10 Best Dog Food Without Chicken: 2020 Review & Buying Guide

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

Some dogs are more naturally prone to allergies or food intolerances than others, but there are also certain ingredients that are more common allergens than others. One of these, surprisingly, is chicken.

It’s not enough to simply choose a flavor such as beef or salmon when looking for a dog food without chicken. A high-quality, non-chicken protein source is essential, but you’ll need to make sure that there is no chicken meal as an additional protein source.

If your pup has a chicken intolerance, you’ll find plenty of good, healthy dog foods on this list of best dog food without chicken.

Product Name
Best Overall For Most Dogs
Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Pork & Squash, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
Venture Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Diamond Naturals Grain Free Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food With Real Fish 28Lb
Rating
Our Rating 92 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Limited ingredients, which means a single protein source
Multiple high-quality, unusual flavours available
High-quality and affordable
Pro 2
High protein and biologically appropriate
Also avoid other common allergens such as potato, grains, and egg
Good protein and fat levels for all ages, sizes, and breeds
Best Overall For Most Dogs
Rank
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Pork & Squash, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
Rating
Our Rating 92 / 100
Pro 1
Limited ingredients, which means a single protein source
Pro 2
High protein and biologically appropriate
Best Flavour Variations
Rank
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Venture Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Multiple high-quality, unusual flavours available
Pro 2
Also avoid other common allergens such as potato, grains, and egg
Best Budget Option
Rank
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Diamond Naturals Grain Free Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food With Real Fish 28Lb
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
High-quality and affordable
Pro 2
Good protein and fat levels for all ages, sizes, and breeds
Sources researched
33
Sources researched
Customer reviews
23,000
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
34
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

10 Best Dog Food Without Chicken

1. Acana Singles Dry Dog Food

Premium Option: High protein and biologically appropriate

Overall Rating92%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Source95%
No Artificial Ingredients90%
No Hidden Chicken93%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Variety of flavors, all chicken free
  • Limited ingredients, single source animal protein
  • All flavors contain glucosamine
  • All flavors have great Omega fatty acids, including DHA and EPA

CONS

  • Slightly pricey (but not unusual for a limited ingredient food)

These L.I. dry food recipes come in five different flavors, all of which are without chicken. They are perfect for dogs who have food allergies or intolerances, as they contain limited ingredients, are made up of biologically appropriate ingredients, and have nothing artificial in them at all. We recommend this as one of the best chicken free dog foods for your pup (even if they’re just a fussy eater!).

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Botanical Inclusions 

In addition to fruits and vegetables, these ingredients are sometimes seen in dog foods and they have great healthy and immune-boosting properties. What sets this dry food apart from others, though, is the fact that they separate these ingredients from others as specific botanical inclusions, giving emphasis to their importance within the make-up of the food. 

These inclusions would be things your pup would be chowing down if he or she was eating in the wild, so they’re natural and very good for your dog’s body. They’re also super for flavoring food naturally, and many have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties too, which will help a food allergy.

2. Earthborn Holistic Venture Grain-Free Dog Food

Best Flavor Variety: Unusual flavors available

Overall Rating90%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Source90%
No Artificial Ingredients90%
No Hidden Chicken90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Multiple high-quality, unusual flavors available
  • All flavors chicken free
  • Also avoid other common allergens such as potato, grains, and egg
  • No by-products

CONS

  • Slightly pricey
  • No glucosamine

Limited ingredient dog foods can often be disappointing in terms of flavor variety. This dry food, though, comes in six recipes, all of which avoid common allergens and are unique and tasty, while providing great protein, fat, and Omega fatty acids. It’s our choice as the best dog food without chicken for food allergies, in terms of flavor variety.

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Six Chicken-Free Flavours  

Your fussy pup can choose from six tasty recipes – duck, pollock, pork, rabbit, squid, and turkey. All of them are chicken free, which is super. They all contain great fruits and vegetables for fiber and long-term energy, and you won’t find any grains on an ingredient list. 

