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There’s a reason a high percentage of dog foods are made with chicken. It’s a lean source of animal protein, loaded with healthy nutrients, and relatively inexpensive.
The problem is that chicken is one of the most common food allergens for dogs. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should start throwing away everything in your pantry that contains chicken, but if your dog has been showing signs of food allergies or sensitivities, it may be worth looking into.
We’ve compiled a list of the best dog foods without chicken but, before we get into it, let’s talk a little bit about healthy alternatives.
Should You Stop Feeding Your Dog Chicken?
Unless your dog is sensitive or allergic to chicken, there’s no nutritional reason to cut this ingredient out of his diet. Chicken breast contains about 100 calories per 3-ounce serving with 19 grams of protein and just 2 grams of fat. It’s also rich in selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.
If your dog starts to exhibit signs of an allergy to chicken, that’s another story. In dogs, food allergy symptoms are more likely to affect the skin than the digestive system which can make them tricky to diagnose. Dry skin, excessive itching and scratching, hot spots, and recurrent ear infections are all possible signs of a food allergy and should be examined by your veterinarian.
Confirmation of a food allergy may require a food trial, or you might simply try switching your dog to a recipe that contains a protein other than chicken.
What Are the Alternatives?
Protein is the foundation of a healthy diet for dogs, so you’ll need to find a safe and healthy alternative if your dog can’t tolerate chicken. Unfortunately, chicken is not the only protein known to trigger allergic reactions in dogs—others include beef, eggs, lamb, pork, rabbit, and fish.
Unless your dog is displaying signs of an allergy to one of these ingredients, however, you should be able to safely make the switch. To further reduce the risk for triggering an allergy, choose a novel protein—one your dog hasn’t eaten before.
Here are some of the best protein alternatives to chicken for dogs:
As long as the product you choose features a high-quality source of animal protein that your dog can tolerate, you’re off to a good start. You also need to keep your dog’s other nutritional requirements in mind and choose a recipe made with wholesome, natural ingredients.
Keep reading to see our top picks for the best dog food without chicken.
The 12 Best Dog Foods Without Chicken
The best dog food without chicken is one made with plenty of animal-based protein your dog is able to tolerate as well as digestible carbohydrates, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. As long as your dog’s basic nutritional needs are met, the choice is up to you.
Here are our top 12 picks for the best dog food without chicken:
This high-protein kibble coated in freeze-dried raw rabbit makes for a nutritious and delicious diet free from chicken as well as grains and artificial additives.Buy Now on Amazon for $59.99
These freeze-dried patties provide the nutritional benefits of raw food with the convenience of dry food, all in one protein-rich, grain-free formula.Buy Now on Chewy for $49.99
Made with 85% meat and fish ingredients, this dry food formula features regional red meats including angus beef, wild boar, plains bison, Romney lamb, and Yorkshire pork.Buy Now on Amazon for $65.99
Brought to you by Chewy’s house brand, this limited ingredient recipe features fresh venison as a single source of novel animal protein.Buy Now on Chewy for $59.99
Featuring an assortment of premium poultry-free proteins, this grain-free recipe is packed with natural fish flavor from both fresh and smoked salmon.Buy Now on Amazon for $48.99
Available in both dry food and canned food form, this recipe features 100% single-sourced, free-range lamb free from antibiotics and growth hormones.Buy Now on Amazon for $68.04
Made only with love and high-quality ingredients, this grain-free dry food features whitefish and menhaden fish meal to deliver a hefty dose of protein and omega fatty acids.Buy Now on Amazon for $29.99
One of the only brands to use kangaroo as a protein source, Zignature utilizes only the highest quality natural ingredients in their protein-rich, limited ingredient formulas.Buy Now on Chewy for $77.99
This biologically appropriate diet is regionally inspired, featuring 70% wild-caught Atlantic fish from six different species as well as fresh, local fruits and vegetables.Buy Now on Amazon for $37.29
Dehydrated instead of cooked to preserve nutritional integrity, this whole-grain formula features cage-free turkey as a lean source of premium animal protein.Buy Now on Amazon for $64.67
Not only does this recipe feature seven regionally sourced red meat species, but the kibbles are covered in a freeze-dried raw coating for maximum meat flavor.Buy Now on Amazon for $22.99
Featuring deboned beef as the main ingredient, this canned food recipe is loaded with 96% red meat for maximum flavor and optimal nutrition your dog won’t be able to resist.Buy Now on Chewy for $37.69
Food allergies take time to develop and the symptoms may not be immediately recognizable. If you’re concerned that your dog may be allergic to chicken or another ingredient in his food, check out our review of the 7 most common food allergens for dogs HERE.