The 13 Best Dog Foods Without Chicken

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

This updated guide lists all of the best dog foods without chicken or chicken meal.

So why would you NOT want your dog to eat chicken?

It isn’t about what you want; it’s about what your furry friend wants. And some dogs either don’t like chicken or can’t have it for one reason or another.

We will talk about all those reasons later.

But first, let’s see what are the best options for dog foods without chicken or chicken meal. Below are my top picks. See the remaining options later in the post.

Let’s dive in….

The Best Dog Foods Without Chicken

Top PicksRatingTop Ingredients
1. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dog Food
(Editor’s Choice)
4.9Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas
2. Zignature Kangaroo Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Formula4.8Kangaroo, Kangaroo Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil
3. Nature’s Variety Instinct Original Grain-Free Rabbit Recipe4.7Rabbit, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Chickpeas, Canola Oil
4. Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Freeze-Dried Raw Food4.7Duck With Ground Bone, Turkey, Turkey Liver, Goose, Turkey Gizzard
5. Ziwi Peak Lamb Recipe Canned Food4.7Lamb, Water, Lamb Lung, Lamb Kidney, Chickpeas

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

How to — Change your pet’s food

13 Top Rated Dog Foods Without Chicken

1. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Salmon, 2. Ocean Fish Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Potatoes, 5. Peas

For dogs that don’t like poultry, seafood is a good option. Fish, like salmon, are rich in quality proteins, omega fatty acids, and micronutrients. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream is one of the best salmon recipes you can find.

With 25% protein and 15% fat, this is a perfectly balanced meal, suitable for most breeds. You also get plenty of chelated minerals and antioxidants to ensure better overall health for your dog. There are probiotics to ensure healthy digestion, making it a good option for the sensitive ones. And it is a USA manufactured product from a trusted family-owned company.


2. Zignature Kangaroo Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Formula

Top 5 Ingredients:  1.Kangaroo, 2. Kangaroo Meal, 3. Chickpeas, 4. Peas, 5. Sunflower Oil

For dogs that are sensitive to most commonly available protein sources, introducing something as unique as Kangaroo meat is a good option. Zignature brings one of a kind limited ingredient recipe that is good for both adults and pups.

Premium Kangaroo meat sourced from Australia is the main protein in this recipe. Kangaroo is leaner than beef and red meat in general and has more than usual amount of iron, Vitamin B, and Omega 3 fatty acids. This recipe also includes fiber-rich ingredients such as peas and flaxseed that make it a good recipe for dogs on low GI food.


3. Nature’s Variety Instinct Original Grain-Free Rabbit Recipe

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Rabbit, 2. Salmon Meal, 3. Menhaden Fish Meal, 4. Chickpeas, 5. Canola Oil

This one has not one but three different animal proteins. No wonder it has a higher protein content than most dog foods out there. A perfect 30/20 ratio. All that goodness is coming from nutritious rabbit meat, salmon, and menhaden fish.

The rest of the recipe contains vegetables and fruits that add fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants to the mix. What makes it even better is the fact that it is a USA manufactured product.


4. Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Freeze-Dried Raw Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Duck With Ground Bone, 2. Turkey, 3. Turkey Liver, 4. Goose, 5. Turkey Gizzard

If you are looking for a dog food that doesn’t contain chicken but don’t want to go completely poultry-free, then this might be the perfect recipe. This freeze-dried raw meal is a delicious mix of turkey, duck, and goose. Around 95 percent of the contents are protein sourced from cage-free poultry along with bones and organs. The rest of it is nutrient-rich organic fruits and vegetables. The recipe is further enhanced by probiotic to ensure easy digestion for sensitive dogs. Overall, it is a recipe that can tempt the pickiest eaters.


5. Ziwi Peak Lamb Recipe Canned Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Lamb, 2. Water , 3. Lamb Lung, 4. Lamb Kidney, 5. Chickpeas

If you want premium taste and ingredients for your baby, go for a can of Ziwi Peak Lamb recipe. Grass-fed, free-range lamb is the single source of protein in this formula, but you also get lamb organs and bones that add more benefits to the loaf. Plus, it has a few rare ingredients such as New Zealand Green Mussel, which is an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin. Overall, it is a delicious and nutrient-dense recipe for dogs with a refined palate.


