Our canine BFFs are more similar to us than one might think, and one of those similarities is a sensitivity to certain foods. Dogs with allergies are not that uncommon with beef, dairy, and chicken allergies among the most frequent. Dogs can be allergic to chicken and it’s important to be aware as many high-quality commercial dog foods contain some form of chicken.
What Is a Canine Food Allergy?
If your dog has a food allergy, it means that your pooch’s immune system has a hypersensitivity and reaction to dietary proteins. However, in many cases, what might lead you to believe your pup has an allergy, is actually an intolerance or sensitivity that causes skin issues or digestive tract distress.
Can I Feed My Dog Chicken?
Chicken is less expensive and an excellent source of protein, so it is common to find it among dog food ingredients. It also tastes good. It will provide you best friend with vitamins, minerals, and the dietary protein necessary for overall health.
Not all canines exhibit sensitivities to chicken, only a limited percentage of dogs will experience chicken sensitivity.
However, be aware that many commercial dog foods, dog treats, and even rawhide chews contain chicken in some form. If you suspect your dog has an allergy and get it confirmed by the vet, make sure to find alternative dog chews or treats without any chicken among the ingredients as well.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has Chicken Allergy?
There are several symptoms that can alert you to the possibility that your pup has a chicken allergy or sensitivity. If you note any symptoms, consult your veterinarian to limit any discomfort your dog may be experiencing.
Skin symptoms may include:
- Redness or red patches especially on ears and paws
- Itchiness with chewing and biting at the skin and paws
- Localized loss of fur
- Repeated skin infections
- Recurring ear infections
Digestive Tract reactions can include:
- Upset stomach
How Will My Veterinarian Know if My Dog Has a Chicken Allergy?
Your veterinarian may suggest using allergy testing in an attempt to establish if your pup has a specific food sensitivity. Not all available testing is entirely reliable. Both serum antibody tests and patch testing are commonly used, however, your vet may opt for you to initially do food trials, or an elimination diet based on the dietary information you provide.
A Food Trial
In food trials, dogs are introduced to a novel protein, meaning a dietary protein that your pup has never eaten. After a specific trial duration, you will be asked to reintroduce the old protein or chicken to see if it stimulates a reaction.
This will require several months and a strict dietary menu. Most pet parents prefer to attempt the elimination diet to determine what’s disturbing their pooch.
The Elimination Diet
In this specific trial and error scenario, you will eliminate all proteins that your dog has eaten to this point and introduce a novel protein. Depending on what you discover, your vet may opt for food trials.
My Dog Has a Chicken Allergy, What Should I Do?
If your dog gets a diagnosis of a chicken allergy, you need to feed pooch an entirely chicken-free diet. No chicken ingredients in commercial dog food and no chicken from your table. This means informing family and guests that your dog may not eat chicken for health reasons.
Read all packaging for ingredients before giving your dog things to eat or chew on. This will also include dietary supplements and chicken-flavored toothpaste.
Sensitive dogs may develop allergies or intolerances for novel proteins despite your having removed chicken from the diet. In this case, you’ll need to repeat the sensitivity identification process, especially if food contains more than a single protein.
Be aware that ingredient listing is not always full proof, as manufacturers may fail to list trace amounts of proteins. A quality commercial dog food may not be ideal when diagnosing or treating food sensitivities.
So, What Can I Feed My Dog?
There are a number of options to aid canine parents that have pups with food sensitivities. Consult your vet when deciding how to provide the best diet option for your dog. Here are several alternatives to consider:
Prescription Hydrolyzed Canine Diets
The protein contained in these foods is broken down, so the body no longer perceives the protein as a threat when ingested.
LID – Limited Ingredient Diets
These diets often have only one protein source and offer a selection of novel proteins to choose among. They include very few extras that may contribute to sensitivities, and if your pooch has a reaction, you’ll know immediately what caused it.
Fish or Insects
Several new dog foods are made from fish meal or from crickets. These diets provide the necessary protein for your pup’s health without triggering stressful reactions.
Home Cooking or Homemade Diets
Some pet parents just prefer to prepare their dog’s food so they know what goes into it. In this case, consult your veterinarian to make sure you find recipes that guarantee a well-balanced diet meeting all of your pup’s nutritional needs.