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9 Best Dog Foods without Chicken: 2020 Chicken Free Guide

When you think about the most common types of meat used in dog food, chicken is probably what comes to mind first. If you’re looking for a chicken-free dog food, consider one of our top-rated choices reviewed below.

Here is a Sneak Peek at the Overall Best Dog Foods without Chicken:

Most Affordable
best dog food without chicken

American Journey LID

  • Hhigh-quality animal proteins
  • Extremely Affordable

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Most Popular
best chicken free dog food

Taste of the Wild High Pacific

  • Natural recipe with added vitamins
  • Made in the USA & Affordable

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Best Overall

NomNomNow Beef

  • Delivered to your door
  • Contains no Chicken
  • 50% off First Order

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Why Should You Avoid Chicken in Dog Food?

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Like humans, dogs can develop an allergy to virtually any type of food, especially with repeated exposure. Some of the most common food allergens for dogs are corn, wheat, and dairy, but there are a number of common proteins on the list as well – chicken is one of them. If your dog has an allergy or sensitivity triggered by chicken, he might not develop digestive problems immediately after eating the food. In fact, many pet food allergies present with skin-related symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of food allergies in dogs include dry itchy skin, excessive scratching or licking, hot spots, bald patches, and skin infections. The longer your dog continues to eat the food that is causing his allergy, the worse his symptoms are going to get.

The primary reason to avoid dog foods made with chicken is, of course, the potential to trigger an allergy. If you already know that your dog is allergic to chicken, you should immediately find a new dog food that doesn’t contain any chicken-based ingredients. Even if your dog isn’t allergic to chicken, however, it might not be a bad idea to avoid it just because there will always be the potential for your dog to develop an allergy. You should also consider that there are many other animal proteins out there which might offer more nutritional benefits. For example, game meats like venison and bison tend to be even leaner than chicken and less likely to trigger food allergies. You’ll learn more about nutritious alternatives to chicken in the next section.

What Are Some Healthy Alternatives to Chicken?

When it comes to your dog’s nutritional needs, protein is the most important nutrient. Your dog needs plenty of protein in his diet not only to sustain growth and development but to help him maintain his lean muscle mass as well. The best sources of protein for dogs are animal-based sources such as meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Animal proteins are complete proteins which means that they contain all of the essential amino acids your dog needs in his diet. If chicken isn’t a good option for your dog, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of animal-based protein alternatives – here is a quick rundown:

  • Beef – This is a type of red meat so it will be higher in calories and fat than chicken but it is also very rich in iron and zinc. A three-ounce serving of 85% lean beef contains 213 calories with 13 grams of fat, zero carbohydrates, and 22 grams of protein.
  • Bison – A very lean source of protein (and a novel protein, at that), bison is also rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Three ounces of bison contains about 122 calories with 2 grams of fat, 24 grams of protein, and no carbohdrates.
  • Duck – This type of meat contains a good bit of fat, but largely in the skin which can be removed. A three-ounce serving of duck breast contains about 120 calories with 2 grams of fat, 24 grams of protein, and 0 grams carbohydrate.
  • Eggs – Though not typically used as the primary source of protein in dog food, eggs are a complete protein option that works well as supplementary protein. One large egg contains about 78 calories with 5 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 0.6 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Fish – There are many different types of fish that are used in dog food including herring, salmon, whitefish, menhaden, and more. Fish tends to be fairly low in calories compared to other meats and it is rich in omega fatty acids.
  • Lamb – A less common red meat than beef, lamb is rich in zinc, selenium, niacin, and phosphorus. Three ounces of lamb shank contains about 171 calories with 11.4 grams of fat, no carbs, and 15 grams of protein.
  • Pork – This is an animal protein that isn’t very common in dog food, though it can be a good source of complete protein that is also rich in niacin, zinc, vitamin B6 and potassium. A three-ounce serving of pork loin meat contains 205 calories with 12 grams of fat, 23 grams of protein, and no carbs.
  • Rabbit – Often labeled a novel or exotic protein, rabbit meat is an excellent source of protein and it is rich in potassium, selenium, phosphorus, and iron. Three ounces of rabbit meat contains about 150 calories with 7 grams of fat, 25 grams of protein, and no carbs.
  • Turkey – Another type of poultry like chicken, turkey tends to be fairly lean and it contains plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and B vitamins. A three-ounce serving of turkey breast (boneless and skinless) contains about 115 calories with one gram of fat, 26 grams of protein, and no carbs.
  • Venison – A type of game meat and a lean source of protein, venison is also rich in niacin, iron, Vitamin B6, and L-carnitine. Three ounces of roasted venison contains about 135 calories with 2.7 grams of fat, 0 grams carbohydrate, and 26 grams of protein.

