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Dog bowl of food

The essentials

  • Chicken is a common allergen among canines — Chicken is among the top ten common allergy-inducing ingredients, along with beef, dairy, lamb, pork, and fish.
  • Grain-free and chicken-free aren’t the same — If you notice an allergic reaction and suspect it might be your dog’s food, it’s likely the protein, not the grain.
  • Don’t forget to read the label — While there are plenty of good protein alternatives, make sure you read the label fully when selecting a chicken-free dog food. It might not be the first ingredient, but it could be hiding as a filler.

If your dog is itching, sneezing, or having digestion problems, they may be allergic to something in their food or environment. You’ll want to bring Fido to the vet so they can diagnose and treat your dog’s symptoms.

While true food allergies are less common in dogs than environmental or flea allergies, they do exist in around 10% of dogs. These are our 4 favorite foods for doggies who can’t eat chicken.

The 4 best chicken-free dog foods

How we picked our favorite chicken-free dog foods

  • We partnered with our veterinarian team to double-check ingredientsDog food labels can be tricky. We researched foods to avoid artificial flavors and triple-checked that chicken wasn’t on them.
  • Avoided grain-free foods — Some studies show grain-free dog food diets may cause heart disease in dogs .
  • Looked for foods formulated by a boarded vet nutritionist — Nutritionists ensure the right balance of natural ingredients for a well-balanced diet. Purina Pro Plan, Royal Canin, Science Diet, Iams, and Eukanuba meet this criterion.
  • Checked recent recalls — We avoided foods that have been recently recalled. You can always check the FDA’s list of dog food recalls .

If your dog is itching, sneezing, or having digestion problems, they may be allergic to something in their food or environment. You’ll want to bring Fido to the vet so they can diagnose and treat your dog’s symptoms.

While true food allergies are less common in dogs than environmental or flea allergies, they do exist in around 10% of dogs. These are our four favorite foods for doggies who can’t eat chicken.

Our favorite chicken-free kibble, reviewed

What we love: Before you tell us to buzz off, did you know crickets contain all ten essential amino acids that dogs need? With this dehydrated cricket blend, the Chippin brand has created a travel-safe, planet-friendly pet food option for allergy-prone or finicky eaters. Your pup will enjoy the benefits of all-natural fruits and vegetables, along with essential vitamins for a balanced diet. As a bonus, even the packaging is eco-friendly!

What customers say: Pet parents love this dog food, calling it a “game changer” for their allergy-prone pups. They like choosing food that’s good for their dogs — and the environment. The preparation of this mix means that you can use it as a dog food topper or a meal, but some pet owners have reported that their pups weren’t keen on the texture right away.

Has this product ever been recalled? No

🧪 Ingredients – Cricket, oat flour, rolled oats, dehydrated pumpkin, sorghum flour, ground flaxseed, dehydrated apple, dried kale, dehydrated carrot, dried cranberry, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, brewers yeast, choline chloride, dried sage, kelp meal, rosemary extract, salt, zinc sulfate, vitamin e supplement, ferrous sulfate, selenium yeast, copper sulfate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin b12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, and vitamin d3 supplement.

What we love: Hill’s researches and creates healthy dog foods that deliver the exact nutrition your pup needs. This formula is made with venison, a novel protein that’s a great option for dogs with chicken allergies and/or sensitive stomachs. And when you purchase a Hill’s product, a portion goes toward their Food, Shelter & Love program to help shelter pets in need. Both you and your pup can feel good about switching to this chicken-free diet.

What customers say: Dog owners who have dealt with allergy-ridden dogs say this is some of the best dog food for sensitivities! Most dogs have seen relief from itching and irritation, while others have even been able to come off of their prescription drugs. While the price may be higher than your average over-the-counter dog food, customers give it a 4.6-star rating and say it’s worth it to see their dogs finally feeling better.

Has this product ever been recalled? No

🧪 Ingredients – Potatoes, potato starch, venison, potato protein, soybean oil, coconut oil, powdered cellulose, pork liver flavor, dicalcium phosphate, lactic acid, fish oil, potassium chloride, glyceryl monostearate, calcium carbonate, iodized salt, choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin e supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin c), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin a supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin b12 supplement, folic acid, vitamin d3 supplement), dl-methionine, taurine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), mixed tocopherols for freshness, magnesium oxide, natural flavors, and beta-carotene.

