Is Duck Healthier than Chicken? Benefits of Duck for Dogs

It is quite common to give your dog chicken, but duck is another option that you can introduce to your furry pet. Duck is a type of poultry that is darker than chicken although it is considered as white meat. It is a popular meat in China and France, and offers several benefits that chicken lacks. 

Duck Vs. Chicken

Compared to chicken, duck is rich and very flavourful. It is a combination of savory and sweet and its flavor is closer to red meat. Since most of its fat is between the skin and meat, it is comparable in fat and calories to skinless chicken. Compared to chicken, duck contains more healthy unsaturated fat.

In terms of nutrition, duck has more iron than any other poultry. As for protein, the protein in duck is similar to that of dark-meat chicken. 

Is Duck Good For Dogs?

Duck is a fantastic type of meat for dogs. Not only is it tasty and easy to digest, it also has plenty of nutritional benefits that are so important in keeping your pet at optimal health. 

Duck is also an excellent choice as an alternative source of protein for dogs who are food sensitive. If your dog is fortunate enough to not have any allergies, you can add duck to your pet’s diet to keep meal times exciting. 

Nutritional Benefits

Duck meat is full of nutritional benefits that are needed by your pet. Here are several reasons to include duck in your pet’s diet.

High in Protein

Duck is an amazing source of protein. It is full of amino acids that will help your pet to build and maintain muscle strength. The amino acids also play a role in maintaining healthy immune systems, thus keep your dog from getting sick.  

Low in Saturated Fat

Foods with high saturated fat content are often unhealthy for your pet. Duck seems to have gained a reputation of being ‘fatty’ perhaps due to the visible fat between its skin and meat. 

However, the overall fat content of duck is quite low, and this is even more so if it is cooked and consumed without its skin and visible fat. If cooked in the same way, skinless duck breast has less fat than chicken breast. 

In fact, for a 3 ounce portion, skinless duck breast has only 2 grams of total fat, with 0.5 grams being saturated fat. This is significantly less than 3 ounces of skinless chicken breast which has a 3 grams of total fat, with 1 gram being saturated fat.  

Hence, the majority of fat found in duck is actually unsaturated fat that contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids are important in your dog’s diet. 

Benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids are:

  • supports brain development
  • helps support your dog’s immune system, heart and kidneys
  • helps in reducing inflammation in dogs 
  • fights against cancer

Benefits of Omega 6 fatty acids are:

  • Enables good bone health 
  • Improves muscular tissue and skeletal repair of your pets
  • Regulates your dog’s metabolism
  • Helps promote healthy skin and coat

Rich Source of Vitamin B

Duck is also an excellent source of B Vitamins. It has Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin).

The benefits of Vitamin B for your pets include:

  • Thiamine and Cyanocobalamin -  needed for healthy cell growth as well as nervous system support. 
  • Niacin - controls glucose levels and helps in converting the protein, fats and carbohydrates into energy used by your furry friend. 
  • Riboflavin - needed for healthy skin and coat .
  • Pyridoxine - needed for good cardiovascular health as well as in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
  • B Vitamins will also protect your dog from cancer. 

Rich in Iron

This easy to digest meat is incredibly rich in iron. 

Iron, together with copper and protein is key in blood production. The hemoglobin produced will in turn carry oxygen in your dog’s blood from its lungs to its organs and tissues. Lack of iron can cause your pet to suffer from iron deficiency anemia

Rich in Antioxidants

Duck contains selenium which is a mineral that is very important for canines. Selenium is known to have antioxidant properties and protects cells from oxidative cell damage. Selenium is also needed to support the immune system and the thyroid gland. 

Lack of selenium can result in serious health issues in your pet including thyroid disease and cancer. 

Rich in trace minerals

Another reason why you should go for duck is because it is an excellent source of trace minerals. Here are some minerals that your dog will get when you give them duck

Zinc

Zinc is needed for brain development as well as skeletal development. It is also important in keeping your pet’s vision healthy.

Copper

Copper helps with your pet’s iron absorption as well as the formation of bones and connective tissues.