In addition to considering the type of protein in your dog’s food, you also need to think about whether you want a product made with fresh meat or meat meal. You might think that fresh meat is always the best option, but that isn’t necessarily true. Fresh meats can contain 70% moisture by volume (or more) which means that when the dog food is cooked and processed, the final volume is likely to be much lower because most of the moisture cooks out. Meat meals, on the other hand, are simply fresh meats that have been cooked to remove moisture, bringing them down to about 10%. This makes meat meal a much more highly concentrated source of protein than fresh meat. Either option is an excellent ingredient for dog food, it just matters how much crude protein there is and that it comes from high-quality sources.

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Overall Best Dog Foods without Chicken in 2020

Most dog food brands have at least one product that features chicken as the primary ingredient. There are, however, plenty of brands out there that use alternative sources of protein. If you’re looking for a dog food brand that offers a decent selection of chicken-free formulas, try one of our top 5 choices that are reviewed below:

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Lamb Dry Dog Food

First 5 Ingredients : Lamb Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Pea Protein, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Lamb

Instinct by Nature's Variety Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Lamb Dry Dog Food

Our Pick : Best Chicken-Free Dry Dog Food: Nature’s Variety is a pet food company dedicated to empowering people to transform the lives of their pets through the power of quality nutrition. This company is the leader in raw nutrition and they believe wholeheartedly that good health for pets starts with good food. Nature’s Variety designs each of their products in keeping with a holistic approach to pet nutrition and they use only the highest quality ingredients available. This company actually offers two different brands of pet food – Prairie and Instinct. The Prairie line of products features simple but wholesome recipes that are made with quality proteins, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables – they are also designed for affordability. The Instinct brand encompasses multiple product lines including grain-free, high-protein, limited ingredient diet, and freeze-dried formulas.

If you’re looking for a pet food brand that offers a wide selection of products made without chicken, Nature’s Variety Instinct is definitely one to consider. This brand of pet food is made with premium proteins like turkey, duck, rabbit, venison, salmon, and more as well as wholesome gluten-free and grain-free carbohydrates in many of their recipes. Some of the product lines this brand has to offer are the Ultimate Protein line of meat-rich recipes, the Originals line of grain-free kibble, and the Raw Boost line of high-protein kibble infused with freeze-dried raw pieces. They also offer a selection of raw patties and nuggets plus a line of raw meal blends.

Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food

First 5 Ingredients : Beef Meat, Beef Liver, Beef Lung, Beef Tripe, New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel

Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food

Best Chicken-Free Wet Dog Food: Though it is generally a good idea to purchase dog food made in the United States, ZiwiPeak is one of the few pet food companies outside the USA that is worthy of your consideration. This company is based in New Zealand and all of their ingredients are sources from ethical farming establishments. ZiwiPeak says of their products that they are “Born of love” and “crafted with goodness”. Their recipes consist of 98% fresh meat, organs, bones, and seafood and every product is both nutrient- and energy-dense. Rather than subjecting their products to harsh high-heat manufacturing processes, their pet foods are prepared using a twin-stage air-drying process that is slow and gentle to preserve more of the original nutrient content of the raw ingredients. This company also offers an assortment of canned foods, dog treats, and dental chews.

When it comes to their dog food products, ZiwiPeak uses a wide variety of different proteins including lamb, venison, mackerel, beef, and tripe. Each recipe is complete and balanced for all breeds and life stages so your dog can enjoy their foods throughout his entire lifespan. ZiwiPeak ensures that every recipe is high in natural protein and packed with more nutritional power than traditional kibble and canned foods. This brand also makes sure to use a shorter list of ingredients than many brands which helps to reduce the risk for food allergies or sensitivities. ZiwiPeak describes their products as “premium and pure” because they contain no corn, wheat, soy, or other grains and they are all free from rendered meats, preservatives, and artificial additives.

