The Best Dog Food Without Chicken (Review) in 2021

Last Updated October 5, 2020

Watching your beloved pet suffer from a food allergy is something that no dog owner should not have to go through. You tend to blame yourself – after all, you were the one who chose the food that caused your dog’s suffering. However, food allergies in dogs are much more prevalent than people tend to think think. In fact, a whopping ten percent of all allergy cases in dogs are food allergies, according to the former president of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Therefore, to put a stop to your dog’s suffering once and for all, you must carry out two consecutive tasks. Firstly, stop blaming yourself for your dog’s plight: you are not to place responsibility on yourself for a problem that affects countless canines every year. Secondly, you must dedicate yourself towards finding a dog food without chicken that works for them.

Thankfully, you’ve come to exactly the right place to ensure your dog receives the best dog food without chicken possible. As our product selection features the top dog food containing no chicken meat, chicken meal, or any poultry by-products, you’ll be spoiled for choice! And best of all, your dog will finally thrive.

The Best Dog Food Without Chicken


We’ve decided to start off our product selection with a bang by presenting to you Instinct’s Limited Ingredient diet recipe, entirely free from chicken. Real salmon constitutes this formula’s principal source of protein. Although buying this type of nourishment is expensive in comparison to cheaper protein sources such as beef, for dogs who are prone to allergic reactions in particular, salmon is a saving grace due to its rarity in dog kibble. In other words, your dog most likely won’t have developed an allergy towards this type of meat. Another feature that makes Instinct’s delightful Salmon recipe so desirable is the fact it features zero dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, or grain ingredients.

The formula’s grain and dairy-free construction keeps in line with its limited ingredient philosophy. Steering away from the trend of using a blend of proteins, grains, and countless vegetables earnestly followed by other pet food manufacturers, Instinct puts dogs susceptible to food allergies first by ensuring only one principal animal protein and one vegetable complete this kibble. We couldn’t recommend this brand enough.

For a full list of our favorite options, see our round-up of Nature’s Variety Dog Food.

Calorie content: 4,315 kcal/kg (495 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 24.0%

Minimum crude fat: 21.5%

Maximum crude fiber: 3.5%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Lamb Meal, Lamb, Tapioca

  • Brand: Instinct
  • Model: 769949658801
  • Weight: 20 pounds


Rightly dubbed as the premium product of this buying guide, ORIGEN harness the plentiful resources of the sea to create their Six Fish Dog Food. You guessed it – this formula combines six varieties of whole, wild-caught sustainable fish which together, make up 85% of protein and create a taste your dog only thought possible in their wildest dreams.

ORIJEN are always working on new, innovative ways to make their chicken-free dog food unbeatable. One example is the way the company cook one-third of the fish by gently drying them at 200 Fahrenheit in order to further enhance the protein oozing from this delectable meat. ORIJEN Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is one of 5 recipes included in our review of the Orijen Dog Food.

Calorie content:3,900 kcal/kg (445 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 38.0%

Minimum crude fat: 18.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 4.0%

Maximum moisture: 12.0%

First three ingredients: Whole Atlantic Mackerel, Whole Atlantic Herring, Monkfish

  • Brand: ORIJEN
  • Model: DOR4430-4.5
  • Weight: 4.41 pounds


Natural Balance are one of the pioneering brands behind limited ingredient diets perfect for dogs prone to food allergies, having first acknowledged their value over fifteen years ago. Their Sweet Potato and Fish formula is a testament to what thorough research into food sensitivities can achieve. Perfectly balanced with omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, the aromas and flavors from the sweet potato and salmon will encourage your dog to be enthusiastic about meal time once more.

The fruits and vegetables chosen for inclusion in this formula were selected to mimic the types of sustenance dogs’ ancestors would have survived on in the wild. Yet achieving this type of dietary composition is a lot less risky for our domesticated canines, as Natural Balance test every bag of dry food and wet food for nine contaminants in total before deeming it suitable to feed your beloved pet. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Formula is one of 5 dog food recipes mentioned in our Natural Balance Dog Food Review.

