Here is my detailed guide to the best chicken free dog food in 2021.
Every dog loves chicken. In addition, almost every brand of dog food has a chicken flavor on offer.
But sometimes, our four-legged friends have to switch from this popular meat for some reason.
I spent long hours looking for the best alternatives for you. My favorite has become the Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet, an excellent grain-free recipe that even dogs with sensitive stomachs can consume.
You can also find out from my article what reasons your dog may need to switch from chicken.
Let’s start with the reviews!
What are the best Chicken Free dog foods?
- Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Lamb
- American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
- Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice
- Ziwi Peak Lamb Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food
- Zignature Duck Limited Ingredient Formula
- Wellness CORE Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe
- The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe
- ACANA Red Meat Formula
- Farmina N&D Ocean Codfish & Orange Ancestral Grain
10 best chicken free dog foods
A lot of brands have chicken-free formulas. However, it is not enough to pick one at random. Strive to give your dog the best.
I wanted to make your job a little easier, so I collected 10 excellent chicken-free products. One by one, they meet the AAFCO nutritional guidelines for dogs. Also, they contain natural and healthy ingredients so you can lay the foundation for your dog’s health.
Instinct dog food is one of Nature’s Variety’s product lines. This company is rightly famous for the fact that its products contain only natural ingredients. They believe that diet plays a key role in achieving health.
Instinct offers grain-inclusive, grain-free, dry, wet products, and there are many alternatives to chicken.
It is a limited ingredient product, which means it is low in protein and carbohydrate sources. This is beneficial for any adult dog, but especially for those with sensitive stomachs.
The primary protein sources are Lamb Meal and Lamb. Lamb is a very well-digested lean meat that many experts recommend as an alternative to chicken. The protein content is supplemented by pea protein to 24%.
The recipe includes carbohydrates like Tapioca and Peas. Both are gluten and grain-free, which is also beneficial for dogs with allergies or intolerances.
Canola Oil and Coconut Oil are excellent fat sources that contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids necessary for health.
The added minerals and vitamins help the immune system to function properly. And that’s not all. This food is in kibble form, but the freeze-dried coat will make its taste and texture irresistible.
It is also important to mention that the recipe does not contain any harmful or questionable ingredients. That is, it does not contain wheat, corn, soy, or artificial ingredients.
If you are looking for a safe, delicious, and healthy chicken-free formula for your dog, be sure to consider it.
I like the American Journey brand. Although it is a relatively new company, it seems absolute that the manufacturer makes sure to support the dogs’ health with every recipe.
It is also a limited-ingredient grain-free product with Salmon and Salmon Meal as its primary ingredient and main protein source. It is an animal protein source that very rarely causes digestive problems in dogs.
Also, it contains plenty of useful nutrients such as omega fatty acids. These fatty acids are essential in a dog’s diet because they support skin, coat, and brain health. Salmon Meal is a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin that has a good effect on the joints.
Peas, Pea Starch, Sweet Potatoes are digestible complex carbohydrates that make this formula ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Canola Oil and Sunflower Oil add extra fatty acids and energy to your dog’s diet.
The product contains a lot of added minerals. Calcium and phosphorus support the health of teeth and bones.
But in addition to all this, there are many other vitamins and other micronutrients among the ingredients. This will make your diet complete, healthy, and balanced.
The 6% fiber content guarantees healthy digestion. Plus, you won’t find any harmful fillers or artificial chemicals among the ingredients. Highly recommended product!
The primary goal of Taste of the Wild is to create the most suitable diet for dogs. Only natural ingredients are used in the production. Their products do not contain fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, flavor enhancers, and other chemicals.
Besides, most Taste of the Wild recipes includes little or no chicken. Therefore, this is the brand you should look for if you want a chicken-free diet for your dog.
The primary sources of protein in this grain-free dog food are Salmon and Ocean Fish Meal. In addition to these, it also contains other fish ingredients like Salmon Meal and Smoked Salmon.
These are excellent sources of protein that provide all the amino acids your dog needs. Also, they are easily digestible and contain a lot of omega fatty acids. Your dog’s skin and coat will be perfectly healthy thanks to this.
Grain-free carbohydrates such as Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas, and Lentils are also easily digestible. Also, they contain a lot of fiber and other nutrients.
The product also has an added fat source in the form of Canola Oil. This helps to balance the fatty acid ratio.
The benefits of the product are not over here. The added probiotics, vegetables, fruits, vitamins, and minerals all serve to maximize the dogs’ immune system.
This recipe is made for adult dogs but is also available in a version for puppies. If desired, it is also available in other flavors such as venison, bison, lamb, and wild boar.
