This is our review of the best chicken free dog food in 2021.
Did you know that chicken is the most available healthy protein present in most dog foods? It turns out that it is healthy, inexpensive, and nutritious.
But why choose chicken-free dog food?
Because chicken causes sensitivity and allergic reactions in some pups. If your dog suffers from a chicken allergy, it is critical that you do away with chicken.
After careful research, we found the Wellness Complete Health Adult Whitefish & Sweet Potato Recipe to be the best chicken free dog food overall.
However, this meal may not work for all dog breeds with chicken allergies. For that, I have reviewed other formulas that meet budget, age, size, and more.
Our Best Chicken Free Dog Food
- Wellness Complete Health Adult Whitefish & Sweet Potato Recipe (Best Overall Chicken Free Dog Food)
- Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula (Best Chicken Free Dog Food for Puppies)
- Nulo Freestyle Trout & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food (Best Chicken Free Dog Food for Seniors)
- Zignature Kangaroo Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Chicken Free Dog Food)
- Orijen Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Premium Chicken Free Dog Food)
- Natural Balance LID Duck & Potato Formula (Best Wet Chicken Free Dog Food)
- Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Grain-Free Dry Food (Best Chicken Free Dog Food for Small Breeds)
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat (Best Chicken Free Dog Food for Large Breeds)
- Canidae Pure Goodness Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe (Best Chicken Free Dog Food for Sensitive Dogs)
- Wellness Salmon & Peas Formula Dry Dog Food (Best Chicken Free Dog Food for Weight Control)
10 Best Chicken Free Dog Foods Reviewed
This list features dog foods that meet the stipulated nutrient profile set by the AAFCO. Nevertheless, seek your vet’s approval before you introduce a new diet.
First 5 Ingredients: Whitefish, Ground Barley, Peas, Menhaden Fish Meal, Oatmeal
Key Feature: Chicken-free food for most dogs
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 22%, Crude Fat 12%, Crude Fiber 4.5%, Moisture 10%, Calcium 1.2%, Phosphorous 1%
Caloric Content: 435 kcal/cup or 3,624 kcal/kg
Type of Product: Chicken-Free, No Wheat, No Soy, No Corn
Life Stage: Adult
Best for: All dogs
Instead of using chicken, this formula incorporates whitefish to make your pup’s meal special and nutritious. It is crafted to provide nutritional support for the whole body.
Whitefish is a premium source of protein, and it provides optimal energy. It is also rich in omega fatty acids, which support heart health, promote a healthy coat, reduce inflammation, relieve allergies, and strengthen the immune system.
The recipe includes barley and sweet potatoes. These easily digestible carbohydrates promote digestive health, particularly with sensitive canines.
Moreover, the food is formulated to support immunity. The included blueberries and spinach are antioxidant-rich to promote your pup’s immune system. Meanwhile, probiotics improve digestion and the immune system.
If your dog has arthritis, this chicken-free diet contains glucosamine that stimulates cartilage growth and improves mechanical joint function. Glucosamine slows down the progression of arthritis and alleviates pain.
In addition, the food is filler-free. It does not include corn, wheat, soy, GMOs, meat by-products, or artificial preservatives.
The majority of dog owners love that the food works for dogs with sensitive skin and allergies. They also point out that it has a strong, fishy smell.
First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes
Key Feature: Chicken-free formula for puppies
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 27%, Crude Fat 15%, Crude Fiber 5%, Moisture 10%
Caloric Content: 408 kcal/cup, 3,600 kcal/kg
Type of Product: Chicken-free, Grain-Free
Life Stage: Puppy
Best for: Puppies
This puppy formula features seafood as a healthy protein alternative for chicken-sensitive puppies. Dogs crave meat at a young age, and this recipe uses salmon to satisfy the urge.
The smoked salmon is high in proteins to constitute the diet’s 27% protein. It helps support lean muscles, joints, and bone development.