Calorie content: 3,310 kcal/kg (350 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 21.0%

Minimum crude fat: 10.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 5.0%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Sweet Potatoes, Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal

  • Brand: Natural Balance L.I.D
  • Model: 42037
  • Weight: 26 pounds


Nature’s Recipe, as they succinctly put it, want nothing more than to fuel your dog’s wag. That’s why they’ve brought their Lamb Meal and Rice Recipe to shelves in the hope that hypoallergenic dogs everywhere will be able to enjoy their kibble without suffering from an allergic reaction.

Your dog will profit from healthy digestion thanks to the fiber derived from the brown rice, and thrive due to the abundance of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. Containing no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, this is the ideal poultry-free dog food to keep your canine companion happy.

Calorie content: 3,580 kcal/kg (310 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 21.0%

Minimum crude fat: 12.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 4.0%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Lamb Meal, Barley, Feeding Oatmeal

  • Brand: Nature’s Recipe
  • Model: 799819
  • Weight: 30 pounds


Featuring Australian lamb as the primary protein source, this premium ingredient is largely why Wag have managed to achieve a crude protein percentage level of 35% – a pretty impressive amount if you ask us. Plant-based proteins like flaxseed also contribute towards this commendable crude protein percentage, as well as improving your canine’s cholesterol levels.

A selection of nutritions fruits and vegetables provide the unparalleled flavor of Wag’s lamb and lentil formula. However, what allows Wag’s recipe to stand out from the kibble crowd is the laudable level of amino acids derived from included ingredients like taurine, DHA , and salmon oil. Perfect for dogs looking to avoid chicken, veterinarians have unquestionably accomplished a dietary staple for pets everywhere.

For more information on the brand, check out our Wag Dog Food Review.

Calorie content: 3,700 kcal/kg (346 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 35.0%

Minimum crude fat: 15.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 5.5%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Lentils

  • Brand: Wag
  • Weight: 30 pounds


Dog owners with pups who have suffered from mild to severe reactions to chicken know all too well how daunting it is feeding their dog a new formula – will this food be just as harmful towards their wellbeing as the last? You can rest easy feeding your dog Taste of the Wild’s “Pacific Stream” formula. The family-owned brand have ensured that there’s no adverse ingredients for your dog such as chicken meal in sight, instead choosing to include smoked salmon as their high-quality animal protein source.

The probiotics specifically engineered for the Pacific Stream formula have been designed with dogs’ wellbeing in mind. Once ingested, these proprietary probiotics will make their way down to your dog’s GI tract to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria there. As many dogs who are prone to food allergies find it difficult to settle down their sensitive stomachs, these proprietary probiotics will alleviate their difficulty digesting food. So, if your dog finds it difficult to digest chicken, Taste of the Wild’s wonderful dog food will most assuredly do the trick – and for a fair price, too. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is one of 7 dog food recipes mentioned in our Taste of The Wild Dog Food Review.

Calorie content: 3,600 kcal/kg (360 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 25.0%

Minimum crude fat: 15.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 3.0%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes

  • Brand: Taste of the Wild
  • Model: 9565
  • Weight: 28 pounds


Pairing real lamb and sweet potato together represents a timeless, tasty combination of flavors that canines will never tire of. On the whole, Merrick’s real lamb and sweet potato kibble contains 60% protein, with animal protein constituting 53% of this total. With regards to the other 40%, Merrick has selected high-quality ingredients high in vitamins, fiber, and minerals so your dog will profit from sustained energy releases throughout the day.

This no chicken dog food is bolstered by omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and contains no harmful wheat, soy, gluten, or artificial preservatives. Plus, we know exactly where Merrick’s dog food has been produced – right here in the USA in Hereford, TX and only containing the finest meat ingredients for your dogs.

Read here our detailed Merrick Dog Food Review.

