Chicken is a popular and nutritious source of protein for dogs.
This ingredient is healthy, cheap, and delicious.
That being said, why exactly do you want to avoid this particular food group in your dog’s food and what is the best chicken-free dog food available?
The answer is that chicken is the most common culprit when it comes to food allergies or food intolerances in dogs.
And if your dog ever shows signs of being allergic to chicken, cutting out that ingredient is a must.
I’ve researched many different brands of dog food and have settled on Wellness Complete Health Adult Whitefish Dog Food as the best chicken-free dog food that doesn’t contain chicken.
However, not every dog who is allergic to chicken is the same.
This is why I have researched and reviewed chicken-free alternatives to suit different life stages and formulas.
Let’s get started.
Our Best Chicken Free Dog Food
- Wellness Complete Health Adult Dog Food (Best Adult Food)
- Purina Pro Plan Puppy Dry Dog Food (Best for Puppies)
- Instinct Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Grain-Free Food)
- Blue Buffalo Homestyle Adult Wet Dog Food (Best Wet Food)
- JustFoodForDogs Beef and Russet Potatoes (Best Fresh Food)
Best Chicken Free Dog Foods Reviewed
Before making any modifications to your dog’s food, always check with your veterinarian.
All dog foods that I have included in this review meet the standard AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines for dogs.
Wellness Complete Health Adult Dog Food
- Main feature: Chicken-free formula suitable for a wide variety of dogs
- First 5 Ingredients: Whitefish, Ground Barley, Peas, Menhaden Fish Meal, Oatmeal
- Food Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 435 kcal/cup
- Product Details: Chicken-Free, Contains no soy, wheat or corn
- Life Stage: Adult
Fish is often used as an alternative to chicken for good reason.
Whitefish is a lean meat that is highly nutritious.
Fish also contains significant amounts of omega fatty acids, which help maintain a healthy coat while lowering inflammation in the body.
This food includes a variety of grains.
Foods made with whole grains, such as barley, are excellent sources of carbohydrates that are easily digested.
Although grain-free dog food may be beneficial for dogs with sensitivities, it is not appropriate for all dogs.
This recipe does not contain any fillers and makes use of natural ingredients.
There is no wheat, maize, soy, by-products, or artificial additives which is great as dogs that are allergic to chicken can also have an adverse reaction to these types of ingredients.
The health of the skin and the coat is supported by additional biotin while the added taurine is beneficial to maintaining a healthy heart.
This recipe comes highly recommended for Cavapoos suffering from chicken-related allergies and skin sensitivities.
The only downside is that because it contains fish it does have a strong fishy odor.
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Sensitive Stomach Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Main feature: Chicken-free formula suitable for puppies
- First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Rice, Barley, Fish Meal, Canola Meal
- Food Analysis: 28% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 428 kcal/cup
- Product Details: Chicken-Free, Contains no soy, wheat or corn
- Life Stage: Puppy
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula dry puppy food contains specially prepared nutrients geared towards your Cavapoo puppy’s first year of life.
This sensitive skin and stomach dog food’s premium ingredients are each carefully selected to provide a particular nutritional or practical function.
Salmon, which is soothing on his delicate stomach, is the first ingredient in the high-protein puppy food mix, which also contains rice.
Your puppy’s skin and coat are supported by sunflower oil and vitamin A, while his brain and vision development are nourished by DHA from omega-rich fish oil.
Live probiotics boost immunological and digestive health in our puppy food, and natural prebiotic fiber feeds certain intestinal flora for digestive health.
This probiotic-infused puppy food does not contain any artificial flavors or colors.
Purina Pro Plan puppy food contains targeted, high-quality nutrients that will help your puppy get off to a good start.
This formula is an excellent choice for owners who want to provide their Cavapoo puppies with a chicken-free alternative.
Instinct Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- Main feature: Premium chicken-free dog food with rabbit meat as the main ingredient
- First 5 Ingredients: Rabbit, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Chickpeas, Canola Oil
- Food Analysis: 36.5% Crude Protein, 20% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 525 kcal/cup
- Product Details: Contains no Corn, Soy or Wheat, Chicken-Free, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free
- Life Stage: Adult
The high protein content (36.5% per serving) of farm-raised rabbits makes it a nutritious substitute for chicken.