These are all chicken-free sources of protein that taste extraordinary and make your dog’s life more comfortable in the event of a chicken allergy.
Purina is one of the world’s leading brands in the pet food industry. This is largely due to the high-quality recipes, especially when it comes to the Pro Plan line.
This product has been specifically developed for dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs. This way, we can be sure that the ingredients are carefully selected and digestible to the maximum. Let’s look at these too.
The first ingredient and at the same time the primary source of protein is Salmon. This meat has been mentioned several times in my article. It is a perfect source of amino acids, plus plenty of omega fatty acids that positively affect the skin, coat, brain, and various inflammations.
Barley, Rice, and Oat are grains that are complex, low glycemic, and provide a lot of digestive fiber to your diet. Together, Beef Fat, Sunflower Oil, and Salmon give the product a perfect omega fatty acid profile. Plus, these fats make this food very tasty.
The added vitamins and minerals help keep your dog’s immune system working at maximum efficiency. Calcium and phosphorus strengthen bones and teeth, but other micronutrients also have many benefits in this diet.
I usually recommend dog foods that are made in the US. However, Ziwi Peak is an exception to this. This New Zealand company is one of my favorites when it comes to quality. And soon, you can see why.
Ziwi Peak makes sure that all ingredients retain their nutrient content when processing dog food. This is achieved, among other things, by the air-drying method with which they make kibbles.
When you see the ingredients, you immediately realize what I meant by quality.
The recipe consists of 96% real meat, organs, and bones. I guess I don’t have to say how much nutrient this means. Your dog is provided with all the ancient diet that wolves also have today.
Meats provide essential amino acids, organs, and bones provide vitamins and minerals.
Ziwi also uses a special ingredient that I haven’t seen in any other brand: New Zealand Green Mussel. It is an excellent source of glucosamine and also contains other useful nutrients. This will support not only your dog’s immune system but also the health of his joints.
The added minerals and vitamins make the diet even healthier and more balanced.
Due to the very high meat content, this product does not fall into the affordable category. However, if you want to buy such professional quality dog food, Ziwi Peak is for you and your dog.
If a product has a limited ingredient, it is a guarantee that it will be digestible and cause fewer allergies or intolerances.
This Zignature product contains duck as a source of protein. It is a novel protein that experts often recommend for dogs who are allergic to specific proteins.
Besides, duck meat is a natural source of omega fatty acids and minerals such as iron, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. So this meat contributes to the health of the skin, coat, bones, teeth, and immune system.
It is also low in sodium, meaning dogs on a low-sodium diet can consume it with confidence.
The main carbs in the recipe are Chickpeas and Peas. They contain a lot of fiber, which makes digestion even more efficient.
Sunflower Oil and Flaxseed are energy-rich ingredients and make the recipe’s omega fatty acid profile even more balanced.
The added vitamins and minerals ensure the proper development and functioning of your dog’s immune system.
If you want to try a unique protein source like duck meat, be sure to consider this product by all means!
This recipe from Wellness will also benefit dogs who love fish. The primary protein sources are Whitefish, Herring Meal, Salmon Meal, and Menhaden Fish Meal. They are great for building and maintaining lean muscle mass and also contain other beneficial nutrients.
Fish meals are concentrated sources of protein and include glucosamine and chondroitin, which affect the joints.
Also, the omega fatty acid content of fish contributes to dogs’ skin and coat’s health.
The recipe is grain-free and includes carbohydrate sources like Peas and Lentils. Because of the fibers, they have an excellent effect on digestion.
The added fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals ensure that your dog’s immune system works perfectly.
Not to mention probiotics, which also promote digestive efficiency. Be sure to consider this highly recommended product.
Honest Kitchen is a brand that makes dehydrated foods. This allows the ingredients to preserve the nutrients fully.
Serving is effortless. Just add water to the product, and your dog can already consume it. If you’re looking for dog food made from chicken-free poultry, this turkey-containing recipe is sure to be the right choice.
The number of ingredients is not much, which is favorable for dogs with sensitive stomachs. The protein content is 22% of what a real turkey gives. It is an easily digestible source of protein that provides the necessary amino acids while also being delicious.
Organic Oats and Dehydrated Potatoes provide carbohydrates. Their fiber content supports digestion, but they also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. As well as fruits and vegetables such as Carrots, Cabbage, and Apples.
The recipe even contains Organic Kelp, which is an excellent source of iodine. Iodine is essential for the thyroid gland’s proper functioning, so it is always positive for me if a brand pays attention to it.
Apart from Turkey, Flaxseed is the other primary source of fat. This seed contains a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to the health of the skin and coat of dogs and have an anti-inflammatory effect.
