Is your pup allergic to poultry? Maybe you have another reason to look for the best chicken-free dog foods for your puppy. Animal protein is essential to a dog’s diet. Protein deficiency can put your dog at risk of developing various health problems, including hair loss and skin damage.
One of the cheapest and most common sources of animal protein is chicken. It’s also the primary ingredient in most commercial dry kibbles. However, not all meat is ideal for all dogs. Many dogs can have allergic reactions to poultry. If this is the case for your pup, finding top-quality dog food without chicken or chicken by-products is a priority.
There are many dietary restrictions a dog owner can face. Having a pup who is allergic or intolerant to chicken or poultry can feel restrictive. However, there are plenty of delicious, quality dog foods without chicken. We have researched and looked at the best chicken-free dog foods on the market.
At A Glance: Our Favorite Dog Foods Without Chicken
The Farmer’s Dog
American Journey Salmon
Blue Buffalo Life Protection
Note: Clicking the above links takes you to Chewy.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Is Your Dog Allergic To Poultry?
Chicken allergies are one of the most common food allergies among canines. Your dog must be exposed to chicken meal more than once for food allergies to develop. Some of the symptoms you should watch out for include the following:
- Ear inflammation due to excessive scratching
- Skin injuries or infections
- Hair loss from scratching
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea
If you think your dog may be having allergic reactions to poultry, you can take an at-home dog allergy test from EasyDNA or contact your veterinarian. They can help you identify if allergies cause these symptoms. Once you’ve determined that your pup has a food allergy, you should remove the ingredient from your dog’s diet. The offender is not always chicken. Sometimes, peas or legumes can be an allergen, as well as other animal proteins. If you cannot identify the allergens on your own, your veterinarian can run more detailed tests and help narrow the culprit down.
Best Dog Foods Without Chicken
Picking the best poultry-free dry kibble isn’t an easy task. Normally, it takes most dog owners several hours to scour different labels to ensure they are free of all potential allergens. To help you make the right decision, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites below based on price and nutritional value.
The Farmer's Dog
- Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
- Personalized meal plans.
- 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
- Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
- Manufactured in the United States.
- Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.
Natural, human-grade beef, pork, or turkey (chicken, too, for non-allergic dogs) are the main ingredients (depending on which recipe you choose) in this all-natural dog food. It is supplemented with vegetables and high levels of vitamins and nutrients to ensure your pup’s overall health and well-being.
Ideal for dogs of any age, The Farmer’s Dog products pack high-quality protein in every bite. However, if your dog also craves grains, you can cook rice at home and add it to the mix for an even more balanced meal and an excellent way to save money on fresh dog food!
Note: They also have a chicken recipe, but if you are reading this article, we are guessing you will skip that one. You might also want to skip the turkey since it is also poultry.
We love that these recipes provide digestible energy for sensitive dogs and come with the convenience of home delivery. The Farmer’s Dog offers a wide variety of flavors and is made from human-grade ingredients that you could even eat. They are well known for producing premium-quality dog food for even the most finicky dogs.
American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon Review
- Limited ingredient recipe.
- Single animal protein source.
- Great for sensitive stomachs.
- Grain-free, and no corn, wheat or soy.
- 350 Calories per cup.
- 25% Protein, 12% Fat, 6% Fiber.
American Journey is Chewy’s in-house brand. We’ve looked at the American Journey brand extensively in this review. It was created for people who want a premium formula without breaking the bank. The Duck & Sweet Potato Limited Ingredient formula provides a poultry-free experience with a lower ingredient count. This is a high-quality duck dog food, with duck as the first ingredient. The thought behind the limited-ingredient formula is that fewer ingredients usually equate to a more nutritious recipe.
This limited-ingredient formula is free of grains, soy, corn, preservatives, or artificial colors, in addition to being free of poultry ingredients. The budget-friendly price point is also a significant benefit. Because of the stripped-down ingredient list with a single source of animal protein, this formula is perfect for dogs with any allergy.
We love that American Journey’s products strike a nice balance between both budget and quality. Chewy’s shipping times are also excellent. This is an excellent option if you are looking for a food with plenty of nutrients like Omega fatty acids and easily digestible carbs.
CANIDAE Under The Sun Lamb Formula Review
- Made with Omega fatty acids.
- Real fruits & vegetables.
- Includes pumpkin for digestion.
