce your dog to duck, be sure to go slowly as with any new food. It is possible for some dogs to be allergic to duck, so watch for any signs of a reaction when first feeding it to your pup. Stop feeding duck to your dog if you notice changes to their eating or elimination habits, if they are excessively scratching, or have reddened, inflamed skin after they’ve consumed it. If your dog is having trouble breathing, develops hives, their face swells, or they are unstable or collapse after eating duck, seek emergency veterinary attention immediately as your dog may be going into allergenic shock.

For most dogs, however, duck can be a safe, tasty and healthy addition to their diet, and with it’s unique flavors, is sure to make any tail wag for more! Munch on!

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