Mazlan has had chickens, ducks, fish, guinea pigs, and rabbits as pets but now is happy to be surrounded by just four cats.
Dog Chews and Treats
Dogs love to chew, and it is their instinctual nature. They instinctively chew to eat, to play, and to relieve boredom or frustration. Most dogs will chew almost anything and some are not safe or healthy.
Duck Feet: Natural Dog Treats
If you are looking for natural chews and treats, duck feet for dogs are the safer and better alternatives and they are also highly nutritious. It has a good balance of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
In this article, I cover everything you need to know about duck feet for dogs, the benefits, why it is safe, and the downsides.
Table of Contents
- Duck Feet for Dogs
- Raw Duck Feet
- Dehydrated Duck Feet
- Freeze Dried Duck Feet
- Dehydrated vs. Freeze Dried Duck Feet
- Benefits of Duck Feet for Dogs
- Duck Feet Nutrition Facts
- Are Duck Feet Safe for Dogs?
- The Downside of Feeding Your Dog Duck Feet
- Where to Buy Duck Feet?
- Duck Feet vs. Chicken Feet for Dogs
- Is Duck Good for Dogs?
- Can Cats Eat Duck Feet?
- Allergic to Duck
- Final Thoughts
Duck Feet for Dogs
If your dog is used to having chicken feet as dog treats, then they will love duck feet. Duck feet are digestible, high protein and low-fat source, suitable for active and growing dogs, and are nutritious as natural dog treats.
You can feed them with raw duck feet, dehydrated or freeze-dried duck feet.
Raw Duck Feet
These are fresh and yes, raw duck feet that retain all the nutrients, aroma, and flavor of duck feet, and are good for dogs. They are also ideal for picky eaters. However, raw duck feet are not suitable for puppies as they can accidentally damage their growing teeth.
You can buy in their raw or frozen state. Since frozen raw duck feet still retain the nutritional value, get them in bulk for storage in the freezer. Some dogs actually prefer them frozen as duck feet have a rubbery texture once thawed.
Dehydrated Duck Feet
The dehydrated dried duck feet are crunchy and fully digestible treats and are safe for dogs. Unfortunately, the dehydration process uses heat and some of the essential vitamins and minerals may be reduced in value, and the appearance of the duck foot also changes.
But some dogs have severe immune deficiencies, can't digest raw food well and prefer dehydrated dog food instead.
You can check this USA sourced duck feet, one of the better-dehydrated products based on customer and independent reviewer reviews. You have to check often as the product sometimes is out of stock.
Freeze-Dried Duck Feet
These are raw duck feet that are freeze-dried and retain the raw nutritional goodness, flavor, and aroma. As it is freeze-dried, you don't have to refrigerate them. It also lasts longer and weighs less than dehydrated duck feet.
It can be served dry but make sure there's fresh water close by. If you rehydrate by soaking in water and place in the refrigerator overnight, you get fresh raw duck feet.
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Unlike the dehydration process, freeze-drying removes moisture without the use of heat. It retains up to 98% of nutrients, maintains the shape and appearance of duck feet. The process also kills any bacteria or mold that might grow in raw duck feet.
Freeze-drying is an expensive process and hence, freeze-dried duck feet are the most expensive compared to raw and dehydrated duck feet.
Duck feet are natural single ingredient dog treats that you must try because of their many benefits including nutritional benefits:
- Rich in the natural sources of glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen: good for dogs with joint issues and osteoporosis, improve mobility or age-related stiffness. A better and cheaper option compared to the chemical version of glucosamine and chondroitin that have potential side effects.
- Help promote clean teeth and healthy gums: Duck feet are strong but will break when chewed and the chewing action helps improve their dental health especially for the smaller dogs. It can remove plaque buildup and saves you the burden of brushing your dog's teeth.
- Rich in protein, iron and amino acids: suitable for growing dogs, dogs that are active and need weight gain. Also, help relieve stomach upsets or skin irritation.
- High in calcium and phosphate: essential minerals in your dog's diets for strong bone and cartilage, and in hormone transmission.
- Low in fat and calories: will not pose a weight gain issue.
- Good for recreational chewing to keep them occupied and nourished, but mostly for the smaller breed dogs.
- Single-ingredient: perfect if your dog is on a limited ingredient diet, is sensitive to other protein sources or has a sensitive stomach. Also, helpful if you are evaluating your dog's nutritional intake to avoid potential allergic reactions.
- Easily digested: As an easily digestible food, it's good to serve a sick dog.
- Great nutrition: lots of other good stuff such as Vitamin A and C, selenium, niacin, zinc, potassium, iron, magnesium, copper and small amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Are Duck Feet Safe for Dogs?
Yes, duck feet are safe for dogs to eat. Raw, freeze-dried and dehydrated duck feet are crunchy and the bones are easily digestible and will not splinter.