Calorie content: N/A

Minimum crude protein: 30.0%

Minimum crude fat: 17.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 4.5%

Maximum moisture: 11.0%

First three ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes

  • Brand: Merrick
  • Model: 38574
  • Weight: 10 pounds


It’s always a delight when we get the chance to review a bag of dog kibble from the Honest Kitchen – after all, they make it so easy for us, given the quality of their ingredients. Their whole-grain turkey recipe is yet another one of the kibbles we’d be likely to eat ourselves. Featuring cage-free turkey as its single source of protein, the

The Honest Kitchen only include human-grade ingredients in their kibbles and exceed FDA safety standards, as the brand quite rightly believe that our dogs deserve the best of the best. Likewise, the brand successfully engage in the process of dehydration, meaning that your canine will receive the benefits of eating raw food without any of the hassle. For dogs with diet restrictions in particular, owners can finally start giving them dehydrated treats straight from this kibble that they know won’t affect them. One thing’s for sure; this formula is a win-win for both you and your pet.

Calorie content: 4,140 kcal (470 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 22.0%

Minimum crude fat: 15.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 5.0%

Maximum moisture: 8.6%

First three ingredients: Dehydrated Turkey, Organic Oats, Dehydrated Potatoes

  • Brand: The Honest Kitchen
  • Model: KR
  • Weight: 8.82 pounds


Stella & Chewy’s delicious rabbit-flavored dog food constitutes a timeless flavor that the average hound just can’t get enough of. Each patty is packed full of raw meat, to such an extent that 85% of more of the any kibble’s composition is made up of meat, organs, and bone. As your pet derives more nutrients from food that has been minimally processed, all food in Stella & Chewy’s formula is freeze-dried to maintain a perfect balance between protein and fat content.

As your dog’s diet improves, you’ll be delighted to observe noticeable improvements, such as an increased appetite, a luscious skin and coat, and great dental health. If you’re not impressed by Stella and Chewy’s patties, then the company place a 100% satisfaction guarantee on their kibble so disappointed customers can stop using this food with no questions asked.

Calorie content: 4,750 kcal/kg (53 kcal/patty)

Minimum crude protein: 46.0%

Minimum crude fat: 32.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 5.0%

Maximum moisture: 5.0%

First three ingredients: Rabbit with ground bone, Olive Oil, Rabbit Liver

  • Brand: Stella & Chewy’s
  • Model: FDR-14
  • Weight: 14 ounces


We’re going out with a bang by bringing to you Zignature’s Limited Ingredient formula that unusually features Goat as its principal animal protein. As this high-quality meat contains far less calories than either chicken or beef, it’s a great alternative for dogs who need to lose a few pounds without sacrificing a healthy protein intake. Especially for dogs prone to allergies, goat meat isn’t often included in kibbles, thereby decreasing the likelihood that your dog has developed an intolerance towards this ingredient.

Regarding the other substantial perks of this US-made formula, its grain-free construction allows dogs who suffer from chicken allergies to avoid suffering from another common allergy to oats. The number of fruits and vegetables within this formula isn’t only commendable, their quality is also outstanding. Featuring flaxseed and chickpeas to name a few, these high-quality ingredients will allow your dog to thrive. It may cost a little more than the average recommended brand, but after observing the noticeable difference in your dog prone to food allergies, you’ll be delighted that you spent a little more to ensure your pup is as healthy as possible.

Take a look at Zignature Dog Food Review.

Calorie content: 3,600 kcal/kg (400 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 30.0%

Minimum crude fat: 15.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 5.0%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Goat, Goat Meal, Peas

  • Brand: Zignature
  • Model: 12713167
  • Weight: 12.5 pounds

Best Dog Food Without Chicken Buying Guide

Reasons Why You Might Want To Avoid Chicken In Dog Food

There is, in fact, a shocking lack of real chicken included in most dog kibbles: The principal reason that owners wish to avoid chicken in dog food is due to the ambiguity of the labels produced by pet food brands. As many dog owners begin to understand just how much “translating” the label matters, they become apprehensive about the amount of chicken that goes into kibbles and talk themselves into avoiding it entirely. This is unproductive, so stick with us to learn how to translate dog food labels below:

95% – If you’re keen for your dog to receive as much protein as they possibly can, the protein will be listed first on the name. One example is the label “Chicken for Dogs” – as this is the only ingredient listed, it has to contain 95% chicken. When a dog food boasts a label donning two ingredients like, for example, “Chicken and Rice Dog Food”, both ingredients must make up 95% of the formula’s total weight and the first ingredient must make up a higher percentage of the food than the first.