Salmon is also rich in omega fatty acids, which promote brain development, improve vision, and cognitive function.
Other ingredients in this formula are fruits and superfoods. They are packed with vitamins and minerals to support an improved immune system.
For a healthy digestive system, the food includes the K9 Strain Probiotics and dried chicory root that contains prebiotic fiber. K9 probiotics also support metabolism and hormone function.
Although this formula is designed for puppies, you can also serve it to pregnant or nursing dogs or adult dogs.
First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Potatoes, Flaxseed, Pea Protein
Key Feature: Chicken-free recipe for seniors
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 7%, Crude Fat 6%, Crude Fiber 1.5%, Moisture 78%
Caloric Content: 488 kcal/can, 1,380 kcal/kg
Type of Product: Limited Ingredient Diet, Sensitive Digestion, Chicken-Free, No Corn, No Soy, No Wheat
Life Stage: Senior
Best for: Seniors
Some senior dogs cannot stand eggs or chicken proteins, a reason why they are not part of this meal.
This dry dog food uses real turkey to source its animal protein. The 7% protein content supports lean muscle mass in seniors. The meal is irresistibly tasty and charms finicky canines.
Senior dogs are often prone to mobility problems. For this reason, this grain-free diet is crafted with glucosamine and chondroitin. These vitamins and minerals support healthy joints by maintaining a healthy cartilage structure.
The diet includes easily digestible carbohydrates like potatoes and pumpkin. These keep your pet energized while improving digestion. It is also formulated with omega fatty acids that promote your pup’s skin and coat health.
The food exempts allergy-causing ingredients like chicken, beef, wheat, soy, eggs, and dairy. Due to its limited ingredient diet, this pate is ideal for dogs with food sensitivities. You can serve it as an entrée, a special treat, or mix it in with other food.
First 5 Ingredients: Kangaroo, Kangaroo Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil
Key Feature: Affordable chicken-free recipe
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 28%, Crude Fat 15%, Crude Fiber 4%, Moisture 10%
Caloric Content: 396 kcal/cup
Type of Product: Natural, Limited Ingredient Diet, No Soy, No Corn, No Wheat, Chicken-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free
Life Stage: Puppies, Adult
Best for: Budget
Zignature formulates this dry food with real kangaroo for a wholesome, nutritious diet without straining your finances.
The kangaroo is sourced from Australia and is the primary source of protein.
The meat is leaner compared to red meat and contains higher levels of iron, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and other B vitamins. In addition, it is highly palatable and contains low saturated fat.
The added peas are packed with minerals, protein, fiber, and antioxidants to promote a healthy digestive system and overall health.
On the other hand, chickpeas provide extra protein, copper, and dietary fiber.
The food features low glycemic carbohydrates that do not cause a sudden spike in your dog’s blood sugar.
The inclusion of peas and flaxseed makes the diet ideal for pups on low GI food. Moreover, it is hypoallergenic since it does not include ingredients like wheat, soy, potatoes, corn, and chicken.
This dry dog food has added chelated minerals that promote maximum nutrient absorption. The sunflower oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids to maintain your pet’s skin and coat health.
First 5 Ingredients: Whole Mackerel, Whole Herring, Monkfish, Acadian Redfish, Flounder
Key Feature: Premium chicken-free dog food with six fish
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 38%, Crude Fat 18%, Crude Fiber 4%, Moisture 12%, Dietary Starch 18%, Sugars 1.3%
Caloric Content: 468 kcal/cup, 3,900 kcal/kg
Type of Product: Raw, Natural, Sensitive Digestion, High Protein, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Chicken-Free, No Wheat, No Soy, No Corn
Life Stage: Adult
Best for: Premium
What better alternative to chicken than six different types of fish? Orijen includes mackerel, herring, monkfish, Acadian redfish, flounder, and hake for a premium-quality, scrumptious kibble for your dog.