- Made in the United States.
- 25% Protein, 11% Fat, 4% Fiber.
Made using a combination of farm-grown fruits and vegetables, CANIDAE Under The Sun Grain-Free Dry Recipe with Lamb is excellent for dogs with certain sensitivities. In addition to not containing poultry, it is also fish, grain, and potato-free.
Compared to other formulas, CANIDAE’s grain-free formula contains probiotics, which help improve digestion. It also contains antioxidants, plus Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, to promote healthy skin. Many of CANIDAE’s formulas have the same excellent nutrient profile.
We love that CANIDAE Under The Sun Grain-Free with Lamb formula offers the same benefits as well as a lower price point.
Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Formula Review
- Grain-free formula.
- High-quality pork, beef, and lamb.
- Probiotics for digestion.
- Includes apples, sweet potatoes & flax seed.
- No corn, wheat, or soy.
- 348 Calories per cup.
- 26% Protein, 14% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.
Whole Earth’s all-natural recipe is formulated to support the nutritional needs of canines throughout all stages of life. Its sources of animal protein include pork, beef, and lamb. It also contains dried blueberries, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
This dog food formula by Whole Earth Farms is grain-free. It also doesn’t have artificial flavors and colors. And, if you check the label, you won’t find any reference to additives or preservatives. It’s an excellent option if you can afford the premium price point.
We love that Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free, Natural Dry Formula is perfect for puppies since the kibbles are small and flat. In addition to being high in animal proteins, this dog food contains all-natural ingredients that are easy on the stomach. Many canine parents recommend it for adult canines with digestive problems.
Nutro Limited Ingredient Lamb Recipe Review
- Made with only 10 ingredients.
- Non-GMO formula.
- Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- Large breed formula.
- Made in the United States.
- 475 calories per cup.
- 20% Protein, 13% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.
A non-GMO, grain-free formula, Nutro Limited Ingredient Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe uses at least 10 key ingredients. These include high-quality Australian and New Zealand lamb, along with chickpeas, dried potatoes, dried sweet potatoes, lentils, sunflower oil, and canola oil.
It has none of the elements that commonly cause food allergies in canines, like chicken, beef, corn, soy, wheat, and dairy. Nutro has several flavors in their Limited ingredient lines and is middle of the road regarding budget.
We love that Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe is ideal for canines that are more comfortable eating smaller kibbles. This is one of our favorite dog foods for Labradoodles and other breeds that may have sensitive stomachs. Nutro is a reputable brand with a comprehensive line of different kibbles and an excellent brand history.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Lamb & Rice Review
- No corn, wheat, soy or poultry.
- Includes veggies and fruit.
- Glucosamine for point health.
- Healthy grains for energy.
- 22% Protein, 14% Fat, 5% Fiber.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult recipe provides canines with high-quality protein derived from real lamb. Its nutrients help dogs build and maintain healthy muscles.
The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry formula does not contain by-products, corn, wheat, and soy. No artificial flavors or preservatives are added to it, as well.
We love that Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula has Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to help improve your dog’s heart health. This is popular in many Blue Buffalo formulas. These ingredients are also helpful in maintaining a healthy coat. Some pup parents noticed the difference in their dogs’ dandruff and yeast buildup within one day.
Merrick Grain-Free Texas Beef Review
- Made with real deboned red meat.
- High protein formula.
- Gluten-free recipe.
- No corn, wheat, or soy.
- Made in the United States.
- 379 Calories per cup.
- 34% Protein, 15% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.
Merrick Grain-Free Texas Beef formula is a red-meat-based formula that’s free of poultry. It’s a balanced recipe with a higher protein ratio, making it great for building muscle and muscle retention. This formula is also grain-free and gluten-free for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Deboned beef is the first ingredient, and sweet potatoes provide healthy digestive carbohydrates. Merrick’s ingredients are sourced from local farmers and are made without artificial preservatives, soy, or corn. It’s also made in the United States.
What We Like About It
We love that while Merrick carries a slightly higher price point than some formulas on our list, it offers an excellent option for dog owners seeking a protein-rich recipe without the potential allergens. We really like the fact that it’s manufactured in the United States and is locally sourced.
Zignature Trout and Salmon Meal Review
- Grain-free formula.
- Single protein source.
- Made with real fish.
- Free from most allergens.
- No Corn, wheat, soy, dairy or poultry.
