Did you know that the most common food allergy amongst pets is chicken?
If you suspect your pet is allergic or intolerant to chicken, you’ll most likely need to decrease your pet’s intake or steer clear from this protein completely. Luckily, there are a lot of great food options for dogs with chicken allergies that will keep them happy and healthy.
Symptoms of a Chicken Allergy in Dogs
Canine food allergies often present in a variety of ways including, itchy and red skin, constant licking, hives, vomiting and diarrhea.
Unfortunately, these are non-specific signs that can occur as a result of a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Proper diagnosis of a chicken allergy in dogs is required by a professional or your veterinarian before proceeding with treatment.
Treating Dogs With Chicken Allergies
Food allergies are often lifelong conditions. Allergy relief medication can be used for symptomatic treatment, but it’s inconvenient, unsafe, and expensive. These treatments do not address the underlying allergies, rather help soothe the symptoms.
The best way to help dogs with food allergies is to completely remove the allergen from their diet. But determining exactly which ingredient in your dog’s food is causing the reaction can be tricky. Canine allergy testing is one way to do this, but not all veterinary clinics offer this special service. Most veterinarians diagnose allergies through the trial-and-error process of elimination diets.
Dog Allergy Elimination Diets
An elimination diet is a way to systematically test which ingredient your dog is reacting to. If your dog’s potential chicken allergy is severe, your veterinarian may recommend prescription dog food to use in the process. But if the symptoms are mild, you can use dog food available in the market that provides the ingredients you are testing for.
Note however, that dog allergy elimination diets are not nutritionally-balanced and therefore should only be used for a short period of time. Consult your veterinarian first before starting on a diet this extreme.
Step 1: List your top allergy-causing suspects
Make two lists: List A will consist of the ingredients in the dog food that your dog didn’t react to, while List B will consist of ingredients in the dog food that your dog did react to. Cross out all the ingredients in List B that are found in List A.
Whatever is left on List B is your suspect list.
Step 2: Test the suspects
Divide the suspect list according to proteins and carbohydrates. Pair them up: say rice and chicken, or potato and beef. You will test one pair every cycle.
One cycle consists of feeding your dog 1 suspect carbohydrate and 1 suspect protein for two weeks. Every day, record the behavior and appearance of your dog to see whether they present with allergy symptoms. To ensure the most accurate results, avoid feeding your pets anything else during the trial period - this includes treats and table scraps!
If there are no symptoms during a cycle, that pair of ingredients is cleared. Should symptoms appear, you will have a better idea of the potential culprit. You can then take the necessary steps to look for a balanced and complete dog food that does not include either of the offending ingredients.
Does Your Dog Have a Chicken Allergy, or is it Something Else?
If you have reason to suspect that your dog is allergic to chicken, you can focus a mini version of the elimination diet around testing this ingredient.
First, transition your dog’s current diet to a chicken-free diet. Choose from Open Farm’s chicken-free recipes listed below. You can start by mixing 75% of your current dog food with 25% of a chicken-free recipe, and gradually increase the ratio over 3-5 days, until you are feeding 100% of the latter.
Over the next two weeks, monitor and record the severity of your pets symptoms in a journal. Note that it may take time for symptoms to disappear as the original food takes time to be eliminated from the body.
If you see an improvement of the symptoms, you’re halfway done with your confirmation. But to be absolutely sure that chicken is the culprit, try giving your pet a bit of chicken after the two-week period and see if the symptoms reappear. If so, you’ve solved the case!
Open Farm’s Dog Food Without Chicken
If you’ve successfully determined that your dog is allergic to chicken it’s time to switch your dog to a chicken-free diet. When switching proteins keep in mind that many commercial dog food diets include poultry by-products in their formulas.
Open Farm’s formulations are single-protein recipes, meaning you can be sure to find a recipe fit for your pet’s chicken sensitivity.
Our Grass-Fed Beef Dry Dog Food contains beef as the main protein, and is loaded with healthy superfoods like coconut oil and pumpkin.
Whitefish Dry Dog Food is another tasty option that provides protein from seasonal wild-caught fish.
Looking for something different? Our exciting new product, New Zealand Venison Dry Dog Food, contains protein from pasture-raised venison that’s raised on certified humane animal farms.
No matter what Open Farm product you choose when looking for a new food for dogs with chicken allergies, you can be confident that there is no chicken by-product in our single protein options. Your dog will be eating a well-rounded canine diet packed with protein and superfoods. Explore all of the dog food options at Open Farm today!