6. The Honest Kitchen Whole-Grain Turkey Dehydrated Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Dehydrated Turkey, 2. Organic Oats, 3. Dehydrated Potatoes, 4. Organic Flaxseed, 5. Dehydrated Carrots

If you want a low-protein, chicken-free option for your dog, this may be your best option. This recipe is made from turkey, oats, potatoes, and flaxseed and has the perfect amount of calories for dogs that aren’t too active. It’s ideal for dogs with sensitivities or allergies. Every ingredient used is 100% human-grade. What’s more: It is a dehydrated formula that will give you the best value for your money.


7. Earthborn Holistic Venture – Duck Meal and Pumpkin

Top 5 Ingredients: Duck Meal | Pumpkin | Peas | Tapioca | Sunflower Oil

Delicious duck meal sourced from the healthiest ducks from the French countryside and juicy pumpkins from California fields – these are the two secret ingredients that make this a tempting meal for every dog. With no chicken or chicken meal, this recipe is suitable for dogs that can’t or shouldn’t eat chicken but kind of like poultry-based recipes. Another good reason to choose this product is the eco-friendly bag made of 30% plant-based plastics and is resealable for maximum freshness.


8. Farmina N&D Ocean Codfish & Orange Ancestral Grain

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Cod, 2. Dehydrated Cod, 3. Herring Oil, 4. Whole Spelt, 5. Whole Oats

For dogs that love fish formulas, this is another option to try. Almost all of its protein content comes from quality cod. It is an extremely balanced recipe with the right balance of proteins and fat, and it is also lower in carbs. That makes it suitable for dogs with diabetes too. Herring oil and several other ingredients in this recipe are rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which means it will also take care of your baby’s coat and skin.


9. Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Salmon Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Salmon Meal, 2. Whole Dried Potatoes, 3. Whole Dried Peas, 4. Tapioca, 5. Salmon Oil

Gentle Giants brings us this delicious recipe made from salmon and an assortment of fruits and vegetables. It has just the right amount of fat, protein, fiber, and micronutrients to keep your baby healthy inside out. It has added prebiotics and probiotics to take care of your dog’s digestive tract and bowel. And if you are looking for a recipe with a healthy amount of taurine, this is it.


10. American Journey LID Grain-Free Venison & Sweet Potato

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Deboned Venison, 2. Sweet Potatoes, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Protein, 5. Venison Meal

Both lamb and venison based recipes from American Journey are great chicken-free options for your pal. This one has venison, so the chances of allergies are minimal. Sweet potatoes add taste as well as quality fiber to make the meal easily digestible for dogs with sensitive tummies. Flaxseed and sunflower oil are the key source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Overall, an excellent formula for the nose to tail health of your dog.


11. Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon

Top 5 Ingredients:  1.Beef, 2. Peas, 3. Garbanzo Beans, 4. Lamb Meal, 5. Canola Oil

Taste of the Wild has a great variety of poultry-free recipes, and each product is made in the USA with the highest standards in place. Southwest Canyon recipe has proteins from beef and lamb. An excellent option for dogs that can’t eat poultry and don’t like seafood. With this delicious grain-free recipe, they will also get all the essential nutrients and a healthy amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Plus, the proprietary K9 strain probiotic blend is there to take care of their stomach.


12. Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free 96% Real Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Deboned Beef, 2. Beef Broth, 3. Beef Liver, 4. Dried Egg Product, 5. Dried Yeast Culture

With 96% real beef and no grains to disrupt digestion, Merrick Backcountry is a safe option for muscular breeds. The recipe is based on the ancestral diet of your furry friend. Deboned beef cooked in a savory broth along with beef liver and dried egg. It is a flavorful formula perfect for picky eaters. The aroma alone will make them run to the bowl tails wagging. All the ingredients are locally sourced, and the Texas-based Merrick facility prepares the recipe.