- 382 calories per cup.
- 31% Protein, 14% Fat, 4% Fiber.
Zignature Trout and Salmon Meal Formula is often touted as the “healthiest formula on the market.” It’s not an empty claim, though. This formula packs powerful antioxidants and low glycemic carbohydrates. It’s also an excellent source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids.
We love that trout and salmon are great for most puppies with allergies. Most dogs aren’t allergic to fish when they have a poultry or pork allergy. This food is ideal for dogs that may have sensitive stomachs when it comes to any type of meat protein.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Lamb Review
- Gluten free.
- Made for all breeds.
- Pea, soy, corn and wheat free.
- Made in the United States.
- 370 Calories per cup.
- 22% Protein, 12% Fat, 4% Fiber.
Natural Balance’s limited ingredient formula has a single animal protein source. In this case, the LID formula is Lamb with Brown rice. This formula is not grain-free, which means it’s excellent for dogs that aren’t resistant to grain but still need high-quality dog food. It is a gluten-free recipe that is great for dogs that have sensitive stomachs from potential gluten intolerance.
The limited-ingredient formula contains essential amino acids that promote muscle maintenance. It works well for all different dog breeds. The lamb as a single protein source is usually a winner taste-wise for even some of the pickiest pups.
We love that the Natural Balance brand is synonymous with quality. This formula is fairly budget-friendly and contains high-quality natural ingredients to satisfy your dog’s nutritional needs.
Poultry Free Dog Food Buyer’s Guide
Not all dry kibbles are created equally. Generally, they are made up of meat, grains, fats, and oils. However, their exact ingredient lists vary from one brand to another. Even with limited ingredients, dog foods can differ in how they are prepared.
So, how do you choose the healthiest dog food for your canine companion? Here are some of the things that you might want to consider.
Feeding dogs high-quality food supports a healthy and long life. And excellent quality comes at a higher price. You need to ensure you get value for your money by checking if the product meets your pup’s nutritional needs.
Your Dog’s Age
Dogs go through three essential life stages – puppy, adult, and senior phases. To stay healthy and active, they need to be fed according to the stage they are currently in.
Puppies need more animal protein. Their foods have a higher calorie count compared to adult and senior dog foods. What your pup eats will significantly impact their immune functions and well-being. Aside from high amounts of animal protein. Finding food sensitivity and allergies during puppyhood is usually easier and allows you to start a special diet early in your life. Your dog’s size will also matter during puppyhood. Large breed puppies need different food than smaller breeds due to their nutrient requirements.
When your puppy enters adulthood, you need to reduce animal protein and calorie intake to keep them from becoming overweight. Many dogs have a food sensitivity that may not come out until adulthood.
Feeding senior dogs the right kind of dog food without poultry can be tricky. Some seniors become picky eaters as they age. Your senior dog may require a recipe with lower calories but high in fiber, fatty acids, and protein. Fiber is crucial as it reduces metabolism-related issues, bowel inconsistencies, and kidney problems.
Choosing the right formula means finding a product with ingredients that contain a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and vitamins. Meat is the primary component of commercial food. Get to know the different types of meat to make sure you’re not putting your dog’s health at risk.
When it comes to picking the right formula, it’s essential to select a formula that has red meat, fish, or lamb as the first ingredient. You’ll also need to ensure there is no chicken in any meat by-products or meat meal if your regular formula contains any of those. Whole meat is preferable for every type of kibble.
Grains are excellent sources of carbohydrates. So are fruits and vegetables. Some pet food manufacturers, however, do away with these ingredients due to instances of grain allergies in dogs.
Ingredients To Avoid In Chicken-Free Dog Food
Not everything indicated on a pet food label is beneficial for your dog. In fact, some of them are actually harmful. You’ll want to steer clear of many artificial ingredients or processed foods. These can have very negative long-term impacts on your pup. Here are some items that you should watch out for.
Food Fragments And Artificial Coloring
These are low-quality leftovers from other food manufacturing processes. If you see these words on an ingredient list, move on to the next product:
- Rice Hulls
- Mill Run
- Peanut Hulls
Artificial coloring is unnecessary since your dog doesn’t care about the color of food. The coloring is only added to make the product more appealing to pet parents. We recommend you only stick to recipes that include no artificial coloring of any type.