The recipe features 85% quality fish ingredients for a high-quality source of proteins, minerals, and vitamins. It is packed with nutrient-dense meat, organs, and bones that are freeze-dried coated for irresistible raw flavor.
Fish is rich in omega fatty acids that promote skin and coat health. The meal also includes peas and chickpeas, which are high-quality carbohydrates and a source of fiber to promote healthy digestion.
This dry food contains a variety of fish and vegetables to create a nutritious formula. However, due to the wide range of ingredients, it may not be the perfect meal for pups with dietary sensitivities and allergies.
First 5 Ingredients: Duck, Duck Broth, Potatoes, Dehydrated Potatoes, Potato Protein
Key Feature: Wet chicken-free formula with duck
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 5%, Crude Fat 4%, Crude Fiber 2%, Moisture 78%
Caloric Content: 195 kcal/6 oz. can, 420 kcal/13.2 oz. can, 1140 kcal/kg
Type of Product: No Corn, No Soy, No Wheat, Pea-Free, Grain-Free, Chicken-Free, Limited Ingredient Diet, Sensitive Digestion
Best for: Wet Food
This chicken-free wet dog food combines one protein source and one carbohydrate to alleviate allergies and food sensitivities in dogs. This simple recipe is free of soy, wheat, and corn as well as meat-by products, artificial preservatives, and fillers.
The food is crafted with nutrient-rich vegetables and tender cuts of duck that are slow-cooked to become the savory gravy that dogs love.
Duck is an excellent protein source and healthy fats. It is also packed with amino acids to support strong muscles.
On the other hand, potatoes are digestible carbohydrates and rich in potassium to promote nerve function.
The food has vitamins and minerals to provide a balanced diet and is ideal for pups at all life stages. Unfortunately, some dogs may be reluctant to eat it as it has a smoky smell.
First 5 Ingredients: Venison, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Lentils, Pea Protein
Key Feature: Chicken-free food ideal for small breeds
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 32%, Crude Fat 18%, Crude Fiber 4%, Moisture 10%
Caloric Content: 422 kcal/cup, 3,719 kcal/kg
Type of Product: Grain-Free
Best for: Small Breeds
Small or toy dog breeds have different nutritional needs from larger dogs. They need a calorie-dense diet due to their higher metabolic rates. Moreover, their food should contain small kibbles for easy chewing and prevent a choking hazard.
Taste of the Wild specifically designed this Venison and Garbanzo Beans recipe for small dog breeds. Its first ingredient is venison, a high-quality protein, and nutrient source. Venison makes up 32% of the protein to support joints, bones, and lean muscles.
The meal also contains other protein sources like garbanzo beans, peas, and lentils, which provide energy for toy breed dogs.
Added probiotics and prebiotics support a healthy digestive system, immune system, and overall wellness. The K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics are added after the cooking process to guarantee viability.
The food also features antioxidants from legumes and fruits to improve your pup’s overall wellbeing. There are omega fatty acids too that promote skin and coat health.
Dog owners love that the kibbles are small-sized to fit the small mouths and tummies of toy-breed dogs.
First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Fish Meal, Peas, Pea Starch, Tapioca Starch
Key Feature: Chicken-free food created for large breeds
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 28%, Crude Fat 13%, Crude Fiber 6%, Moisture 10%
Caloric Content: 373 kcal/cup, 3,512 kcal/kg
Type of Product: Grain-Free, High Protein, No Corn, No Soy, No Wheat
Best for: Large Breeds
Large dog breeds have unique nutritional requirements too. This is why not all dog foods are formulated to meet their individual needs.
The Rocky Mountain Recipe contains multiple sources of proteins, including deboned beef, lamb, and venison. The proteins aid in the absorption of nutrients for stronger muscles and improve bone and body mass.
The addition of fruit and vegetables makes the recipe rich in antioxidants. The formula excludes by-product meals, soy, wheat, and corn.
Large dogs are susceptible to joint-related problems. Due to this, the food features glucosamine and chondroitin. These support healthy cartilage to relieve joint pain and reduce mobility issues.