Varying Nutrient Values 

The nutrient values do vary based on which flavor you choose, but they’re all high protein (26% – 34%), have great fat contents for active pups, and are among the highest Omega fatty acids on the market (4% Omega-6 fatty acids and 1 – 1,5% Omega-3 fatty acids). 

The only thing that could possibly be considered a downside is that none of the flavors contain glucosamine, so if your pet needs it, you’ll have to buy supplements separate from their dog food.

3. Diamond Naturals Grain-Free Recipes

Best Value For Money: High quality and affordable

Overall Rating90%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Source90%
No Artificial Ingredients90%
No Hidden Chicken90%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Two of the three available flavors are without chicken
  • Both chicken free flavors contain DHA and high levels of Omega fatty acids
  • Good protein and fat levels for all ages, sizes, and breeds
  • Added probiotics and prebiotics

CONS

  • “Fish meal” is a little vague

It can be tough to find a high-quality dog food that fits into the budget, and even more so to find a chicken free dog food, as it’s one of the more affordable dog food ingredients. These grain-free dry food recipes from Diamond Naturals come in three variations, of which two have no chicken products in them at all.

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Premium Ingredient Quality 

Both chicken free dog food recipes begin with real meat and a meat meal (beef & fish meal), which gives this dog food a decent protein count. 24% may be too low for some, but it’s right within the range it should be for most dogs. Carbs include fruits and vegetables for immune boosting. Veggies include sweet potatoes, peas, and lentils, which are great energy providers as well as adding to the fiber content. Blueberries and raspberries add a nice dash of antioxidants. You won’t find any by-products, artificial stuff, or low-quality fillers in this affordable dog food. 

Good Nutrient Levels For All Dogs 

With 24% protein and 14% fat for both the beef and the whitefish flavors, these two are suitable for most dogs of most breeds. If your dog is highly active, they may require more protein, but in general, these are great numbers for moderately active dogs. 

Both of the flavors contain DHA, which is found in fish meal and helps boost brain function. However, neither of them contains glucosamine or chondroitin, so if you have a large breed, or a puppy or senior, you may want to look at supplementing with these.

4. Tylee’s Beef Recipe Human-Grade Frozen Dog Food

Best Human-Grade: You could have a bowl of this with your pup

Tylee's Human-Grade Beef Recipe Frozen Dog Food
Overall Rating90%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Source90%
No Artificial Ingredients90%
No Hidden Chicken90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Human-grade food – you could have a bowl of this with your pup if you wanted to!
  • A 6-lb bag yields 24 or 25 cups of food
  • Various chicken free flavors

CONS

  • Low in protein, so it may be best dog food for low-protein diets

Fresh, human-grade food is the best dog food after raw feeding as a healthy way to feed your fluff with a food allergy. Human-grade means that the ingredient list is filled with food you and I would eat, and this dog food is actually fit for human consumption. Nothing artificial, chemical, and no ingredients with long scientific names – this is just good food for good pups.

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Low Calorie, But Low Protein 

There are 189 calories per cup of the beef flavor (other flavors vary, but are also low in calories). Obviously it depends on the size of your pup as to how many cups he or she eats, but it’s generally lower in protein and fat than most kibble. Apart from that, it’s loaded with nutrients that your pup’s body will devour, and you should see an improvement in energy levels and general wellness.

5. Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Dog Treats

Best Chicken-Free Treats: Packed with minerals and Omegas

Overall Rating89%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Source90%
No Artificial Ingredients90%
No Hidden Chicken90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • All flavors contain a single source protein
  • Naturally preserved
  • High in animal protein
  • Packed with minerals and Omega fatty acids

CONS

  • Some of the treats can be a little crumbly

Sometimes, although we have the best intentions of removing chicken entirely from our pup’s diet, it’s easy to forget that their diet consists not only of their daily dog food but also the treats they snack on in between. Choosing a dry food without chicken but still feeding your pooch treats with chicken defeats the point a little, so we’ve added this review to show that there are some great options out there for chicken-free treats to supplement the best dog food.