What we love: The Purina factory has high standards for quality control in their factories, so you can have peace of mind when giving your dog this food. They craft their Sensitive Skin & Stomach formula with prebiotic fiber to make it digestible. It’s rich in EPA, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, and vitamin A to promote healthy joints and nourish your dog’s skin and coat.

What customers say: Dogs who had severe skin reactions, whether from food or environmental allergies, have been so much happier and healthier after eating this Purina Pro Plan formula. After trying various other dog foods, skin treatments, and shampoos, owners found this kibble to be the best option for their pups. This kibble has over 18,000+ reviews on Amazon and 4.7 stars, with some customers calling it a “miracle dog food.”

Has this product ever been recalled? No

🧪 Ingredients – Salmon, barley, ground rice, canola meal, oatmeal, fish meal (source of glucosamine), animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, brewers dried yeast, salmon meal (source of glucosamine), natural flavor, sunflower oil, chicory root inulin, salt, fish oil, vitamins [vitamin e supplement, niacin (vitamin b-3), vitamin a supplement, calcium pantothenate (vitamin b-5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b-6), folic acid (vitamin b-9), vitamin b-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin b-1), vitamin d-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement (vitamin b-2), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (vitamin k), biotin (vitamin b-7)], potassium chloride, minerals [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (vitamin c), and choline chloride.

What we love: The Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet is made specifically for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities. Their formulas are also free of ingredients such as gluten, wheat, dairy, and eggs, along with artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Pet parents can have peace of mind when feeding this food to their sensitive furbabies!

What customers say: Customers who have dogs with itchy skin and allergies boast their pups are yeast-free since starting this food. They’ve also noticed their pups have more consistent, less runny poops thanks to the limited ingredients and prebiotics. The only downside noted is the higher price tag, but it seems to be worth it to most.

Has this product ever been recalled? No

🧪 Ingredients – Duck*, oatmeal, peas, ground rice, potato protein, tomato pomace, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), ground flaxseed, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, natural duck flavor, chicory root extract, choline chloride, vitamin e supplement, taurine, mixed tocopherols added to preserve freshness, zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, calcium carbonate, niacin, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, beta-carotene, vitamin a supplement, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, manganese sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, vitamin d3 supplement, biotin, calcium iodate, vitamin b12 supplement, folic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), dried lactobacillus Plantarum fermentation product, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, rosemary extract, green tea extract, and spearmint extract.

👉  *This dog food contains duck. If your dog has a true chicken allergy, other poultry proteins may cause similar reactions. Consult with your veterinarian before giving your pup this food.

Is chicken a common food allergy?

Chicken is one of the top 10 allergy-inducing ingredients found in dog food. Other common allergens include beef, dairy, lamb, egg, pork, and fish. If you suspect your pup is suffering from a food allergy, be sure to consult with your veterinarian before trying to switch their food.

How do vets determine food allergies?

Your vet needs to determine if your dog’s allergies are stemming from food or something else. Blood tests and intradermal testing may help identify seasonal and environmental allergies. The best way to determine a food allergy is through an elimination trial.

In most cases, your dog will eat a prescription diet for 6-8 weeks. During this time, their body will acclimate to the new ingredients, heal from any skin infections, and benefit from inflammatory medications. This is also an ideal time for your vet to decide if the food helped.

👉 Your pup shouldn’t eat other dog food, dog treats (unless hypoallergenic), human food, flavored medications, or fish oils while on an elimination diet. 

If your dog’s allergy symptoms disappear during this food trial, they likely have a food allergy. They’ll likely stay on the prescription diet long-term. In most cases, your vet will reintroduce your pet’s original diet. If you give them chicken and the inflammation flares back up, it can be confirmed that they have a chicken allergy.

Black and brown dog itching

Itchy pup

Should I stop feeding my dog chicken?

If your furry friend is showing signs of a chicken allergy, it may be time to consider other protein options. Simple dietary changes can make a world of difference in their comfort and overall health. However, choosing the right chicken-free dog food requires careful consideration. You want to ensure you’re eliminating the problem ingredient fully but not the helpful nutrients that keep your dog nourished and healthy.

