Is Chicken Liver Bad for Dogs?

Even the most stoic of dogs loves a good treat.
Even the most stoic of dogs loves a good treat. (Image: Image by, courtesy of Patrick Kwan)

Chicken liver is an ingredient of many dog foods and treats. It can also be cooked or dehydrated as a snack that most dogs love. While it isn't inherently bad, there are some considerations to consider when feeding your dog liver.


The liver is the part of the body that filters and stores excess toxins before they are released from the body. As such, chicken liver may contain small amounts of toxins.


Chicken liver contains significant amounts of protein, fat, and vitamin A. In moderation, these are good supplements, but when too much is administered, a dog can suffer ill effects.


Hypervitamintosis A is the most common side effect of too much chicken liver. This can manifest as anorexia, weight loss, deformed bone structures or excess bone growths on the spine and legs. It is occasionally fatal.


Chicken liver should comprise less than 10% of your dog's meat consumption per day to ensure that your dog is getting all of the health benefits without the ill effects.

Expert Insight

Speak with your veterinarian before starting any type of supplement to your dog's diet.

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  • "Cooking the Three Dog Bakery Way"; Mark Beckloff, Dan Dye; 2005
  • "UC Davis Book of Dogs: The Complete Medical Reference Guide for Dogs and Puppies"; Mordecai Siegal; 1995
  • "Nutrition for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses"; Ann Wortinger; 2007
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