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Nice Flavour Variety 

One of the super things about these treats is that there are 13 flavors in total, of which 11 are chicken-free. Of these 11, you won’t find a jot of chicken in any one of them. They contain a single source animal protein, so whatever flavor they are, that’s what they contain. Some of them use mixed tocopherols to preserve the treats naturally, but these are wonderfully limited in terms of what ingredients go into them.

Freeze-Dried, Raw & Fresh 

These treats are freeze-dried, which locks in the nutrients quite nicely. This makes them high in protein and vitamins, which is great for a treat your pooch will be getting between meals. 

They’re limited ingredient, contain no fillers, no by-products, no hormones or antibiotics, and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. These are pretty much the healthiest treats you can get without chicken, and the variety makes them even better.

6. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Senior Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato

Best For Seniors: Limited ingredient recipe for easier digestion

Overall Rating89%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Source90%
No Artificial Ingredients90%
No Hidden Chicken90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Completely without chicken
  • Limited ingredient recipe for easier digestion
  • Contains DHA and glucosamine and chondroitin, great for senior pets
  • Good Omega fatty acids to keep aging skin and fur nourished

CONS

  • No flavor variation
  • Slightly low in protein for seniors who are still quite active

Chicken is a super easily digestible ingredient, until it isn’t. The majority of senior-specific foods out there are made with chicken, and it can be hard to find one specifically for seniors without chicken. This offering from Blue Buffalo is our pick for the best dog food for seniors. It’s another limited ingredient recipe, and steers clear of many allergens, including chicken, beef, grains containing gluten, and eggs.

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Great Protein From Turkey 

Turkey is an animal protein that is quite similar to chicken but doesn’t aggravate food allergies or cause food sensitivities. It’s a lean white-meat animal protein and is super healthy and easy on your older pup’s stomach. The carbs include brown rice and oatmeal, and vegetables high in fiber such as peas, pumpkin, and potatoes. Canola oil, fish oil, and flaxseed provide a nice fat content. 

Low Protein & Fat For Less Active Pups 

The numbers on this dog food are somewhat lower than normal, making it a great option for those seniors who are slowing down and expending less energy during their day. 10% fat is a little less immediately expendable energy, so if your fluff is still fairly active, they may need a nice high-fat treat between meals to keep their energy levels up. 

7. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Canned Dog Food

Best Wet Food: Naturally preserved and flavoured

Overall Rating88%
Ingredient Quality85%
Protein Source90%
No Artificial Ingredients90%
No Hidden Chicken90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Contains no artificial ingredients
  • Various flavors available, many without chicken
  • Limited ingredient for less chance of sensitivities
  • Naturally preserved and flavored

CONS

  • Contains carrageenan, which is considered a low-quality thickening agent

Although most of the dog foods on this list are dry food, there are occasions where we as pet parents may find that a wet food is useful. Whether it’s added as a kibble topper to a fussy pet’s food, used as a medicine-concealer, given as a treat, or used as a meal when your pup struggles with kibble due to illness or injury, selecting a canned dog food without chicken is as important as a dry dog food.

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Limited Ingredient 

A limited ingredient wet food is also a great idea to limit the amount of foods your pet is exposed to, thereby reducing the chances of food sensitivities. 

If you are serious about limiting your pet’s exposure to ingredients, it’s a good idea to try and match the flavor of their wet food to the flavor of their dry dog food. This wet dog food comes in six flavors, five of which are safe for those intolerant to chicken – Lamb & Brown Rice, Buffalo & Sweet Potato, Venison & Sweet Potato, Duck & Potato, and Sweet Potato & Fish. 

8. Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food, Beef Recipe

Best For Puppies: Great protein levels for a growing pup

Overall Rating88%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Source90%
No Artificial Ingredients90%
No Hidden Chicken90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Great protein levels for a growing pup
  • Contains DHA to help your puppy’s brain and eyes develop
  • Perfect calcium/phosphorus ratio to grow strong bones
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin to strengthen joints

CONS

  • Somewhat pricey
  • No flavor variation

Sometimes pups are just born with food allergies or intolerances and don’t develop them over time. If your puppy has displayed a food allergy to chicken from the start, choosing to feed them a dog food without chicken that’s packed with healthy fruits and vegetables is the best way to get them off to a healthy start.

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Everything A Growing Puppy Needs 

Not only are the ingredients all super quality (and avoid chicken completely), but the nutrients on the guaranteed analysis list are great for a pup who is growing up. DHA is a necessity, as is a suitable calcium/phosphorus ratio. These two help your little one develop at the right pace. Glucosamine and chondroitin are always great, whether your pooch is a small breed or a large breed, or an adult or puppy.

9. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties

Best Raw Food: Raw food makes for easier digestion

Overall Rating88%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Source90%
No Artificial Ingredients90%
No Hidden Chicken90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Many chicken free flavors available
  • Raw food makes for easier digestion
  • Very high in animal protein, fat and Omega fatty acids
  • Minimally processed and nutrient-packed

CONS

  • Somewhat pricey
  • You may find yourself going through a packet quite quickly if you have a large, hungry dog

Raw feeding can be a great alternative to dry dog food, especially if your dog tends to develop intolerances or a food allergy towards kibble. If you’re keen to give it a try, these patties are a super option that’s tasty, nutritious, and best of all, chicken free.

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Transition To Raw To Limit Allergies 

If your pup has been eating normal dry food, you’ll need to mix some Stella & Chewy’s into their food in increasing amounts for about a week to a week and a half, until you can remove the old food completely. 

Raw diets can eliminate a lot of food allergies due to the unprocessed, pure nature of the ingredients. They’re packed with single source animal protein in the form of raw meat, cartilage, organ, and bone, which makes an extremely well-rounded nutritious food. Also present are fresh fruits and vegetables, just as your pet might chew on were they a wild animal. 

10. Canidae Pure Real Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient: You can avoid other common allergens

Overall Rating86%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Source90%
No Artificial Ingredients90%
No Hidden Chicken80%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • 10 or fewer ingredients in each recipe
  • Enough variety that your pooch can avoid other common allergens, such as potatoes
  • Probiotics added
  • Good Omega fatty acids

CONS

  • Some flavors aren’t chicken free
  • Somewhat expensive

Many of the dog foods on this list are limited ingredient, so this may not seem like such an interesting thing. But the fact is, chicken free foods are hard to find, and most of them will fall into a limited ingredient category as they are generally specific to food allergy or sensitive stomachs. This offering from Canidae is a super quality dog food, and although it’s a little pricey, it’s worth giving a try.

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Different Flavours Available 

There are a multitude of chicken flavors here, but there are also a good few others. Be careful, though – some of them contain sneak chicken ingredients. Salmon, bison, lamb, goat and venison, and wild boar flavors are great animal protein that’s safe for chicken-sensitive fluffs, while the duck and lamb flavors contain some chicken ingredients. 


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria 1 – Ingredient Quality

When dealing with a dog that has allergies or food intolerances, it’s important to make sure that you don’t just stop at avoiding the particular ingredient they react badly to. Food intolerances can arise to many different ingredients, so the best dog foods should only contain high-quality, natural ingredients

This criterion is an all-round quick look at the quality of the dog foods, and we won’t let you settle for something that isn’t top quality.

Criteria 2 – Protein Source

Obviously, we’ve avoided chicken here. That’s chicken meat and chicken meal – one is as bad as the other when your dog is sensitive to it. Of course, it’s still imperative that the food contains a decent animal protein source. The dog foods on this list are chicken free and contain premium animal protein such as beef, salmon, lamb, whitefish, turkey, and duck.

We’ve made sure to include a variety of other animal proteins – dogs have different tastes just like humans do, so we’ve included as many different chicken free flavors as we can to ensure there’s something for everyone!