Phosphorus 

Phosphorus is needed for strong bones and teeth.

Magnesium

Magnesium also plays a role in bone growth, in addition to protein production. 

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral that supports your dog’s nervous system. It is also key in enabling enzymes, nerves as well as your dog’s muscles to function properly. 

Alternative source of protein for dogs with allergies

You can consider duck if your dog is allergic to chicken or beef. Your furry pal may have a food allergy if there is continuous itching on the whole body and/or itching that is concentrated on the ears and feet. 

Other symptoms of food allergies include chronic skin and ear infections, vomiting, gassiness as well as diarrhea. 

Dogs with food allergies are usually sensitive to proteins. According to PetMD, Animal as well as plant proteins become allergens when your dog’s immune system sees it as a potential threat. 

Common sources of animal protein that dogs are allergic to include beef and chicken. 

As such, duck can be a novel, hypoallergenic source of protein  especially if you haven’t given it to your dog before. 

However, it is wise to put your dog on an elimination diet of duck proteins to make sure that it is not also allergic to duck. 

Also, make sure that the duck that you will be giving your dog is high quality and from a trustworthy, uncontaminated source. After all, it would be a waste, if you were to give your dog duck that is combined with other protein sources that your pet was initially allergic to. 

A Cooling Food 

Duck is considered a ‘Yin’ food in Chinese medicine. From the Yin and Yang of traditional Chinese medicine, ‘Yin’ refers to cooling, calming, quiet, and passive behavior. On the other hand, ‘Yang’ is represented by inflammation, heatiness, and aggressive behavior. 

Because of this, duck is recommended by holistic veterinarians to keep inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, cancer and allergies at bay. 

Provides variety for your dog’s diet

Having some variety in your dog’s diet is not only exciting (imagine having kibble all day,  everyday!) but will also help in providing better nutrition for your dog. 

Just as humans need a variety of food to keep healthy, our pets also need variety for a nutritionally balanced diet. By adding duck to your dog’s diet, you are making sure that your pet has adequate fatty acids, B Vitamins as well as the many trace minerals mentioned above. 

If your dog is a picky eater, having variety in its diet is a good trick to ensure that it is getting all the needed nutrition.  

Choosing Good Duck Dog Food

Duck dog food is a great choice for your canine but you do have to be careful of what you purchase. Here are some tips to choosing good duck dog food: 

Make sure ingredients identify the species used to create the dog food. Some companies combine duck and chicken protein and this can be harmful if you are going for duck because your dog has allergies. 

Read the ingredients to be certain that only duck is used. For example, Petcubes’ Raw Duck is 70% duck, combined with 25% vegetables, and 5% supplements and fruits. 

Besides this, you can make sure your pet gets the best by filtering potentially harmful or problematic dog food. 

Choose food that is produced in countries with high safety standards, such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Petcubes’ gently cooked duck uses hormone free duck meat to make sure that your canine friend receives the best nutrition. 

Last but not least, choose a duck meal that does not contain artificial flavors or additives. These are only only unnecessary, but also potentially harmful as they can cause allergies and other health problems. Don’t worry! Your dog will enjoy duck as it is as it is already very tasty.

Raw Duck for Dogs

Raw duck can be part of your dog’s diet, especially if you are feeding your pet raw food. Not only is it packed with nutrients, it is also flavourful on its own and easy to digest. Duck Necks especially, are packed full of amino acids and trace minerals. It’s the perfect treat as raw duck necks are soft and pliable and easily crushed.

If raw duck is part of your dog’s diet, do make sure that you purchase it from a trustworthy source. Duck living in areas with environmental pollution may potentially have high mercury contamination issues that will be harmful to your dog if consumed. 

Conclusion

Duck is good for your dog as it not only has an abundance of nutritional benefits and adds variety to your dog’s diet, but is also an alternative source of protein if your dog has food allergies. Try duck in your dog’s diet, but introduce duck to your dog slowly to make sure that your pet does not experience any stomach upset. Also, always consult your vet if your dog shows continued signs of food sensitivity.

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