In this article you will find:
- Overall Best Dog Foods without Chicken in 2020
- What is the Best Chicken Free Dog Food in 2020
- 1. Nom Nom Heartland Beef Mash
- 2. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
- 3. American Journey LID Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
- 4. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
- 5. Wellness CORE Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe
- 6. Instinct by Nature's Variety L.I.D. Recipe with Real Lamb
- 7. Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food
- 8. Zignature Trout & Salmon Meal Limited Ingredient Formula
- 9. Lotus Oven-Baked Duck Small Bites Recipe
- Why Should You Avoid Chicken in Dog Food?
- What Are Some Healthy Alternatives to Chicken?
- What is the most common food allergy in dogs?
- What food is best for dogs with skin allergies?
- What is chicken meal in dog food made of?
- Is fish or chicken better for dogs?
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.
Whether you are completely new to dog ownership or you already have many years of experience under your belt, you have come to the right place. Here at DogFood.Guide we are dedicated to providing dog owners like you with the information you need to be the best dog owner you can be.
DogFood.Guide is maintained by Mary Nielsen, an animal lover of both dogs and cats. Mary has been passionate about animals all her life and works hard to provide you with a wealth of information about training and caring for your dog.
Best of all, Mary is always available to answer questions and you will find that the library of articles posted on DogFood.Guide grows continuously in response to your questions and suggestions.
Here is a Sneak Peek at the Overall Best Dog Foods without Chicken:
OUR TOP 3 PICKS FOR DOG FOODS WITHOUT CHICKEN
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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:
Nom Nom Beef Mash
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Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula
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American Journey L.I.D.
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Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach
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Wellness CORE Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe
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Instinct L.I.D. Recipe with Real Lamb
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Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food
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Zignature Trout & Salmon Meal Limited Ingredient Formula
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Lotus Oven-Baked Small Bites Duck Recipe
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What is the Best Chicken Free Dog Food in 2020
- Nom Nom Heartland Beef Mash
- Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula
- American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon
- Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
- Wellness CORE Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe
- Instinct by Nature's Variety L.I.D. Recipe
- Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food
- Zignature Trout & Salmon Meal Limited Ingredient Formula G
- Lotus Oven-Baked Small Bites Duck Recipe
1. Nom Nom Heartland Beef Mash
First 5 Ingredients : Beef, Potatoes, Eggs, Carrots, Peas
Best Overall: A San Francisco Bay Area company, Nom Nom Now Fresh Pet Food specializes in providing fresh, prepared meals for dogs. Each pre-portioned recipe uses a healthy mix of whole and natural ingredients — all appropriate for human consumption — with supplements thrown in for good measure.
There are no fillers or preservatives included because the food is cooked twice a week in the company’s dedicated kitchen and delivered to your door to ensure maximum freshness.
Nom Nom contains levels of protein and fat that are higher than its competitors. This is quite an impressive feat as limited ingredient diets are quite often lacking in these two areas. As well as being nutritious, we also believe Nom Nom to be the tastiest for dogs.
By cutting out the plant proteins that are typically found in dry dog food to boost the protein content, your dog will be less likely to suffer from digestive distress.
The formula is grain-free and contains no fillers. The meat is also sourced from farms that provide vegetable-fed and hormone-free meat. All these factors make Nom Nom a step above other luxury dog foods.
Every Nom Nom meal is developed by a veterinary nutritionist and designed to give pets more energy, silkier coats, increased stamina, and a healthier body. It’s real science with real results.
2. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
First 5 Ingredients : Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas
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.
3. American Journey LID Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
First five ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Peas, Pea Starch, Sweet Potatoes
Most Affordable: Dog parents who are grain-free enthusiasts will love the Salmon version of American Journey’s Limited Ingredient dog food. Savory real deboned salmon will greet your pup with every bite, giving your pet a protein-rich diet, with protein making up 22% of the meal.
Made with easily digestible carbohydrates like peas and sweet potatoes, this grain-free kibble is ideal for dogs with food sensitivities.
