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Is My Dog Allergic to Chicken?

How to Determine if Poultry Is the Problem

By Meredith Alling. January 12, 2014 | See Comments

  • expert or vet photo
    vet verified

    Dr. Joseph J. Wakshlag, DVM

    Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition

    Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Ithaca, NY

A Golden Retriever Eating A Bowl Of Kibble

If your dog is experiencing food allergy symptoms, it may be that they're allergic to chicken. Find out here what the causes, symptoms, and treatment options are for dogs allergic to chicken.

One of the most common ingredients in dog food is also one of the most common causes of allergies. Chicken shows up in many kibbles, wet foods, and treats. If you notice your dog suffering from allergy symptoms, your veterinarian may suggest that you start by looking at what they eat.

So how can you tell if your dog is allergic to chicken? Here we will look at the causes, symptoms, and treatments for a dog allergic to chicken.

Chicken Allergy Causes in Dogs

A dog develops a chicken allergy when their immune system becomes overly sensitive to the ingredient. The dog’s body begins to identify chicken as dangerous, and an allergic response is triggered every time your dog consumes it.

Once your dog’s sensitivity to chicken develops, the problem can worsen. As your dog continues to eat the irritating food, their immune system responds more vigorously over time, inducing those agonizing allergy symptoms.

Some dogs are genetically predisposed to food allergies, while others may develop them along the way. Even if your dog has been eating the same food for years, they could suddenly develop an allergy to one or more ingredients. The exact reason for this is not known, but we know that a dog has to be exposed to the offending food more than once for a sensitivity to develop.

Chicken Allergy Symptoms

Any food allergy can cause extremely uncomfortable symptoms for your dog, including:

  • Itching and scratching, especially around the rear end, feet, face, and ears
  • Ear inflammation as a result of scratching
  • Skin injuries, infections, or hair loss as a result of scratching
  • Gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea.

If you see any of these symptoms, it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian.

Chicken Allergy Diagnosis and Treatment

If you think that your dog may be suffering from a chicken allergy, contact your veterinarian. They will help you to come up with a plan for determining if chicken is the cause of your dog’s allergies.

In most cases, your dog will be placed on a special prescription diet that does not contain chicken. Once your dog has been eating that food for a period of time and their allergy symptoms have subsided, you will reintroduce chicken to their diet. If your dog has an allergic reaction, then you know that chicken is the culprit.

The best way to treat a chicken allergy once it has been identified is to completely remove the ingredient from your dog’s diet. This may mean feeding your dog a special food recommended by your vet or preparing a homemade diet. Always discuss your dog’s new diet with your veterinarian to be sure that it is meeting all of their nutritional needs.

More on Dog Nutrition

How to Change Dog Food
5 Great Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs
When Is Premium Pet Food Worth It?

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. It has however been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Joe, a board certified veterinary nutritionist and graduate of Cornell University's program for Veterinary Medicine.

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Chicken Alllergies at a glance

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  • 1Chicken is one of the most common ingredients in dog foods, and also one of the most common allergens for dogs
  • 2A chicken allergy develops when your dog’s immune system becomes overly sensitive to the ingredient
  • 3Some dogs are genetically predisposed to food allergies
  • 4Symptoms of food allergies include itching, ear inflammation, and gastrointestinal problems