13. Canidae Grain Free Pure Real Salmon & Sweet Potato

Top 5 Ingredients:  1.Salmon, 2. Salmon Meal, 3. Menhaden Fish Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Peas

The last, but in no way the least, on the list is another fish-based formula that is perfect for dogs with sensitive digestion. This limited ingredients option has quality proteins from salmon and menhaden fish meal. The inclusion of health fiber sources such as sweet potatoes further aids digestion. The formula may be fewer ingredients, but it is still rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. That is what happens when you focus on quality, not the number of ingredients.


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FAQs

Why should I avoid chicken-based dog foods?

Chicken is a common allergen for dogs. Some dogs may not be allergic, but they might have sensitives that can be triggered by chicken or chicken meal. It is best to avoid chicken-based recipes if you suspect a chicken allergy or intolerance in your pet. Take your dog to the vet as soon as this suspicion arises.

Is my dog allergic to chicken?

Chicken allergy is not uncommon in dogs. Food allergies in dogs can develop suddenly, even in foods dogs have been consuming for a while. Look for signs such as itching, scratching, and swelling, especially after meals. Vomiting and diarrhea can also be symptoms of allergies or intolerance.

Is chicken a good source of proteins for dogs?

Yes, chicken is a good source of lean proteins for dogs, and many dogs like the taste better than beef or fish. However, it is considered a common allergen. And your dog may develop chicken allergy despite years eating it without problems.

Is chicken meal bad for dogs?

If your dog is allergic to chicken, it will also be allergic to chicken meal or chicken byproduct. And for dogs that aren’t allergic, chicken meal is nutritious and safe.

Do dogs poop less on chicken?

Chicken-based dog foods do not have any noticeable effect on waste. However, plain boiled chicken might cause some dogs to poop less. That is because lean chicken is less fibrous – but that is not usually the case with commercial food as most products contain sources of fiber as well.

What should I feed a dog with a chicken allergy or intolerance?

For dogs with chicken allergy or intolerance, you can try several different alternatives such as red meat, lamb, or fish. If your dog is allergic to more than one source of protein, it is better to go for novel proteins such as ox, venison, rabbit, or kangaroo.

Can dogs allergic to chicken eat turkey?

A chicken allergy doesn’t always mean a poultry allergy. Most dogs that cannot eat chicken, due to allergies or any other reason, can eat turkey without any problem—many dogs like their turkey meal better than red meat or fish-based dog foods.

How can I tell which ingredient my dog is allergic to?

Diagnosing allergies in dogs is just as complicated as in humans. It is not easy to pinpoint a particular allergen without professional help. A vet is most likely to put your pal on an elimination diet to find out the culprit. Keep an eye for symptoms and consult a vet as soon as you suspect allergy or sensitivity.

Will dog food without chicken cause any deficiency?

Not really. Chicken is a source of proteins, and there are a dozen other alternatives. As long as you provide an alternate protein, there is no risk of deficiency. Just make sure you pick a recipe that has all the other essential nutrients.

Buyer’s Guide

Have your ever seen markets running out of chicken-based dog food formulas?

Probably not. It is one of the most common ingredients, and many dogs seem to love it. However, it is also a common allergen. Dogs can have chicken allergies or intolerance, and that may happen after years of consuming chicken formulas without problems.

However, that is not the only reason you should switch to chicken-free dog food. It is always a good idea to change the main source of protein from time to time. Rotating formulas is a good way to prevent the development of allergies and intolerance.

This guide will help you find the best chicken free dog food for your baby. But before we talk about foods, there is more to know about the ingredient itself.

Chicken Allergy vs. Chicken Intolerance

Food allergies are not the same as food intolerance. While some dogs have a chicken allergy, others can just have intolerance or sensitivity.

So what’s the difference?

The simplest way to explain it is that allergies are the immune system’s reaction, while intolerance is a reaction of the digestive system. Allergies can be due to many things besides food. Intolerances are specific to food. What’s common here is the symptoms and the fact that both the issues are incurable but manageable. You can treat food intolerance and allergies by removing the culprit from your dog’s diet.