The brand didn’t just stop at protein. American Journey also added nourishing ingredients such as omega fatty acids for healthy coat and skin, calcium for strong bones, zinc for thyroid and immune function, Vitamin E for healthy muscles, and a whole lot more nutrients and minerals for a complete and balanced diet.
The formula contains well sourced high-quality ingredients and limits its source to Salmon. It contains Chickpeas and Peas which are considered high-quality sources of carbohydrates. In addition, they provide fiber for healthy digestion.
This recipe is made to be as healthy as possible with no grain or by-product ingredients. There are no artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors to cause food sensitivities, either.
4. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula
First 5 Ingredients : Salmon, Barley, Ground Rice, Canola Meal, Oat Meal
It is made with nutrient-rich salmon as the first ingredient for a protein-rich recipe. Plus, it has prebiotic fiber for sensitive stomach for a highly-digestible formula that nourishes the beneficial bacteria found in your dog's intestine.
This special recipe includes ingredients, such as rice and oat meal to provide easily digestible sources of carbohydrates for your pet. Plus, it’s packed with fish oil—a source of omega 3 fatty acids—to help support healthy joints and mobility, and omega 6 fatty acids and zinc to nourish your dog's skin and keep his coat looking healthy. And best of all, it’s made without corn, wheat or soy.
This food is somewhat high in carbs, which is lowering the fat & protein content slightly, making it nutritionally less balanced compared to other dog food brands we evaluated.
Carbohydrates are not of excellent quality so they keep the food’s cost low. They are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts, however, high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.
5. Wellness CORE Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon Recipe
First 5 Ingredients : Whitefish, Herring Meal, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas
Wellness Core – Ocean Formula is of a high-quality dry pet food. Its nutrient profile is obviously above average and it provides high proportions of protein with low levels of carbohydrates.
With real whitefish as the first ingredient alongside herring, salmon and menhaden fish meals, this nutrient-dense, grain-free recipe contains all the protein needed to help your adult dog maintain lean, powerful muscles.
It is fortified with antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine and probiotics to make sure his immune system, skin and coat, joints and gastrointestinal systems stay healthy and strong throughout his life.
Wellness Core – Ocean Formula contains a large range of vegetables and a variety of fish ingredients, this means it may not be suitable for dogs that suffer from allergies or sensitivities.
6. Instinct by Nature's Variety L.I.D. Recipe with Real Lamb
First 5 Ingredients : Lamb Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Pea Protein, Canola Oil, Lamb
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.
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.
7. Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Dog Food
First 5 Ingredients : Beef Meat, Beef Liver, Beef Lung, Beef Tripe, New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel
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.
8. Zignature Trout & Salmon Meal Limited Ingredient Formula
First 5 Ingredients : Trout, Salmon Meal, Peas, Pea Flour, Pea Protein
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.
9. Lotus Oven-Baked Duck Small Bites Recipe
First 5 Ingredients : Duck, Duck Meal, Tapioca Flour, Fish Meal, Dried Peas
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 is specifically formulated for small dogs.3
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.
Why Should You Avoid Chicken in Dog Food?
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.
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.
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.
What is the most common food allergy in dogs?
The most common food allergens in dogs are proteins, especially those from dairy products, beef, lamb, chicken, chicken eggs, soy or gluten (from wheat). Each time a pet eats food containing these substances, the antibodies react with the antigens and symptoms occur.
What food is best for dogs with skin allergies?
Nom Nom, Wellness, Canidae, Taste of the Wild, Zignature, FreshPet, Purina, Blue Buffalo, Ziwi Peak.
What is chicken meal in dog food made of?
Chicken meal is rendered chicken meat that has been dried and ground up, and includes clean flesh, skin, and/or accompanying bone. But if you see a bag of dog food that proudly states it's made with Real Chicken, it's referring to a clean combination of chicken flesh and skin.
Is fish or chicken better for dogs?
Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which according to veterinarians may have health benefits such as decreasing inflammation. Fish is also a good alternative for dogs with food allergies to more common ingredients, like chicken.