Can Dogs Eat Chicken Liver?

Can Dogs Eat Chicken Liver?

Yes, dogs can eat chicken liver, and it is often recommended as a part of a balanced diet for its rich nutrient content. Chicken liver provides a wealth of essential vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dog's health when served in moderation.

Table of Contents

Nutritional Value

Chicken liver is a nutrient-dense food for dogs, offering:

  • High Protein: Essential for muscle growth and repair, and overall health.
  • Vitamins A and B: Particularly rich in vitamin A, which supports vision, growth, and immune function, and B vitamins, which aid in energy metabolism and overall good health.
  • Iron: Vital for the formation of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood.
  • Omega Fatty Acids: Contributes to a healthy coat and skin.


Amount in 100g of Chicken Liver

RDA for Small Dogs (1-10 kg)

RDA for Medium Dogs (11-25 kg)

RDA for Large Dogs (26+ kg)


167 kcal

200-400 kcal/day

400-800 kcal/day

800-1600 kcal/day


26 g

20-50 g/day

50-100 g/day

100-200 g/day


5 g

5-15 g/day

15-30 g/day

30-60 g/day

Vitamin A

11,000 IU

500-1,000 IU/day

1,000-2,000 IU/day

2,000-4,000 IU/day

Vitamin D

Trace amounts

3.5 IU/kg body weight

3.5 IU/kg body weight

3.5 IU/kg body weight


9 mg

1-3 mg/day

3-7 mg/day

7-15 mg/day


345 mg

Minimal concern

Minimal concern

Minimal concern

Omega Fatty Acids

Varied (depends on diet)

Adjust according to diet

Adjust according to diet

Adjust according to diet

Key Points

  • Protein and Fat: Chicken liver is high in protein and moderately high in fat, which is beneficial but should be fed in moderation due to the potential for weight gain and other health issues if overfed.
  • Vitamin A: High in vitamin A, chicken liver must be fed sparingly to avoid toxicity. Small portions are beneficial for skin, coat, and immune health.
  • Iron: An excellent source of iron, chicken liver can help combat anemia and support healthy blood flow.

This table is intended as a guide and may vary based on specific dietary needs and health conditions of a dog. Always consult with a veterinarian to tailor dietary plans to your dog's individual health profile.

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Food Suitability

Chicken liver is suitable for dogs of all ages, including puppies and seniors, due to its soft texture and nutrient richness. However, it should be introduced into a dog’s diet gradually to assess tolerability and to prevent any digestive upset.

Feeding Instructions

  • Cooking: Chicken liver should be cooked without any added oils or spices. Boiling or steaming are the best methods to preserve its nutrients.
  • Frequency and Amount: It should only make up a small percentage of a dog's daily food intake, ideally less than 5%, because of its high vitamin A content, which can be toxic in large quantities.
  • Mixing with Other Foods: It can be mixed into a dog’s regular food as a supplement or served alone as a treat.

This approach to integrating chicken liver into your dog's diet ensures they reap the benefits of its nutrient profile while avoiding potential risks associated with overfeeding.


While chicken liver is beneficial, there are several risks associated with feeding it to dogs if not handled or served properly:

  • Vitamin A Toxicity: Excessive consumption of chicken liver can lead to hypervitaminosis A, which is an overdose of vitamin A and can cause serious health issues such as dehydration, joint pain, and damage to blood vessels.
  • High Cholesterol: Liver is high in cholesterol, which can be a concern for dogs with pre-existing conditions that require a low-fat diet.
  • Contaminants: Like any raw meat, raw chicken liver can carry pathogens that might lead to foodborne illnesses. Cooking the liver properly eliminates this risk.


While not common, some dogs might be allergic to chicken liver. Allergy symptoms can include:

  • Gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting or diarrhea
  • Itchy skin
  • Ear inflammation
  • Chronic gas

If you notice any of these symptoms after introducing chicken liver into your dog's diet, it is advisable to stop feeding it and consult with a veterinarian.


If chicken liver is not suitable for your dog, or if you are looking for variety, there are other healthy organ meats and alternatives you can consider:

  • Beef liver: Offers a similar nutrient profile and is usually well-accepted by dogs.
  • Turkey liver: A good alternative for dogs that might be sensitive to chicken.
  • Lamb liver: Typically higher in fat but can be a good occasional treat.

Introducing variety into your dog’s diet can help balance their nutrient intake and reduce the risk of food sensitivities and allergies developing. Additionally, varying the protein sources helps keep meals interesting for your dog.

By managing portion sizes and preparation methods, chicken liver can be a valuable addition to a dog's diet, offering substantial nutritional benefits.


Q: How often can I feed my dog chicken liver?

A: Chicken liver should be treated as a supplement to your dog's regular diet. It's recommended to include chicken liver in your dog's meals no more than two to three times a week to avoid any potential issues with vitamin A toxicity or high cholesterol.

Q: Should chicken liver be cooked or raw for dogs?

A: It is safer to serve chicken liver cooked to your dog. Cooking liver eliminates the risk of pathogens like salmonella and E. coli, which can be present in raw meat. Ensure that the liver is cooked without any harmful oils, spices, or seasonings.

Q: What are the signs of vitamin A toxicity in dogs?

A: Signs of vitamin A toxicity in dogs include lethargy, weight loss, constipation, stiffness, and joint pain. If you suspect vitamin A toxicity, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian immediately.


Chicken liver, when included as part of a balanced diet, can provide significant health benefits to dogs, such as enhanced muscle function, improved immunity, and better coat condition. However, it is important to serve it in moderation and follow safe preparation guidelines to prevent potential risks such as vitamin A toxicity or dietary imbalances. Always introduce any new food gradually and monitor your dog's reaction to it, ensuring a healthy and happy pet.

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