Zignature Trout & Salmon Meal Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

First 5 Ingredients : Trout, Salmon Meal, Peas, Pea Flour, Pea Protein

Zignature Trout & Salmon Meal Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food Without Chicken: Though this company might have a strange name, there is no doubt that it is one of the top brands of premium pet food currently on the market. Zignature is a pet food company based in the United States, though they source their ingredients from around the world. Most of their fish comes from the Pacific Northwest while their poultry comes from the Midwest. Duck is flown in from France, lamb from New Zealand, and Kangaroo from Australia. They also use a wide variety of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables and botanicals for nutritional balance and flavor. What truly sets this brand apart from the competition, however, is the fact that all of their recipes start with meat or fish as the main ingredient with meat meal or fish meal as the second ingredient to guarantee a high-protein diet. Zignature only uses low-glycemic carbohydrates as well and they don’t use any fillers or artificial additives.

When it comes to their dog food products, Zignature uses a variety of premium proteins including salmon, venison, lamb, duck, kangaroo, trout and more. Each recipe is loaded with complete proteins and supplemented with fiber-rich, low-glycemic grains as well as fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance. None of their products contains any corn, wheat, or soy ingredients and all of their products are dairy-free as well. What you’ll really be happy to hear, however, is that all of Zignature’s dog foods are hypoallergenic and made without any chicken, chicken eggs, or chicken by-products. Most of their proteins are novel proteins as well, so you don’t have to worry about triggering your dog’s food allergies or sensitivities.

Lotus Oven-Baked Duck Small Bites Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

First 5 Ingredients : Duck, Duck Meal, Tapioca Flour, Fish Meal, Dried Peas

Lotus Oven-Baked Duck Small Bites Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Chicken-Free Dog Food for Small Dogs: The Lotus Natural Food for Pets company offers a line of holistic, oven-baked dry foods for dogs as well as an assortment of canned foods and raw food. Each of their recipes is created to promote a long, happy, and healthy life for pets. This company uses only the highest quality animal proteins like poultry and lamb as well as wholesome fruits and veggies that are bursting with nutrients and antioxidants. Lotus chooses to bake their pet foods instead of using the traditional process of extrusion in order to preserve more of the natural nutrient content from the raw ingredients. You may even notice what looks like grill marks on their kibbles because they are baked, not extruded. This pet food company sources all of their ingredients from the United States with the exception of some of their novel proteins (like lamb, lamb meal, and New Zealand Green Mussel) and their foods are prepared in small batches in a family-owned and -operated Canadian bakery.

If you’re looking for a high-quality dog food made without any chicken ingredients, Lotus has several options to choose from. For dry dog food, Lotus offers an assortment of original and grain-free recipes featuring premium proteins like lamb, turkey, duck and fish. In addition to being protein-rich, these recipes are also highly digestible, made with potatoes, peas, tapioca, and other grain-free carbohydrates. Each recipe is also supplemented with chelated minerals for nutritional balance and dried fermentation produces for probiotic support. In terms of their wet food offerings, Lotus has several canned stews made with meats like turkey, beef, pork, and venison as well as two meat-only recipes made with beef or pork in a flavorful sauce.

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

First 5 Ingredients : Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Chicken-Free Puppy Food – If any pet food brand understands the nutritional needs of dogs, it is Taste of the Wild. This brand understands that dogs crave fresh meat and natural flavors which is exactly what they feature in each of their recipes. All of their products are grain-free and made with premium proteins, designed to mimic the natural ancestral diet of wild wolves. Taste of the Wild isn’t your average pet food company – they use a wide variety of premium roasted meats in their formulas as well as grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, and beneficial supplements. Simply put, this brand creates formulas that represent the “balanced diet that nature intended”.

Taste of the Wild offers both dry food and wet food formulas, most of which are formulated for adult dogs, though they do offer two puppy recipes. This brand has a limited selection of products, but you can rest assured that each one delivers premium-quality nutrition and plenty of natural flavor. Taste of the Wild use a variety of roasted meats including venison, bison, lamb, salmon, wild boar, and more to not just meet, but exceed your dog’s needs for meat-rich protein. Every recipe is supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion and chelated minerals for maximum nutrient absorption. No matter which chicken-free recipe you choose for your dog, he is bound to love it and you’ll love the quality of the nutrition it has to offer.

Chicken is not necessarily a bad ingredient in dog food but it may not be the best choice for all dogs. Whether your dog has a food allergy or you simply want to go with a more exotic protein, try one of our top five chicken-free dog food brands reviewed above.

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