And the added chelated minerals and vitamins ensure that your dog’s overall health is well-founded.
If you want a natural, organic, and extremely healthy chicken-free product for your dog, be sure to consider this recipe of The Honest Kitchen.
When it comes to quality, personally, Acana is a brand that will surely come to mind.
The company’s products contain only natural ingredients with 60% animal ingredients. The other 40% are healthy vegetables and fruits whose vitamin and mineral content guarantees that your dog will get not only a tasty but also a healthy recipe.
Deboned Beef, Deboned Pork, Beef Meal, and Pork Meal are the primary protein sources. These are delicious red meats that contain all the essential amino acids for dogs.
Peas, beans, and lentils provide carbohydrates. These are very nutritious plants that also have a lot of fiber, thus supporting proper digestion.
Of course, that’s not all. Ingredients include valuable fruits and vegetables such as Pumpkin, Collard Greens, Whole Carrots, Whole Apples, and Juniper Berries. And the added probiotics support the intestinal system of our dogs.
In addition to all these benefits, the product is very delicate and, in addition to its quality, belongs to the relatively affordable category.
Farmina is an Italian company. Its products are available in many countries around the world, including the United States. In short, if you’re looking for an all-natural, GMO-free, and high-quality recipe for your dog, be sure to check out Farmina’s offerings.
This dog food contains fish, but other products from the brand include lamb and boar recipes. The bottom line is that if your pooch is sensitive to chicken, you’re sure to find the right one among Farmina products.
The protein source of the currently reviewed recipe is Cod. It is a high quality well digestible meat that is high in omega fatty acids. Even Herring Oil contributes to the omega fatty acid content, so you can be sure that your dog’s skin and coat will be healthy.
60% of the product is made up of animal ingredients. The remaining 40% comes from plant sources such as Whole Spelled, Whole Oats, and various vegetables and fruits.
It can be seen that this recipe is absolutely beneficial for the immune system and overall health.
Reasons to switch to chicken-free dog food
The header can be a little misleading at first. Chicken is a great source of protein, well digestible, lean, and rich in nutrients. It contains a lot of selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. Plus, most dogs really like the taste.
However, there are reasons why you should consider switching. Let’s see what they are:
If your dog eats the same food for an extended period of time, nutrient deficiencies can develop. This can also happen if you have bought the best possible dog food.
If not the brand, you may want to change the flavor of the product at specific intervals. If your pooch has been eating a chicken product from a particular brand for a long time, it’s time to try the beef version, for example.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the transition should be gradual.
Dogs generally love consistency very much, and their bodies also prefer an unchanged diet. However, just like humans, dogs can get bored of certain flavors after a while. If you want to prevent or solve this, you sometimes have to buy food in new flavors for your puppy.
Allergies or intolerances
Of course, these are the problems that are most serious and that require immediate action and solution. Dogs may also have sensitivities and allergies to certain foods. The most common trigger foods are gluten-containing grains, corn, soy, and dairy products.
However, a dog may be sensitive to some source of protein. Chicken can also be such allergenic meat. In such a case, some alternative must be sought urgently.
What are the symptoms of a chicken allergy, and what should you do?
In dogs, symptoms of a food allergy may include:
- Dry skin, itching, scratching, chewing
- Hot spots, redness
- Vomiting, diarrhea
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog, consult your veterinarian immediately. Together, it will be easier for you to determine if the source of the problem is diet.
If it turns out that your dog is allergic or sensitive to chicken, it’s time to try a chicken-free diet. This means zero tolerance, so your puppy’s food or treat should not contain a single gram of chicken.
The result is not immediately perceptible; it can take up to weeks for the change to be seen.
Food Intolerance vs Food Allergy
The fundamental difference between the two conditions is that allergy triggers a reaction in dogs’ immune systems, and intolerance triggers their digestive systems. That’s why it’s basically that the two have different symptoms.
Symptoms of allergy are related to skin conditions (itching, redness). Signs of intolerance are more likely to cause digestive problems (vomiting, diarrhea).
For both, the only real solution is to identify the trigger food and remove it from the diet. This is the only way to eliminate symptoms 100% in our dogs.
Great alternatives to chicken in dog food
Protein is one of the most important nutrients for dogs. Proteins provide the amino acids needed for muscle building and maintenance, cell regeneration, and other bodily processes.
Animal sources have the best proteins. These have a high biological value and can be well utilized by dogs. Examples are meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
Dogs need more than 20 types of amino acids. Of these, 10 are essential, meaning dogs cannot produce and must be included in the diet. Animal protein sources meet this need to the maximum.
