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Is My Dog Allergic to Chicken?

How to Determine if Poultry Is the Problem

By 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.

2016-12-20T16:34:30

My dog is on a raw diet of beef with fruit and veggies and chicken with fruit and veggies. Im starting to think it isn't her food but our upstairs carpets. She's going to the vet tomorrow so they can have a look. If its our carpets, I'm getting them professionally cleaned right away. If its her food, the vey will try her damnedest to convince me to take her off it and put her on kibble. I will not put her on that, if need be Ill take the chicken away and give her something else, there is allot of raw choices. Vets peeve me when they start dictating to me about what to feed my dog, I feed her the best food I can and its allot more healthy. Her poops are small which means she's using most of her meat and not pooping most of it out as waste. I also don't want a fat German Shepherd, its just wrong to slowly kill your dog with too much food and treats, in the end, you'll pay monetarily and the dog will pay physically thru knee and hip surgeries. All that could have been avoided if they were fed righting kept an optimal weight on them. I guess Ive gone on long enough, so, until next time. :)


2016-11-02T23:43:13

Victor Yukon River Canine is a 5 star (dog food advisor) food, it is chicken/grain free. It is exceptional, especially considering it is usually under $2/pound shipped. Also, try soaking your kibble in water for several hours, even overnight before feeding. This is the single most important thing people are not doing that will significantly help their pet. Soak it with as much water as it will absorb, like 2+ cups water for 1 cup kibble. Natural food sources are right around 70% water, that is ideal for kibble too.


2016-10-31T15:10:56

The Acana is 17% fat and the Canidae is 18% and it is also a 5 star food. There is also Chicken soup for the dog lovers soul Grain Free Dog Food - Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pea Recipe it has 14% fat. If you notice her licking again, I would definitely slowly switch to something new.


2016-10-30T16:41:25

Canidae Salmon is too high in fat for my small 13 year old Cockapoo who can't afford to gain any weight. I'm going to keep her on Acana. She seems to have stopped licking her paw perhaps she was bored? There is definitely something in Acana which brought my 13 year old back to life. She has so much energy now.


2016-10-30T02:21:32

Acana is top of the line food, BUT there are way too many ingredients in it. I always feed LID diets for that reason. Take a look at CANIDAE® Grain Free PURE Sea Adult Dog Formula Made With Fresh Salmon.


2016-10-27T13:52:37

Can you recommend a good fish kibble grain free? My 13 year old dog has been on the new Acana Freshwater but I recently noticed after she eats she licks her paws. There must be something in it she is allergic to. Frustrating because it's a great kibble.


2016-10-27T01:39:42

California naturals, natural balance, wellness has limited ingredient diets......


2016-10-27T01:38:00

it is too high in sodium.


2016-06-23T22:09:55

Zignature is a good chicken free dog food


2016-05-29T16:12:36

Can you recommend a good chicken free dry dog food??

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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
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