Sugar And Sweeteners
Sugar is definitely a no-no. As with humans, it can lead to obesity, hyperactivity, and tooth decay in dogs.
You might also want to keep your pet away from formulas that contain cane molasses, corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, glucose, propylene glycol, and xylitol. These are used to make food tastier for your dog. However, they add more calories and have no nutritional value. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener and is toxic to canines, so it is best to avoid this at all costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the most common food allergy in dogs?
Food allergies are a common concern among pet owners. It can be very frustrating to see your pet suffer from allergic reactions, which usually range from diarrhea to ear itching and inflammation.
Some dogs are born with food allergies, while others develop them through the years. Even if your pet is used to eating the same type of food for years, they could suddenly develop an allergy to pork, beef, fish, chicken, wheat, soy, and other fruits or vegetables.
What makes dog food grain-free?
Grains, such as wheat, oats, rice, and corn, provide a variety of nutrients that dogs need. Grain-free formulas are recipes without those ingredients. Many pet parents opt for grain-free food because their dogs suffer from grain allergies.
What is a limited ingredient formula?
As the name suggests, limited-ingredient formulas contain a smaller number of selected ingredients. However, the exact definition varies from one manufacturer to another.
Some limited-ingredient formulas may have one to two protein sources, such as salmon, rabbit, or venison, and one to two carb sources, like sweet potatoes or green peas. There are others that offer limited-ingredient products with fewer ingredients than their standard formulas.
Is a limited-ingredient diet right for my dog?
Dogs with skin or digestive issues may benefit from limited-ingredient food. But be sure to work with your veterinarian to determine whether a limited-ingredient diet is the best option for your pet.
Your vet can help determine what food ingredients are causing your dog’s adverse reactions or if there’s an underlying health issue that you should know about.
Is the ingredient list a good indicator of quality?
Generally, the ingredient list does not detail the product’s nutritional quality or digestibility. However, the most important thing to consider is that the final product has been tested to make sure that your pet’s dietary requirements are met. At best, you can use the ingredient list as a reference when choosing pet food for dogs with food allergies.
Is it risky to feed my dog the wrong diet?
Simply put, yes. Whether it’s dog food with or without chicken, your pet’s diet should be appropriate to their stage of life. It wouldn’t be right to feed an adult dog a diet formulated for growing puppies. If you’re not careful, this could lead to health issues, such as obesity.
While we’re on the topic, remember that it’s also inappropriate to feed your dog with cat food or vice versa. Each species has diets designed specifically to meet their individual nutritional requirements.
What should I look for in a limited-ingredient formula?
Reading the label is important. Product labels provide a nutritional adequacy statement that indicates which animal the diet is designed for. It also lets you know if the recipe is complete and balanced and whether the food should be fed under the supervision of your vet.
What’s the safest and healthiest diet for my dog?
The nutritional needs of dogs vary based on several factors. These include age, lifestyle, activity level, breed, and temperament. Experts recommend asking your veterinarian for advice about what foods to feed your pet.
To verify that you are getting the best dry kibble for your money, check if the manufacturer is complying with the Association of American Feed Control Officials guidelines. The AAFCO is the authorized agency that sets standards for pet foods in the United States.
How does my dog’s food affect their skin, coat, and energy level?
Proper nutrition sets the building blocks for canine health and wellness. This is why picking the best chicken-free formula for your dog can have a considerable impact.
For example, when it comes to maintaining beautiful skin and coats, your dog needs a diet rich in fatty acids. To increase their energy levels, be sure to feed them a recipe containing enough supply of fats, carbohydrates, and animal protein.
Providing the right nourishment in every stage of your dog’s life is one of the most responsible things that you can do as a pet parent. It also helps if the food you feed is easily digestible, considering the pain and discomfort caused by canine indigestion. If your dog needs dog food without chicken or chicken by-products, we have shown some top-level options to consider.
For those reasons, The Farmer’s Dog is our top choice among our selection of best dog foods without chicken. The easy-to-digest recipe is certainly a treat for canines of any age or breed.
If The Farmer’s Dog is somehow beyond your budget, then you might want to check out American Journey’s Limited Ingredient Duck Formula. It practically offers the same benefits but without the hefty price tag.
There is no one specific type of food that is perfect for all dogs. Just like with people, each canine has different nutritional requirements. With the information provided here, you should be able to make an informed decision when choosing the best chicken-free dog food for your pup.