First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Lentils, Sweet Potatoes
Key Feature: Chicken-free recipe with limited ingredients
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 32%, Crude Fat 14%, Crude Finer 4.5%, Moisture 10%
Caloric Content: 459 kcal/cup, 3,560 kcal/kg
Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion, Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain-Free, Chicken-Free, Gluten-Free, No Wheat, No Soy, No Corn
Best for: Sensitive Dogs
You understand that when your pup has food sensitivities, they need a diet with limited ingredients. Apart from eliminating chicken, this recipe is also free of hormones, antibiotics, grains, gluten, wheat, soy, and corn.
The recipe offers complete, balanced nutrition with its eight real food ingredients. Salmon is the only protein source and makes up 32% of the crude protein content.
With a single source of protein, the chances of your dog developing new allergies are slim. Besides, salmon is packed with healthy fats to provide energy.
The food contains wholesome veggies for extra nourishment. In addition, there is a blend of antioxidants, probiotics, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins to promote overall well-being.
Dog owners report that this meal does manage allergies. However, if your dog is overweight, this diet may not be suitable as it has a high-calorie content.
First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes
Key Feature: Chicken-free recipe for weight control
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 26%, Crude Fat 8%, Crude Fiber 6%, Moisture 10%
Caloric Content: 394 kcal/cup, 3,340 kcal/kg
Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion, weight Control, Limited Ingredient Diet, Chicken-Free, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, No Wheat, No Corn, No Soy
Best for: Weight Control
Your pup can lose a few pounds with a chicken-free diet. This dry dog food is specially formulated with salmon as its protein source.
Salmon contains lean protein and low-caloric content, which makes it suitable for weight control. You wouldn’t want your pup consuming proteins with high saturated fats when trying to lose weight.
The food is formulated with easily digestible carbohydrates like potatoes. These keep your dog feeling fuller between meals. Moreover, potatoes are safer ingredients compared to filler foods.
The diet is fortified with antioxidants, amino acids, probiotics, prebiotics, and chondroprotective ingredients for a healthier digestive system, stronger immunity, and overall health.
Owners with overweight pups on prescribed therapeutic diets have observed significant weight loss improvements. Sadly, this may not be the meal for breeds looking to gain weight.
Buying Guide for Chicken-Free Dog Food
Most dog foods contain chicken and chicken products as the main sources of protein. However, if you suspect that your pet is sensitive to chicken, we recommend eliminating it from the diet.
Healthy Alternatives to Chicken
Dogs need proteins to sustain their growth and development as well as their lean muscle mass. Animal-based proteins provide the essential amino acids compared to plant-based proteins.
Now that chicken is out of the diet, you can feed your pup these nutritious, protein alternatives.
- Red Meat
Like chicken, red meat is easily available and a rich source of protein. It may come from cows, lamb, ox, and even buffalos.
Red meat has high-fat content, which serves as a source of energy. It is also rich in minerals and vitamins like iron and zinc.
Fish is a healthy alternative to chicken. Even though it has minimal fat, it is rich in omega fatty acids that promote a healthy coat and skin. In addition, fatty acids promote cognition and strengthen the immune system.
Salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, whitefish, and menhaden fish are great options to try.
Chicken is categorized as poultry, but other birds may not necessarily cause an allergic reaction to your pet.
Take duck and turkey, for example. They have a similar nutrition profile to chicken. Turkey contains a bit of fat and is perfect for active dogs, while the turkey is fairly lean. Nevertheless, both types of meat are rich in vitamin B6, niacin, and selenium.
- Novel Meats
Novel meats are not common in dog meats. Due to their unavailability, most pups have limited exposure to these meats, which decreases the likelihood of them developing an allergy or sensitivity.
Examples of novel meats are rabbit, bison, kangaroo, venison, and ostrich. Foods with novel proteins are the best alternatives for dogs who react poorly to commercial food.