Even the nails are safe. So, if you are feeding them with raw duck feet, don't worry as the nails are digestible. The claw-like nails at the tip of the duck feet may look sharp, but they aren't. They are much smaller than the nails on chicken feet but if you are worried, just de-nail or clip them with dog nail clippers.
Are They Safe for Puppies?
Yes, it is safe as the bones in dried or dehydrated duck feet are soft and easily digestible.
The Downside of Feeding Your Dog Duck Feet
Like all dog treats, duck feet do have issues and can be dangerous for dogs. So, you should be mindful of the following:
- Choking hazards: Because duck feet are relatively small, the big dogs might gulp it without chewing and get lodged in the throat. Hence, give duck feet only under supervision. If anything goes wrong, you can quickly take action.
- Less chewing; no dental action: Big dogs will gulp duck feet without chewing so there are fewer dental benefits. However, the smaller dogs will chew and will improve their dental health.
- Greasy: Duck feet are relatively greasier than chicken feet and will leave oil marks and stains in the feeding area. If this is an issue, feed them outside or place newspaper or plastic sheets over the feeding area.
How Much and How Often to Feed
One duck foot is about an ounce so give it as an occasional treat or part of your dog’s meal. You can serve duck feet daily and calculate the amount based on your dog’s breed size.
You can use this dog food calculator as a guide.
Training Treats for Dogs
Duck feet are also great as training treats for your small to medium-breed dogs especially if they love duck feet. A recent study showed that dogs are motivated to take action, do the tricks, or run faster for a reward that they like.
So, cut duck feet into smaller pieces and use them as raw training dog treats.
Where to Buy Duck Feet
The fresh raw duck feet are available in the markets serving the Asian and Chinese communities.
The frozen, freeze-dried, and dehydrated duck feet are available from most pet shops and online marketplaces such as Amazon.
How to Dehydrate Them
If you are thinking of doing your own healthy dog treats, this homemade dehydrated duck feet recipe using a dehydrator is easy to do:
- Thoroughly clean and clip the toenails (optional as duck feet nails are not sharp and are digestible).
- Place duck feet on the dehydrator sheets and start the dehydrator at the highest setting. Do not overlap or have the duck feet close together for better drying.
- Depending on the size, the dehydrating process can take up to 24 hours.
- You can tell that they are ready once the duck feet are not flexible or no longer able to bend.
- Once they are cooled, store these dehydrated duck feet in a Ziploc bag or refrigerate them for longer shelf life.
Duck Feet vs. Chicken Feet for Dogs
Generally, they are almost similar. If your dog has no allergies, it is a matter of preference for the dog to choose. But if you need to know the similarities and differences, check the table below.
|Duck Feet||Chicken Feet|
Glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen
Smaller, not sharp and digestible, no need to trim
Longer, sharper nails - need to trim before feeding
Ideal alternative if your dog is allergic to chicken, beef and pork. as the protein in ducks does not trigger dogs’ allergies
May pose a problem for dogs with allergies
Duck feet are webbed, hence have more skin, cartilage and 'meat'. They are also bonier.
Relatively, less skin and cartilage. Looks like a small human hand, minus the fingers.
Harder to source and raw duck feet, freeze-dried duck feet and dehydrated duck feet are all more expensive. Also stock availability most of the time, an issue.
Easier to find and relatively cheaper.
Big dogs will quickly chew duck feet and swallow them. Shorter chewing time means less dental action. But smaller dogs take longer to chew and dental health effects can 'take place'.
Similarly, big dogs will quickly chew and swallow chicken feet with no dental effect. Smaller dogs take longer time to chew so better dental action.
Compared to chicken feet, duck feet are greasier and will leave oil stains at the feeding area.
Is Duck Good for Dogs?
Are you thinking of giving duck meat as part of their main meals and duck feet as treats?
As recommended in PetMD, duck as the main meal for dogs is good since it is rich in iron and has a lean, easy-to-digest protein source. It is also rich in amino acids, which are good for muscle growth and immune systems.
If your dog has an allergy issue, duck and food formulated with duck are good choices.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Duck?
Yes, dogs can eat cooked duck but check how it was prepared. Ideally, it should be cooked plain without any seasoning or spices.
Can Cats Eat Duck Feet?
Yes, cats can eat duck feet as it provides a healthy treat for both cats and dogs, and they love the crunchy texture. But, from my experience, it is a matter of whether your cat will eat it.
Signs That a Pet Is Allergic
Some dogs may be allergic to ducks, which will affect either their immune or the digestive system. A few of the common symptoms are below.
When these happen, stop feeding them duck feet or food with duck as one of the ingredients and seek your veterinary advice.
You have read that duck feet as natural dog treats are safe, easily digested, high in protein, and are a natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen. Hence, great for dogs with joint and age-related issues. They are also a good alternative if your dog is allergic to chicken, meat, or pork.
So, are you ready to give your dog duck feet? Will they be raw, freeze-dried, or dehydrated?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2021 Mazlan A