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Since so many dogs love chicken, it might seem silly to search for dog foods without it. Yet, when it comes to dog nutrition, one size does not fit all. While chicken is a favorite flavor for many dogs, others could dislike it or even be allergic to it. Finding dog foods without chicken can be tricky since the meat is so commonly used in pet products, but there are plenty of dog food brands that keep sensitive pups in mind

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best chicken-free dog food options. Hopefully, it will help you find a formula that’s both tasty and safe for your furry friend.

What To Consider When Purchasing Dog Food Without Chicken

When purchasing dog food without chicken, there are several things to keep in mind:

Quality of Ingredients: Look for dog food that’s made with high-quality, natural ingredients. Ideally, the primary ingredient should be a high-quality source of protein such as beef, fish, lamb, or turkey.
Complete and Balanced: The dog food should be complete and balanced, meaning it contains all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your dog needs for their overall health and well-being. This can usually be confirmed if the packaging states that the product meets AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines.
Allergies or Sensitivities: If your dog is allergic to chicken, they may have other allergies too. If that’s the case, look at the ingredient list closely and consider a limited ingredient formula.
Digestibility: Choose foods that are easy to digest. Ingredients like whole grains and sweet potatoes are usually a good bet. Avoid foods with a lot of fillers and artificial additives as these can lead to digestive issues.
Age, Size, and Activity Level: Lastly, consider your dog’s age, size, and activity level. Puppies, adult dogs, seniors, large breeds, and small breeds all have different nutritional requirements, and there are dog foods tailored to each of these groups.

As always, it’s a good idea to consult with your vet before making significant changes to your dog’s diet.

Related: Top 13 Dog Food Brands Without Recalls

Best Dog Foods Without Chicken

Fresh dog food shipped to your doorPersonalized meal plans to fit your dog’s needsBeef, lamb, turkey, and pork recipes are all free from chickenIncludes 100% human-grade ingredients that you can see

Ollie is a fresh dog food brand that makes its meals out of human-grade ingredients that you can see in the food. The meal plans are personalized to fit your dog’s needs, so if your dog is allergic to or sensitive to chicken, you can choose one of the recipes that are chicken-free, such as the beef, pork, turkey, or lamb options. The meals are shipped right to your door with feeding instructions, making it easy to portion your dog’s food without having to run to the store to buy more.

Dehydrated dog food (just add water to serve)Made with whole, human-grade ingredientsSeveral recipes don’t have chicken, such as the beef formulaAvoids artificial preservatives, fillers, and by-products

The Honest Kitchen’s dehydrated dog food is easy to serve; all you have to do is add water, stir, and give it to your dog. Then, you’ll have a flavorful meal with only human-grade ingredients. There are several formulas that avoid chicken, and the most popular is the Whole Grain Beef Recipe. This vet-recommended food avoids artificial items, such as fillers, preservatives, and by-products to ensure that it’s safe for sensitive pups and picky eaters.

Freeze-dried patties can be rehydrated with waterMade with 95% beef, organs, and bonesBeneficial for the skin and coatOther chicken-free recipes available, such as lamb

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw Dinner Patties are a grain-free dog food that offers a protein-rich and delicious taste that dogs love. Made with 95% beef, organs, and bone, including beef tripe, this recipe provides a wholesome and natural diet for dogs. It supports whole body health with added vitamins and minerals, promoting healthy digestion, strong teeth and gums, vibrant skin and coat, and overall vitality. With organic fruits and vegetables, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants, this dog food is a nutritious choice for your furry friend.

High-protein dry dog foodReal fish as the first ingredientBenefits the skin, coat, and digestive systemAvoids common allergens, including chicken

This “I and Love and You” recipe is made specifically with sensitive dogs in mind. It avoids common allergens such as chicken and grains, using fish as the primary protein instead. This recipe has 34% protein, which is high in protein compared to other popular kibble brands. Thus, it can help your furry friend maintain strong, lean muscle mass. It’s packed with superfoods like flaxseeds, coconut oil, pumpkin, and turmeric, making it great for your dog’s skin, coat, and digestion.