However, dog food with novel meats is quite expensive because they are rare and difficult to source. For example, it is difficult to find a free-range rabbit or wild-caught bison. Moreover, kangaroo meat is only available in Australia.
Factors to Look for When Buying the Best Chicken Free Dog Food
Here are five factors to keep in mind to help you find the best chicken free dog food.
- Source of Protein
You must check the source of protein in the dog food. Some foods outline the animal protein they used, while others remain ambiguous.
If a chicken-free food lists the protein source as ‘meat’, it is likely to include heart, gristle, esophagus tissue, and more. If it states ‘meat meal’, this means they used rendered products while ‘by-products’ are non-meat parts.
Other brands use terms like ‘all-natural’ and ‘real meat’. However, it is difficult to ascertain whether these terms are true or not.
Therefore, since your pup has food sensitivities, it would be best to find a dog food with one protein source. Doing so will reduce the likelihood of your pet developing protein allergies.
- Balanced Nutrition
Look for chicken-free dog food that supports your pet’s overall health. An ideal way to do so is to confirm that the food meets AAFCO requirements.
AAFCO has set strict nutritional requirements and only bestows its stamp of approval for foods that meet these guidelines.
So, if a food includes a statement that it meets AAFCO nutritional levels, it has the correct balance of nutrients for your pup.
- Avoid Fillers
Fillers are those ingredients that have no nutritional value for dogs. Take grains, for example. They are not part of a dog’s natural diet. And since your pup is allergic to chicken, grain-free foods are a healthy alternative.
Also, opt for limited ingredient chicken-free dog foods. It will be easier to pinpoint the ingredients causing sensitivity with few ingredients.
- Specific Nutritional Needs
Some chicken-free foods are specially formulated to match the nutritional demands of a dog’s life stage, breed, or activity level.
For example, active dog breeds need foods high in protein and fat. On the other hand, overweight pups need lean protein meat sources.
For this, choose a dog food that meets your pup’s nutritional profile.
- Chicken-Free Food
Some dog foods will not list chicken as one of its first ingredients, but that does not mean they have excluded it from the meal. Therefore, always read the ingredient list before picking any product.
How about ingredients like chicken meal, chicken fat, and chicken by-products? Well, it would be best to avoid these too since your pup is allergic to chicken. Even though they are nutritious, they are not safe for canines with chicken intolerance.
If you are more interested in chicken meal and chicken by-products, read our article What Is Chicken Meal In Dog Food and find out more
Why You Should Avoid Chicken in Dog Food
Dogs develop food allergies like humans. Repeated exposure to a type of food can trigger an allergic reaction.
Dairy, corn, and wheat are the most known food allergens. However, chicken also falls under this category for some pups.
You can tell that your pup is allergic to chicken if they develop symptoms after consuming food with chicken.
Common symptoms include excessive scratching, excessive licking, dry, itchy skin, bald patches, hot spots, and skin infections. Other dogs suffer gastrointestinal problems, chronic diarrhea, and chronic ear inflammation.
If your pup continues to feed on foods with chicken, the symptoms will only worsen. Avoiding chicken in your dog food will help resolve the food allergy. However, consult your vet before you commence the elimination diet.
If you are worried about meeting your dog’s nutritional requirements without chicken, there are other healthy alternatives available.
Chicken indeed has nutritional benefits. However, if your pup develops sensitivity after consuming it, it is not worth the risk.
Introduce your pet to a chicken-free diet to prevent sensitivity and allergy. We recommend the Wellness Complete Health Adult Whitefish & Sweet Potato Recipe as the best overall chicken-free dog food.
The recipe uses whitefish as a source of protein, omega fatty acids, and healthy fats. It also includes easily digestible whole grains.
Apart from this formula, there are nine other chicken-free foods that are healthy and nutritious. Whether you own a poodle or a wolfhound, this review has got you covered.
However, consult your veterinarian before you start any new diet.