Chicken is commonly found in many pet foods. It’s an inexpensive way to add lean protein and healthy nutrients to your dog’s food to keep them at their best. However, sometimes a chicken-free diet is necessary for your pup.
If your dog has allergies or sensitivities to chicken and other poultry, you’ll need to find a different food that still meets their dietary needs. To help, we compiled this list of the best chicken-free dog foods. These reviews will help you find a healthy alternative that your dog is sure to love.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorite Picks (2023)
|Best Overall||Ollie 'Lamb' Fresh Dog Food Subscription||
||Click to Save 50%|
|Best Value||Diamond Naturals Lamb Dry Dog Food||
|Orijen Amazing Grains Dry Dog Food||
|Best for Puppies||Solid Gold Wolf Cub Dry Puppy Food||
|Vet’s Choice||Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Dog Food||
The 10 Best Chicken-Free Dog Foods
1. Ollie ‘Lamb’ Fresh Dog Food Subscription — Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, butternut squash, lamb liver, kale, rice|
|Calories:||400 per cup|
Ollie’s Fresh Lamb Dog Food isn’t just free of chicken. It also lacks fillers, preservatives, and other things you don’t want your dog eating. This fresh dog food is made from gently cooked premium ingredients. The pre-portioned packages are shipped right to your door, making this by far the easiest way to feed your dog.
Butternut squash, kale, and rice help give active dogs the energy that they need. Lamb liver provides additional vitamins and minerals. The food supports the immune system and overall health, making it the best overall chicken-free dog food.
It does require a subscription, and can be a little pricey, but we think it’s well worth it, especially if your dog can’t eat chicken.
2. Diamond Naturals Dog Food — Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Lamb meal, ground white rice, cracked pearl barley, grain sorghum, egg product|
|Calories:||403 per cup|
Our choice for the best chicken-free dog food for the money is Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice Dry Dog Food. Even though it does not contain chicken, consumers don’t see a drastic price increase. The ingredients include a mix of fruits and vegetables like blueberries, oranges, carrots, papaya, spinach, and even coconut to give your pup the vitamins and minerals that they need to stay healthy. Pumpkin and dried chicory root provide fiber while being easy on the digestive system.
Omega fatty acids keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy and moisturized. This food also contains probiotics, antioxidants, and prebiotics for immune health and overall wellness. It does not include any artificial flavors or colors. We like the real lamb protein in the food, which satisfies your dog’s carnivorous cravings while giving them the amino acids that they need for strong bone and muscle development.
3. Orijen Amazing Grains Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Beef, wild boar, lamb, beef liver, pork|
|Calories:||483 per cup|
The Orijen Amazing Grains Regional Red Dry Dog Food is packed with real protein from various animal sources. With 90% animal ingredients, this food contains a whopping 38% protein and other nutrient-dense ingredients. The animal ingredients that make up a WholePrey Diet include meat, organs, cartilage, and bone, mimicking a dog’s wild diet and giving them the most nutritious parts of the prey. Apples, pears, butternut squash, cranberries, and collard greens give your dog essential vitamins and minerals.
This food contains a blend of grains, including oats, quinoa, and chia to give your dog added fiber and support digestive health. Pollock oil will keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
4. Solid Gold Wolf Cub Dry Puppy Food — Best for Puppies
|Main ingredients:||Bison, ocean fish meal, brown rice, oatmeal, peas|
|Calories:||345 per cup|
This Solid Gold Wolf Cub Bison & Oatmeal Dry Puppy Food is formulated for large breed puppies. It’s made with bison for healthy protein, and it has a unique blend of 20 superfoods that are nutrient-dense and provide puppies with quality nutrition. These foods include almond oil, broccoli, kelp, blueberries, and carrots. You’ll be giving your pup added fiber and antioxidants to help them thrive. Nutritious whole grains and probiotics are added for healthy digestion and gut health.
This well-balanced food includes omega fatty acids for a shiny, healthy coat. This is our best choice for a chicken-free food for puppies because it gives dogs everything that they need to grow healthy and strong with no poultry.
5. Farmina N&D Mini Breed Dog Food — Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, dehydrated lamb, whole spelt, whole oats, dried whole eggs|
|Calories:||395 per cup|
The Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Lamb & Blueberry Mini Breed Dry Dog Food is made of 60% animal ingredients, 20% organic spelt and oats, and 20% fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. The N&D stands for “natural and delicious,” with a high protein content from quality protein sources. Lamb and dehydrated lamb are the first ingredients.
The kibble size of this food is made for mini to small breeds. Antioxidants are added in the form of pomegranates and berries to fight free radicals. This is low-glycemic food that won’t spike blood sugar, making it a great option for dogs that need their glucose levels monitored.
6. Natural Balance Duck & Potato Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Duck, duck meal, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tapioca starch|
|Calories:||370 per cup|
The protein-rich Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Duck & Potato Dry Dog Food is made with duck meat to support bone and muscle health. The potatoes in the ingredients add fiber to the formula, helping with digestion.
This limited-ingredient food is ideal for dogs that have allergies and sensitivities to certain ingredients. This formula contains no artificial colors or flavors that can trigger allergic reactions in some dogs. The added flaxseed helps promote a healthy immune system.
In some bags, the kibble pieces are clumped together. There are also reports of the food causing bad breath in dogs.
7. Instinct Be Natural Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Salmon, menhaden fish meal, oatmeal, barley, brown rice|
|Calories:||423 per cup|
The Instinct Be Natural Real Salmon & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food is made without fillers and includes raw-coated kibble for rich flavor and added nutrients. Each kibble piece is rolled with freeze-dried raw fish, giving your dog more protein and health benefits. Raw, unprocessed foods can help with digestion, give dogs more energy and vitality, help control weight, improve the conditions of skin and coat, and just make your dog more excited to eat at mealtimes.