Criteria 3 – Artificial Ingredients

It’s essential to make sure that the chances of your fluff developing more food allergies are as small as possible, and one of the most important things to do is make sure they’re avoiding any artificial ingredients. 

Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are not only unhealthy and non-nutritious, they’re totally unnecessary. Using natural preservatives, colors, and flavors is both easy and affordable these days. The best dog foods contain natural colors and flavors, as well as naturally occurring preservatives so your pup will be getting as much healthy, natural stuff in as possible.

Criteria 4 – No Hidden Chicken

Although chicken fat is a completely different ingredient to the protein part of the chicken, we’ve elected to stick to what we’ve stated in the heading – best dog food without chicken, and that includes chicken fat (although it doesn’t contribute to food allergies like the meat does). 

Many non-chicken flavored dog foods still contain chicken fat or chicken meal, so if you’re not looking closely at your ingredient list, you could end up inadvertently feeding your pup chicken ingredients. We’ve gone through each ingredient list carefully and made sure there’s no chicken meat, chicken meal, chicken fat, or other sneaky chicken things floating around.

Criteria 5 – Affordability

Being the pet parent of a pup who has food allergies can feel like a tough job. Vet’s visits, medications, and high-quality food might add up and make you feel like you’re spending more than you should be on making sure your pooch stays healthy. The best dog food should be easy on your dog’s tummy, and easy on your pocket.

It’s a big bonus if you can find a food that is all-natural, packed with nutrition, and decently priced. We’ve made sure to include a variety of prices here so there’s something for everyone – even the lower-priced dog foods on this list are on-par with the others, quality-wise.


Questions & Answers

How can I tell if my dog is allergic to chicken?

Chicken is a common allergen, and it can be hard to pinpoint which ingredient is the culprit in food allergies. If your pet is showing signs of skin irritation, unexplained scratching (especially around the ears and paws), or exhibits a reluctance to eat his food, it may be because the chicken is disagreeing with his system. 

The easiest way to tell if chicken is the culprit is to switch to an entirely chicken free food and see if the symptoms improve. Be patient – it can take up to 8 weeks for signs and symptoms to disappear as your pup’s body get used to the new food.

What’s the difference between food allergies and food intolerances?

Food allergies and intolerances are actually two different things, although both of them are uncomfortable and not fun at all for your pet. 

Food allergies cause a reaction in your pup’s immune system, which can result in many symptoms as your pet’s body tries to get rid of the allergen. These can include unexplained itching and scratching (especially around the ears and paws), and inflamed, red ears. Digestive upset can also be a symptom of an allergy. 

Food intolerances are purely digestive. This means that your dog’s stomach has a problem digesting and absorbing certain ingredients, and symptoms and signs can include vomiting or diarrhea. 

Can I use a food with chicken meal instead of real chicken?

Unfortunately, chicken meal is just as bad as chicken meat when it comes to allergies or food intolerances. This is because chicken meal is made from exactly the same stuff – chicken meat. While chicken meal is higher in protein than the meat, it’s no different to the meat, so it still aggravates food allergies and causes digestive upset in dogs who are sensitive to chicken. 

It’s best to avoid chicken entirely instead of trying to find appropriate forms of chicken to feed your pup! There are enough other options out there (including poultry) that you shouldn’t even need to consider chicken, whether it’s in meat or meal form.

If my dog is allergic to chicken, should he avoid other poultry as well?

All poultry is not the same, so your pet should be able to eat turkey and duck even if he or she struggles with chicken. These are the closest options to chicken, so if you would prefer to try and stay as close to chicken as possible, these are the ones you should go for. 

If, however, your pet displays the same symptoms then it’s a good idea to switch to something completely different. There are plenty of red meat and fish options that are just as high in protein as poultry, and they should eliminate the symptoms  your pet experiences with poultry. 

The best dog foods will always avoid poultry by-products though, so if you see these on the list (chicken or not), stay away.