This kibble is coated in freeze-dried raw ingredients with a high percentage being animal-based, 71%, and the remaining 29% from plants.
The crude fat percentage of this recipe is 20%.
This high-calorie food is perfect for energetic dogs that can’t eat chicken.
Salmon and fish meal are the primary sources of the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
The live probiotics are very helpful for dogs with sensitive stomachs and they also encourage regular bowel movements.
Additionally, the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables aid the body’s natural defenses against free radicals.
The only factor to be aware of is that this food can cause your Cavapoo to pick up weight if they are not active enough to burn through the calories.
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food
- Main feature: Paté style wet dog food made with real beef
- First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Carrots, Peas
- Food Analysis: 8.5% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 398 kcal/can
- Product Details: NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, NO corn, wheat, or soy, and NO artificial flavors or preservatives
- Life Stage: Adult
This wet dog food contains real beef as its primary component, as well as garden fruits and vegetables.
It is loaded with the highest quality natural ingredients, in addition to being fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Beef is the first ingredient in this dog food.
All ten of the necessary amino acids that dogs need to survive are naturally found in beef.
Beef broth is the next ingredient.
There is little nutritional benefit in broths.
Yet they are a typically added component in many canned goods because they give dog food flavor and moisture.
Beef liver is the third element.
This is titled animal-sourced organ meat, which is why it is regarded as a valuable ingredient.
Carrots, which are high in beta-carotene, minerals, and dietary fiber, constitute the fourth component.
Peas are listed as the fifth component supplying a good source of carbs. They are also a good source of natural fiber.
Wet dog food can be added to dry food and can also be used as a complete meal.
JustFoodForDogs Beef and Russet Potatoes
- Main feature: Freshly made dog food using human-grade ingredients
- First 5 Ingredients: Ground Beef, Beef Liver, Russet Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots
- Food Analysis: 8.5% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 75% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 1559 kcal ME/kg; 44 kcal ME/oz, 792 kcal ME/18 oz; 3168 kcal ME/72 oz
- Product Details: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, No Preservatives, No Growth Hormones
- Life Stage: Adult
This high-calorie recipe includes beef, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables resulting in a healthy, balanced food for dogs.
Beef is a high-quality protein source that is easily digested.
Beef’s iron and zinc elements are good for the skin and increase immunity while B12 and B6 vitamins boost metabolism.
Beef liver is high in vitamin A, which is good for vision.
Beef liver is a high source of heme iron, which supports red blood cell health.
Beef liver is high in vitamin B12, minerals, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, which promote energy and support a healthy coat and immune system.
Russet potatoes are high in potassium, C, and B6.
They’re also rich in niacin, magnesium, iron, thiamine, and fiber, which aid digestion and nervous system function.
JustFoodForDogs is an excellent quality premium dog food that I highly recommend.
They do have a variety of different recipes as well as the Pantry Fresh meals that can be stored unopened on the shelf for up to two years.
Buying Guide for Chicken Free Dog Food
Most dogs do perfectly well with eating chicken.
However, if your dog has any sort of allergies, frequently gets an upset stomach, or does not stop scratching then it is worth testing to see if chicken could be the problem.
Always discuss with your Vet first before making any changes to your Cavapoo’s diet.
Should You Consider Eliminating Chicken From Your Dog’s Diet?
If your dog shows no signs of allergies or a sensitive stomach then there is no valid reason to stop feeding them chicken.
Chicken is a very nutritious source of protein.
However, some dogs cannot tolerate eating chicken.
Sometimes they develop a sensitivity to it and other times they cannot eat it from the get-go.
Chicken breast has 26 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat per three-ounce serving.
It’s a low-fat protein source that can be added to dog food without significantly increasing the calorie or fat content.
Chicken is an excellent source of selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.
Chicken is also cheaper than other proteins.