Freeze-dried nuggets free from common allergensJust add water to serveBenefits weight, digestion, skin, coat, and eyesOther chicken-free options, such as lamb and beef

The Primal Freeze Dried Dog Food Nuggets provide a complete and balanced raw food diet for adult dogs. Made with cage-free duck that’s raised without antibiotics or added hormones, this product also includes USDA-certified organic fruits and vegetables. If your dog doesn’t like duck, there are other chicken-free options such as beef and pork. With no corn, wheat, soy, lentils, or legumes, this freeze-dried dog food is shelf-stable and easy to prepare by simply rehydrating with water, bone broth, or raw goat milk. It’s great for high digestibility and maximum nutrient absorption, promoting a healthy weight, reduced stool volume, healthy skin and coat, oral health, and clear eyes.

Made of 85% animal ingredientsFirst five ingredients come from beef, wild boar, lamb, and porkAvoids common allergens like chicken and grainsPacked with protein, vitamins, and minerals

ORIJEN Regional Red Dry Dog Food is a grain-free and poultry-free dog food that’s high in protein and made with fresh and raw animal ingredients. It includes a variety of meats such as beef, wild boar, lamb, pork, and mackerel. With 85% quality animal ingredients, this dog food meets the natural and biological needs of dogs. The ingredients are sourced from trusted suppliers and delivered fresh or raw to ensure maximum nutrition.

Limited ingredient food avoids common allergens like chicken and grainsSmall kibble pieces are easy to chewPacked with probiotics to support gut healthHas many chicken-free products, including lamb and duck

Zignature Trout & Salmon Limited Ingredient Formula is for dogs of all ages and breeds, but the kibble pieces are the perfect size for small dogs. The food is made with high-quality fish protein as the main ingredient, providing omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. All Zignature recipes are limited ingredient formulas, made specifically for dogs with allergies and sensitivities. So, if your dog doesn’t like fish, there are other flavors to choose from, such as lamb or duck. Additionally, the product is fortified with probiotics to support gut health.

Limited ingredient formula to cater to dogs with allergiesSeveral chicken-free recipes available, including venison, duck, and bisonSupports muscles, digestion, and heart healthFree from wheat and soy

The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is high-quality kibble made with venison as the single animal protein source. It also includes sweet potatoes as a grain-free source of fiber for digestive health. However, there are other chicken-free flavors too, such as bison with sweet potatoes. This line of food is free from grain, soy, gluten, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. Natural Balance ensures safety and transparency through their “Feed with Confidence” program, which tests every batch of food for quality.

Real fish as the first ingredientHigh-protein kibbleBenefits bones, joints, and lean, strong musclesPacked with superfoods to help with skin, coat, and digestion

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food with Smoke-Flavored Salmon is a high-protein dog food that’s made with real fish as the main ingredient. It’s nutrient-rich and provides energy for dogs to thrive. The food also includes proprietary probiotics, antioxidants, and prebiotics to support healthy digestion, immune system, and overall wellness. It’s a family-owned product made in the USA using ingredients from trusted sources.

First three ingredients are real fishFreeze-dried coating to enhance flavorMade of 70% animal ingredients and 30% vegetables, fruits, and nutrientsBeneficial for digestion
ACANA Highest Protein Wild Atlantic Grain Free Dry Dog Food is a kibble product that’s crafted with fresh and raw ingredients to match the natural diets and physiology of dogs. The product is made in the USA and formulated in a state-of-the-art kitchen using ingredients from trusted sources. It’s grain-free and high in protein, providing key nutrients with animal ingredients, vegetables, fruits, and botanicals. The dog food is suitable for all life stages and does not contain artificial colors or preservatives.