25% – Any protein food that features a descriptive term such as “dinner” or “formula” contains over 25% but less than 95% of the total weight.

3% – Always be aware of the “with” label on dog food. A horrifying fact is with a label like “Dog Food with Chicken”, a bag of this stuff only has to include 3% chicken.

Due to the abundance of chicken by-products present in dog food, your dog is more likely to have developed an intolerance to chicken than any other meat: Whether a dog food contains real chicken or not, the likelihood that you find “chicken meal” on the ingredient just is high. And feeding your dog the same meat over time is how dogs develop chicken allergies as their body becomes less equipped to break down its proteins.

Dog and dry food

Signs Your Dog has a Chicken Allergy

When a dog is suffering from a chicken allergy, there are thankfully several signs which present themselves, rendering it easier to identify and cure the problem. A few of the most common symptoms are listed below:

However, if you want to be more thorough in checking that your dog may be allergic to chicken, you have to buckle down and conduct a full drawn-out examination. After a certain date – which you should note down – your dog should not be fed any chicken, chicken by-products, or even chicken flavored snacks! It may take a couple of days, or week in some instances, for a dog’s immune system to detect the absence of chicken in your dog’s system, so stay patient.

If your dog’s symptoms die down in this time period, you’ll have to feed them chicken again. Although this may appear to be cold-hearted step of the process, it’s best to think of it as a move towards the greater good – that is, ensuring your dog suffers less from their suspected chicken allergy in the future. If your dog develops the same allergy symptoms that they suffered from in the past, any chicken must be immediately eradicated from their diet.

Alternate Protein Sources to Chicken for Dogs

  • Lamb

Initially, nutritionists and pet owners alike thought lamb was hypoallergenic. However, this is an urban myth, only originating due to lamb not being a protein source that dogs had developed an intolerance to like chicken, which frequents most kibbles. Although it isn’t hypoallergenic, lamb will still provide your pup with a wide array of benefits. The percentage of fat that lamb contains is regarded as optimal by pet nutritionists everywhere: lean, cooked lamb usually includes between 25% to 28%. Plus, with its distinctive flavor, your dog will be thrilled to find this delectable source of protein in their bowl every night.

  • Turkey

Rich in riboflavin and phosphorus, turkey constitutes a viable source of protein for owners searching for a dog food without chicken. However, it’s important to be aware of its limitations. Although turkey meat is beneficial for dogs to consume, feeding dogs cooked turkey skin has been linked to them developing pancreatitis. On a similar note, giving your dog turkey turkey that has been seasoned with onions or garlic can be toxic. Therefore, we recommend sticking to kibbles put together by professionals, unless you’re an owner who is confident in their knowledge of how certain ingredients affect dogs.

  • Beef

Although skeptics claim the fact that beef being one of the most popular proteins to appear in commercial dog food must make it low in protein content, it’s the opposite: beef is included in commercial kibbles by virtue of the exemplary amount of nutrition it provides. High in zinc, selenium, and protein, beef also contains plenty of vitamins such as B12, B6, and B3 to name only a few!

  • Salmon

Although prevalent stereotypes may have put off dog owners from featuring fish as their dog’s primary protein source, salmon is as beneficial for our canine friends as it is for our feline companions. Operating as a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon will bolster a dog’s immune system, help to combat adverse cell growth, and promote brain development. As long as you always ensure that your dog never eats raw or undercooked salmon or feed your dog more than one-hundred grams per ten pounds of their body weight, your dog will be delighted with their new favorite source of protein.

Check out our latest review of the Salmon Oil For Dogs.


  1. Canine Nutrition 101 – Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog, VetStreet
  2. Lynn Buzhardt, DVM, Designer Diets: What’s in My Dog’s Food?, VCA Hospitals
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