It is perfect for offering real meat and high-quality nutrition while keeping dog food costs down.
When Should You Stop Feeding Chicken
It is well known that chicken can cause food sensitivities in some dogs.
If your Cavapoo suffers from a chicken intolerance or chicken allergy then it is advisable to immediately stop feeding them this protein.
Whenever a dog has a food allergy then the first ingredient that vets look at is chicken.
If your dog suffers from food allergies, it’s because he’s sensitive to some ingredients in his diet.
When the immune system overreacts to an allergen, usually a protein, the result is an allergic reaction.
The skin is more commonly affected than the digestive system when it comes to food allergy symptoms.
Common symptoms can be dry skin, itching, hot spots, and persistent infections.
If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms then your Vet might recommend an elimination diet.
An elimination diet is eliminating one ingredient after the other until your dog stops experiencing symptoms.
Chicken is commonly the first ingredient at the top of the list.
A food intolerance has more of an effect on the digestive system instead of on the skin.
While allergies are mostly influenced by the environment and sometimes food, food intolerance is directly caused by food.
The symptoms of food intolerance can be bloating, gas, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you think your pet has an intolerance to chicken, consult your vet.
Treatment for both food intolerance and allergy involves avoiding the offending ingredient in the diet.
Understanding How To Read Labels
If your dog is allergic or intolerant to chicken then it is very important that you know and understand how to read the label on the bag of dog food.
You will need to be careful with all the variants of chicken that can be found in dog food.
Protein sources listed as “chicken” or “deboned chicken” indicate that the food contains real chicken meat.
If it just says ‘chicken’ then it is chicken meat and chicken bones.
If it says ‘Deboned Chicken’ then it is pure chicken meat (breasts, skin, and fillets) and no bones have been added.
Chicken should be listed as the first ingredient so it should be easy to spot.
If the food does contain chicken, then it should be avoided if your dog is intolerant or allergic to chicken.
To make chicken meal, whole chickens are dried and then ground into a powder.
Meat, skin, and bones all make up chicken meal.
Feathers and chicken feet, both of which are considered waste, are not included.
Dry dog food’s moisture level can be maintained with the addition of chicken meal or another type of meat meal.
A food with a dry texture and a high proportion of wet ingredients is likely to become moldy.
This component is made up of chicken tissue fat.
Chicken allergies are brought on by a protein allergen and not by fats.
The consumption of animal fats or byproducts, however, may still cause gastric discomfort in certain dogs that are sensitive to chicken.
Chicken fat is an excellent source of animal fat with a high linoleic (omega-6) acid concentration.
In addition to being a more natural supply of omega-3 fatty acids, chicken fat also gives our dogs’ food a better flavor.
It is a natural source of animal fat that gives your pet access to critical fatty acids, which are necessary for healthy growth and development.
Additionally, fats aid the body’s assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
In particular, vitamin D aids in the body’s absorption of calcium and maintains the health and strength of your dog’s bones.
By-products are not the best ingredients present in dog food.
By-products are whatever is left over from the chicken carcass that cannot be sold for human consumption.
This can include things like chicken feet, organs, heads, backs, and any other chicken waste.
Although these by-products are safe for your dog to eat, they are not as good as chicken meal or deboned chicken.
Chicken by-products can cause upset stomachs and are not recommended for dogs that are allergic or intolerant to chicken.
What Can You Replace Chicken With?
Nowadays there is a much bigger variety of dog foods available on the market for you to choose from.
Here are some very good chicken replacements that you can consider:
Chicken is an excellent source of protein but it can cause allergies in some dogs.
If your Cavapoo is allergic to chicken or has developed an intolerance to this protein then you have to feed them a chicken-free diet.
My top choice for a chicken free dog food is Wellness Complete Health Adult Whitefish Dog Food.
Dogs can get plenty of lean protein substitutes for chicken that will make them feel better.
Before making any dietary modifications to your dog’s diet it is recommended to speak with your local veterinarian.
Have a look at this article about the best food for Cavapoos if you are looking for dog food that does contain chicken.