Nutrition Tips for a Dog Who is Allergic to Chicken

If your dog is allergic to chicken, there are several nutritional strategies you can use to ensure they’re still receiving a balanced diet:

Identify Alternative Protein Sources: Your dog still needs high-quality protein in their diet. Excellent alternatives to chicken include turkey, fish, lamb, beef, or more exotic proteins such as bison or kangaroo. Some dog foods also use plant-based proteins like peas or lentils.
Single Protein Foods: Consider feeding your dog a diet that includes a single-source protein. This makes it easier to identify any other potential allergens and monitor your dog’s reaction to the new protein source.
Hypoallergenic Dog Foods: Hypoallergenic dog foods are designed for dogs with allergies. They typically contain hydrolyzed proteins, where the protein is broken down into smaller components that the dog’s immune system is less likely to react to.
Balanced Diet: Besides proteins, ensure your dog is receiving the necessary carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Ingredients such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, and vegetables can provide these essential nutrients.
Consult Your Vet: Always work with your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist when changing your dog’s diet, especially if it’s due to allergies. They can provide guidance on appropriate dog foods and also monitor your dog’s progress and health.
Trial and Error: Finding the right food for a dog with allergies often involves some trial and error. Monitor your dog’s response to the new diet and be prepared to make changes if necessary.

Remember, while managing a chicken allergy can be challenging, with careful planning, you can ensure your dog still enjoys a varied, nutritionally complete diet.

Related: Nom Nom vs Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food Comparison

Frequently Asked Questions About Chicken-Free Dog Foods

What are some common alternatives to chicken in dog food?

There are many alternatives to chicken in dog food, including turkey, fish, beef, lamb, venison, and even exotic meats like bison or kangaroo. Plant-based proteins like peas or lentils can also be used.

Is chicken-free dog food nutritionally adequate?

Absolutely! Chicken-free dog food can be just as nutritious as any other type of dog food. It’s crucial to ensure the food you choose has a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals to meet your dog’s dietary needs.

Why might my dog need chicken-free dog food?

The primary reason a dog might need chicken-free dog food is if they have a chicken allergy. This can cause itchy skin, digestive issues, and other health problems. Chicken is a common allergen for dogs. However, some dogs just don’t like the flavor of chicken.

How do I transition my dog to a chicken-free diet?

If your dog isn’t allergic to chicken, transition your dog gradually over a week or so. Start by mixing a small amount of the chicken-free food with their regular food, and slowly increase the proportion of the new food while decreasing the old food. However, if they have a chicken allergy, talk to your vet about the safest way to switch their food.

Can chicken-free dog food help with my dog’s skin issues?

If your dog’s skin issues are caused by a chicken allergy, then switching to a chicken-free diet may help alleviate these symptoms. However, the food needs beneficial ingredients like omega fatty acids to help the skin and coat the most. It’s always best to consult with a vet to identify the root cause of any health issues.

Are there grain-free, chicken-free dog foods available?

Yes, many brands offer grain-free and chicken-free options. Always check the ingredients list to ensure the food meets your dog’s dietary needs.

Can puppies eat chicken-free dog food?

Puppies can eat chicken-free food, but it’s best if it’s formulated for puppies. Puppy food has specific nutrients in the correct ratios for healthy growth and development.

How can I tell if my dog is allergic to chicken?

Signs of a food allergy can include chronic ear infections, diarrhea, gas, itching, and paw biting. If you suspect your dog has a chicken allergy, consult your vet. They may suggest an elimination diet to confirm the allergy.

Are there vegetarian or vegan chicken-free dog foods?

Yes, there are vegetarian and vegan dog foods that don’t include chicken or any other animal proteins. However, it’s important to consult with a vet or a pet nutritionist to ensure these diets meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs.

Can a dog develop a chicken allergy later in life?

Yes, dogs can develop food allergies at any age. If your dog starts showing symptoms of a food allergy and chicken is a regular part of their diet, it could be the culprit. Always consult a vet if you suspect a food allergy.

Conclusion: Best Dog Foods Without Chicken

Providing your dog with the right nutrition catered to their unique needs can dramatically enhance their quality of life. Yet, it’s best to discuss with your vet before making any big dietary changes and consider their advice on portion sizes and the transition process. With patience and careful selection, your dog can thrive on a chicken-free diet, leading to improved health and vitality. As always, prioritize quality ingredients and trusted brands when choosing the best chicken-free dog food for your furry friend.

iHeartDogs is reader supported. Some of the links below may be paid affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on a product at no additional cost to you. 

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