How to choose a chicken-free dog food

When looking for dog food that’s free of chicken, be sure to check the entire label. Many brands will use a source of chicken in the ingredients, even if it’s not the main protein.

For example, Blue Buffalo’s lamb and brown rice diet may claim lamb as the first ingredient, but you can find chicken fat as the 8th ingredient on the list.

Dr. Erica Irish


According to Dr. Irish, “The only exception would be if the diet was hydrolyzed, meaning the protein’s molecular size is so small that the immune system won’t be affected by it.” As always, you can double-check with your vet for suggestions on chicken-free food options.

Remember to avoid grain-free diets

Unless specifically recommended by your vet, a grain-free formula won’t be the solution to your dog’s chicken intolerance. The FDA has recently found evidence that grain-free dog food may increase the risk of heart disease in dogs. Unless your dog is indeed allergic to grains, it’s best not to feed a grain-free recipe.

What proteins are good alternatives for dogs with a chicken allergy?

If you want to feed your dog an alternative protein source, there are a few options:

  • Lamb. Rich in digestible protein and often used as a meal for high-energy and active dogs. High in iron and vitamin B-12.
  • Beef. Well-balanced protein contains essential B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and amino acids. Beef is also an excellent source for heart health.
  • Salmon. Healthy source of protein that has benefits for dogs with sensitive or dry skin. Oils and omega fatty acids nourish and moisturize the skin.

👉 Since these 3 proteins are some of the more common types available in regular diets, be cautious when looking at the labels. Ingredients like “chicken meal” or “chicken fat” are common fillers and may be an issue if a true chicken allergy is present. It’s also important to note that while fish can be a great protein alternative, canned tuna isn’t a great option. It’s high in mercury and salt and may contain harmful bacteria.

  • Rabbit. A less common lean meat protein that’s high in protein and low in fat. Excellent source of vitamin B12 for energy and healthy fats to support joints and skin/coat.
  • Venison. Considered a novel protein. Provides a good protein source while being lower in fat than beef and lamb.
  • Bison. A highly palatable protein with a full range of amino acids. All less fat than other red meat ingredients like beef or lamb.
  • Crickets. Also considered a novel protein, crickets are a great source of highly digestible prebiotic fiber, omegas, and amino acids.

👉 Be wary of duck and turkey, as poultry allergies may also apply to these proteins.

Navigating your dog’s dietary needs can be a challenging journey, but you’re not alone. Remember, chicken is a common allergen for dogs, and it’s essential to recognize the signs if your furry friend is reacting adversely to it. But don’t worry – there are plenty of nutritious, chicken-free options out there, like the four we’ve highlighted in this article. Whether it’s venison, fish, plant- or insect-based proteins, your pup can still enjoy a varied, balanced diet without chicken.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make homemade food for my dog with chicken allergies?

We don’t recommend homemade diets because you run the risk of not feeding your dog a balanced meal. It’s important to work with your vet to select a dog food formula that is well-balanced with essential nutrients and doesn’t irritate your dog’s stomach.

What are the symptoms of chicken allergy in dogs?

Food allergies make up 10% of allergic reactions in dogs, with chicken being in the top ten ingredients to cause them. Chicken allergy symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, itchy skin and paws, ear infections, hot spots, obsessive licking, sneezing, and red eyes.

Are there any potential health benefits to switching my dog to chicken-free dog food?

While chicken is an excellent source of protein for plenty of pups, some alternatives may offer additional health benefits. A unique protein source like crickets, for example, has all ten of the essential amino acids your dog needs for a healthy heart. Lamb, venison, rabbit, pork, and salmon offer high levels of vitamins A, B, and E, plus omega 3 and 6 that can help keep your pup looking and feeling their best.

How do you feed a dog with a chicken allergy?

If your dog is indeed allergic to chicken, chicken-free dog food is the best option. You may try other sources of protein like fish, lamb, or beef, or novel proteins such as bison, venison, or rabbit. Ask your vet about the best protein option for your pup.

What dog breeds are prone to food sensitivities?

“Almost all breeds,” says Dr. Erica Irish, DVM. “Theoretically, food sensitivities can occur due to prior exposure to something in the past. Since chicken, beef, and lamb are the most common proteins in dog foods, these allergies are automatically the most common types. This is why changing protein types early in life can increase the risk of food sensitivity.”