You probably won’t be able to tell if your dog has allergy or intolerance without a vet’s help. Just keep an eye for symptoms such as excessive scratching, swelling, and inflammation. Diarrhea and vomiting are more common in cases of intolerance. Your fur baby may even stop eating.

In any case, see a vet as soon as you see a symptom. Let them decide how to proceed with tests and diagnosis. Once the results are in, and you know your baby has chicken allergy or intolerance, it is time to find the best dog food without chicken.

What about Chicken Meal and Chicken Fat?

As mentioned earlier, chicken meal is not a bad ingredient. Studies prove that it can be more nutritious than chicken meat. It is meal prepared from any part of the chicken – meat and organs. Just know that chicken byproduct meal is not the same thing. Byproduct can include all the parts of the carcass, including feet. That is not a good meal for your dog.

In any case, neither chicken meal nor chicken byproduct is a suitable ingredient for dogs with chicken allergy or intolerance.

The same is the case with chicken fat. It is a healthy fat for most dogs, especially the active ones, but not a safe product for dogs with chicken allergy. Although dogs with intolerance usually have issues with chicken protein, many can consume chicken fat without a problem.

Alternative to Chicken

Chicken is a source of protein, just like any other animal meat. It may be the most commonly used source of protein in dog food, and there are tons of options that do not contain chicken or any of its byproducts. If your dog is prone to allergies or sensitives, it is better to go for new protein sources.

Red Meat

For most people, red meat is the best alternative to chicken or poultry for dogs. One of the reasons here is the easy availability of beef-based products. They are just as easily available as a chicken-based product. Red meat can come from several different animals, such as cows, buffalo, and even ox.  

Unlike humans, red meat is not harmful to dogs. Higher fat content is good for dogs because that is their main source of energy. Their system is different from ours. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron and zinc.

Fish

Fish is another good alternative to chicken meat. Many dogs love the smell, but others might not. But if you are investing in a quality fish-based dog food, most dogs are likely to find it tempting.

Fish may not be rich in fat, but they are one of the best sources of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which makes it an excellent option for dogs with high-maintenance coats. Fatty acids are equally crucial for your dog’s cognition. Not to mention, there are numerous varieties such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and menhaden fish.

Poultry

Poultry is more than chicken. It can include duck and turkey as well. If your dog is allergic to chicken, it may be able to consume other poultry birds easily. Turkey and duck meat are a good option for a dog that is too used to chicken but developed an allergy or sensitivity all of a sudden. If your baby refuses to switch to red meat or fish, try other poultry options to make the transition easier.

The good thing about other poultry options is that they have a nutrition profile similar to that of chicken. Just like chicken, their meat is rich in niacin, selenium, and vitamin B6. Duck tends to have more fat, so it is a good option for active breeds.

Just make sure the product you pick doesn’t contain any amount of chicken or its byproducts.

Novel Meats

Novel meats are the best alternatives for dogs with sensitivity or allergy to chicken and other common proteins. These meats aren’t commonly found in dog food, and that is why they are less likely to cause allergies or sensitivities. Again, your dog is most likely to develop allergies to ingredients to which they have already been exposed.  

Novel meats include rabbit, lamb, bison, kangaroo, ostrich, and venison. Dog foods with novel proteins are rare and expensive because sourcing these ingredients isn’t easy. For instance, Australia is the only place where one can source kangaroo meat. Wild-caught venison and free-range rabbit are also not that easy to source.

If you have a pet with a sensitive stomach, these premium products may be well worth your money.

Some may consider sourcing exotic and expensive meat ingredients such as this as excessive and say that there are plenty of more affordable formulas without Chicken ingredients readily available. However, for some, these formulas are a lifeline for their dogs who react very poorly to the vast majority of commercial dog food.

Conclusion

So, whether you are looking for suitable dog food for your dog with a chicken allergy or just want to rotate their main source of protein, now you know what the best options are.

Just keep in mind that before you take your dog entirely off an ingredient, it is a good idea to consult a vet. Take your dog to a vet, even at the slightest suspicion of a food allergy. Just like for us, food makes all the difference in your pet’s life. Choose wisely.