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Chicken Allergies in Dogs

How to Navigate a Chicken Allergy in Dogs

 Chicken Allergies in Dogs Are the Most Common Pet Allergy

Chances are you’ve met a dog who can’t eat chicken (yes, even the chicken in that yummy treat you’re holding).

A dog chicken allergy is a pretty common food intolerance. Some dogs can have small amounts of chicken, but should avoid it as part of their main diet. Others have to steer clear completely. 

What do dog chicken allergy symptoms look like, exactly? Some signs to look out for are: vomiting, diarrhea, itchiness, ear infections, foot infections, obsessive licking, and other skin issues. If your dog is showing any of these signs, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian.

Because chicken is a common ingredient in many dog foods today, it’s important to know how your dog tolerates it in order to find the best dog food for a chicken allergy. But how do you know for sure if you have a dog allergy to chicken on your hands? And how can you best manage it?

Luckily, we’ve got some guidance for you below.


What Are the Symptoms of Chicken Allergy in Dogs?

You’ll see the most obvious and common signs that your dog is allergic to chicken on their skin, via their digestive tract, or both. They might also experience anaphylactic symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, but this is extremely rare with food allergies in dogs.

Skin Symptoms

An allergic reaction on your dog’s skin is rather similar to a reaction you (a human) might have on your own skin. Your dog might itch their skin, especially on the paws, belly, face, and ears, develop red spots, rashes or gives, or even lose fur in some areas.

With your dog potentially licking or chewing on their skin to relieve these symptoms, they might also start to develop wounds or “hot spots,” which are areas of red, moist, and often inflamed lesions.

Digestive Symptoms

Similar to humans, signs of a dog chicken allergy can show up in their digestive tract: diarrhea, vomiting, gas, or other gastrointestinal problems.

Unsimilar to humans, your pup could also have issues with their anal glands, which they might alleviate by scooting their butts on the floor.


Why Is My Dog Allergic to Chicken?

When your dog experiences an allergic reaction, it’s their immune system going into overdrive to react to a trigger, or allergen. (Think: Your body fighting off a viral or bacterial infection threatening your body.)

Because dogs and chicken allergy are typically a genetic matter and inherited from previous family members, they’re not easy to avoid. You might see that some breeds, such as Bulldogs, Retrievers, Terriers, and Shih Tzus, are more prone to food allergies than other breeds or mixes.


What to Do if You Think Your Dog Has a Chicken Allergy

As with any food allergy, pinning down a chicken allergy in your dog requires time and some detective work. If you suspect your dog is having allergic reactions to their food, start by talking to your veterinarian.

From there, your vet will likely do a physical exam, and ask about the symptoms you’ve noticed and what you’re currently feeding your dog. If your vet has ruled out other possible reasons for your dog’s symptoms, they might recommend an elimination diet.

An elimination diet requires time and patience, but in the long run it’ll be worth it to know you’re feeding your dog what’s best for them. Over the course of 1-3 months, you’ll feed your dog a restricted diet of very few ingredients, and slowly reintroduce a new food (like chicken) each week until a trigger is found. Your vet will provide you with a detailed plan of what, when, and how much to feed your dog, and how to keep track of your dog’s process week-by-week.

Depending on how your pup does with the elimination diet, your vet will guide you to the best next step toward a happy, healthy dog.

Common Myths About Feeding Dogs Chicken

“How could my dog be allergic to chicken? I’ve fed them chicken their entire life.” 

Unfortunately, feeding the same protein over and over is exactly what can build up an intolerance or allergy in your dog's system. For this reason, we recommend rotating proteins throughout your dog's life. This can easily be accomplished by choosing a different protein for your dog’s food each time you are ready to buy a new bag, or every month or two. Sticking with the same brand can be helpful to keep nutrients consistent and to reduce chances of stomach upset due to a change in food. We always recommend transitioning over a 1-2 week period when trying a new food by mixing the new food gradually into the old. 

“My dog is allergic or has an intolerance to chicken, so he can’t have eggs or chicken fat.”

Thankfully, this isn’t true for most dogs! Eggs are a separate allergen than chicken, so most dogs who are allergic to chicken can enjoy eggs without issue. As for chicken fat, most chicken allergies are to the protein of chicken, not the fat. Chicken fat is a very common ingredient in dog food and most dogs who are allergic to chicken can include it in their diet. 

Caring For Your Dog With a Chicken Allergy

Allergies can’t be cured, but knowing your dog’s triggers empower you to manage the situation as best you can.

After seeing your vet to discuss a possible food allergy, your pup might need to take medication to help relieve any symptoms they’ve experienced. Beyond that, your allergic dog will also need to be fed a diet that works with their body.

But, even though we’d like to have everything under control all the time, it just isn’t possible. Your dog might find a scrap on the street, be fed a chicken treat by a new friend, or just have an occasional allergic flare-up. Just like us, they might also develop new allergies as they get older. If these things happen, don’t be discouraged. You now know the best course of action to reduce your dog’s symptoms and get them back to their healthy selves!

If you discover that your dog does have a chicken sensitivity, rest easy knowing there are lots of other high-protein options that will provide them with the nutrition they need. Both our Salmon, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe and our Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato and Carrot Recipe feature lean protein, patented probiotics, and nutrient-rich superfoods to support your pup’s healthy growth. Top their kibble off with Salmon on Top Toppers or Beef Crumbles Toppers For treat time, try our fan-favorite Beef Jerky Bites and Salmon & Pumpkin Tenders


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