Let’s see what the best alternatives to chicken are:
Please note that it is not just chicken that can cause sensitivity, intolerance, or allergies in dogs. The sources listed above can also be a problem. In this case, of course, the goal remains to eliminate these ingredients from our dog’s diet.
Things to consider when buying a chicken free dog food
It is not enough if the product you choose does not contain chicken. Dog foods can be different, even within the same brand. The protein source may be right for your pooch in the food, but the other ingredients are not. Below I detail what to look for when buying chicken-free dog food.
Basically, we distinguish three life stages in dogs: puppy, adult, and senior. And the three stages of life require different nutritional conditions.
Puppies need more protein and calories. Their diet determines their development, so they must receive nutrients that support muscle building and proper brain and immune system development. It is easier to notice if a puppy has allergies or intolerances. Therefore, it is easier to start the right special diet.
Adult dogs usually need less protein and calories. Exceptions to this are sporting dogs and working dogs. Many dogs develop allergies or intolerances in adulthood. So you should pay attention to this later.
Senior dogs can be quite picky, making it difficult for them to find the right flavor and protein source. You also need to pay attention to your old dog’s nutrient intake. You need a dog food moderated in calories and contains adequate amounts of fiber, omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
A healthy diet should be balanced. It should contain the right proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
We’ve talked enough about protein in my article. The food must contain animal protein to which your dog is not allergic. If you are looking for chicken-free food, make sure that neither the real meat nor the meat meal or meat by-product contains chicken.
Look for complex and wholesome carbohydrates. Grains are great as long as your dog is not allergic to them. But grain-free formulas are also useful, containing potatoes, sweet potatoes, or legumes, for example.
Animal fats contain many of the essential fatty acids that a dog needs. However, if your dog is allergic to chicken, chicken fat is probably not the right choice either. Fish is good because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids. This fatty acid is great for promoting skin and coat health.
Various fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These micronutrients help the immune system to function properly. Some manufacturers also include these important ingredients in their recipes in an added form.
Ingredients to avoid
Unfortunately, some ingredients can be harmful to the health of dogs. These are usually included in a formula for cost-effectiveness.
Cheap fillers, such as corn-soy and wheat, contain a lot of energy but fewer nutrients. Besides, many dogs are allergic to them.
Sugars and sweeteners are high in calories, leading to obesity in the long run. Besides, a sweetener called xylitol has a toxic effect on dogs.
Meat by-product meal is a good source of glucosamine and chondroitin, beneficial for the joints. However, it is not considered a good quality protein. It is even more important to avoid unnamed meals because they may contain chicken as well.
You should also avoid artificial additives. Various preservatives, flavor enhancers, colorants, and other chemicals do not have a good effect on dogs’ digestive systems. In addition, there are preservatives (e.g., BHA) that are carcinogenic.
Strive to ensure that the product you choose consists exclusively of natural ingredients.
Frequently asked questions about chicken free dog food
What is the best chicken free dog food?
I chose Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Lamb as the best chicken free dog food.
What can I give my dog instead of chicken?
If your dog is allergic to chicken, you may want to try other protein sources right away. These can be any animal meat. Good examples are lamb, turkey, beef, duck, venison, buffalo, and rabbit.
Is chicken meal bad in dog food?
A chicken meal is a dried and ground form of chicken. So it contains real meat and the right amount of protein. It’s a very nutritious ingredient you shouldn’t be afraid of unless your dog is allergic to chicken.
How can you tell if your dog is allergic to chicken?
In dogs, food allergies most often manifest themselves as some skin problem. Typical symptoms are rash, itching, and redness. If you notice these in your dog, examine the ingredients in the food. In case of allergies, the only solution is to eliminate the component in question from the diet.
Are chicken-free dog foods in canned form?
Chicken-free formulas from the most popular brands are also available in wet canned versions.
What are the most common food allergies in dogs?
Various sources of protein and carbohydrates cause food allergies in dogs. The most common allergens are dairy products, chicken, beef, eggs, wheat, soy, and corn. It is important to avoid the ingredients in question immediately in the event of any food allergy.
My final choice
Any food allergy or intolerance requires maximum attention and immediate action. Although chicken allergy is not the most common in dogs, many canines suffer from it.
In my article, I wanted to draw your attention to that it is not enough to choose a chicken-free food simply. The product we choose must be of perfect quality and nutritious. You can feel free to choose the formulas in my article.
My favorite is Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet. This grain-free dog food is a perfect choice even for adult dogs with, particularly sensitive stomachs. Plus, the lamb is adored by almost every canine.
The point is that your pooch can enjoy the flavors while getting all the nutrients it needs.