The wild-caught salmon in this food promotes lean, healthy muscles. There are no artificial colors or preservatives, and the food is balanced and formulated for dogs of all ages. This is an ideal option for dogs with food sensitivities, and it’s made from the finest ingredients around the world.
8. Zignature Select Cuts Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, lamb meal, oats, millet, sunflower meal|
|Calories:||380 per cup|
The Zignature Select Cuts Lamb & Lamb Meal Dry Dog Food is made with real lamb sourced from New Zealand. The millet and oats are grown in the United States and Canada.
All Zignature formulas are “physiologically tuned,” meaning they’re formulated to not only meet the nutritional needs of your dog but also satisfy their instinctual cravings. This single-protein source food is ideal for dogs that need to stick to one protein due to sensitivities or allergies.
The oats provide fiber and antioxidants, and there is also flaxseed, millet, quinoa, and alfalfa meal in this food. Unfortunately, there are reports of this food being dusty and crumbling into pieces while in the bag.
9. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Real Beef Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Deboned beef, pork meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal|
|Calories:||386 per cup|
A healthy, chicken-free option is the Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Real Beef & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food. Deboned beef is the first ingredient, but the food also uses salmon, lamb, and pork meal to boost the protein content. Your dog will be getting the essential amino acids that they need, with ancient grains like quinoa to help with digestion.
Omega fatty acids promote skin and coat health. Dogs can also benefit from the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints.
Dogs may need time to adjust to the fiber in this food. Some dogs experience loose stools and frequent bowel movements after transitioning to this diet.
10. The Honest Kitchen Food Clusters Beef & Oat Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Beef, oats, barley, beef liver, turkey|
|Calories:||422 per cup|
The Honest Kitchen Food Clusters Beef & Oat Dog Food is made in a human food facility. It offers delicious nutrition for dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes. The clusters in the food are made of ranch-raised beef. It’s cold-pressed and then dehydrated for pure nutritional quality.
The clusters also contain liver, oats, and probiotics for easy digestion, high protein, and gut health. Every batch of this food is made specifically to lock in nutrition and keep the great taste of meat that dogs enjoy. Your dog will receive healthy fats, like coconut oil, chia seeds, salmon oil, and low-glycemic carbs in every bite. Carrots and broccoli provide whole food antioxidants.
The food does not require hydration before feeding it to your dog, but you can add water to it if it makes it more palatable for them.
Buyer’s Guide: Buying the Best Chicken-Free Dog Food
Searching for the best chicken-free dog food for your pup can be a daunting task, but here are a few things to help make it a little easier.
The protein source in your dog’s food is one of the most important things to look for. Since your pup can’t eat chicken, you’ll want to make sure a chicken protein source isn’t included in the ingredients.
If the protein source is labeled as “meat,” this can include heart tissue, esophagus tissue, and gristle of a type of meat that people eat too. By-products refer to animal parts that don’t include meat. These are non-rendered and include organs, tissues, and bones.
Foods with single-protein sources may be better for dogs that suffer from allergies. Too many protein sources increase the risk of your dog being allergic to one of them. If you know which protein your dog can easily digest without issues, try to stick with that protein as the main source in the ingredient list.
The ingredient list on your dog’s food package will be listed in order, from the most present to the least. You can tell the quality of the dog food by looking at the order of ingredients. A high-quality protein source should be the first ingredient on the list so you know that it’s a healthy option for your dog. If the first ingredients are fillers, you know that your dog will be getting less protein in their meals.
Check out the guaranteed analysis on your dog’s food package. Some dog food companies find it difficult to add proper protein sources without using chicken, which is inexpensive. You want to make sure the protein is high even without the use of this ingredient. The protein content should always be the highest number in the analysis.
A dog food that offers balanced nutrition will include ingredients for digestive, immune, coat, skin, and joint health in addition to protein.
Not every dog has the same dietary needs. When you’re shopping for a chicken-free dog food, consider your dog’s age, activity level, weight, and health condition. Puppies need different nutrition than adult and senior dogs. Your dog should be eating a food that is balanced and formulated for their life stage.
Make Sure It’s Chicken Free
The front label of a dog food package may state that it’s made with lamb and rice, but you can then read the ingredient list and see that chicken is included in the formula. Chicken is such a common ingredient in dog food, that it can be difficult to find a brand that doesn’t use it at all in a few of its flavor options.
Always scan the ingredients on any promising option to confirm that chicken is not used in the food.
You may have found the healthiest option you can — it has a high protein content, healthy nutrients, and no chicken. You fill your dog’s bowl with it, only to watch them sniff it and walk away.
It can take a while for your dog to get used to a new food, especially if you are cutting chicken from their diet completely. Sometimes, it takes a bit of trial and error to find a food that is appropriate for your dog and still tastes good to them.
Our best overall choice for chicken-free dog food is Ollie’s Fresh Lamb Dog Food. Lamb is the protein source and it includes great ingredients for gut health. For a good value buy, we like Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice Dry Dog Food. The protein source is lamb and it includes essential vitamins and minerals. The Orijen Amazing Grains Regional Red Dry Dog Food is our premium pick and is made with several high-quality proteins from animal sources. For puppies, we like the Solid Gold Wolf Cub Bison & Oatmeal Dry Puppy Food. It has bison and ocean fish meal for protein and includes oatmeal for easy digestion. Our vet’s choice is Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Lamb & Blueberry Mini Breed Dry Dog Food. It is a low-glycemic food that won’t spike blood sugar.
We hope that these reviews have helped you decide on the right chicken-free dog food for your pup!
Featured Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels