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Is My Dog Allergic to Chicken?


23 August 2022



Did you know that roughly 15% of all dogs are allergic to chicken? Chicken is a common allergen amongst pets and can be difficult to pinpoint. Here are some tips and tricks to help determine if your dog has a chicken allergy or intolerance and what you should do if you’ve determined that chicken is responsible for their uncomfortable symptoms.

Symptoms of a chicken allergy in dogs include:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Paw licking
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Biting leading to secondary lesions, hot spots, and other dermatoses
  • Occasionally, gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea

How to determine if my dog has a chicken intolerance, sensitivity, or allergy?

A chicken allergy occurs when the immune system recognizes chicken (allergen) as being foreign and triggers an attack against it. This attack brings on the symptoms we observe such as dermatoses, and, occasionally, gastrointestinal problems. Chicken sensitivities or chicken intolerances do not trigger any immune reaction like an allergy would. Instead, they will present themselves more in the case of indigestion, exhibiting similar symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. In the case of a chicken sensitivity or intolerance, the solution is much like the one for dogs with an allergy and requires finding a chicken-free diet.

Can I test my dog for a chicken allergy?

Although allergy tests are an option, they are often fallible, and therefore, an elimination diet is more effective in helping identify a possible chicken allergy. Thus, begin by switching your dog to a chicken-free diet and observe them over the course of a few days. If you’ve noticed that their symptoms have diminished, your dog may be allergic to chicken. For instance, if you notice that your dog’s stool has returned to normal or that they are no longer itching after switching them to a new formula, you have likely found the source of their discomforts.  

What to do if my dog is allergic to chicken?

If your dog is showing signs of a food allergy but you’re not sure if they’re allergic to chicken, another protein, or another ingredient, it is best to get them started on a limited-ingredient formula. There are many limited-ingredient diets on the market today. A select few of these diets are clinically proven to be hypoallergenic, such as the Nutrience Care Sensitive Skin & Stomach formula. This formula is free of the most common dietary allergens, which include chicken, grain, dairy, egg, lamb, beef, gluten, and meat meals. Hypoallergenic diets typically do not contain these proteins and will sometimes use an ingredient called hydrolyzed protein.

Hydrolyzed protein is a protein that is broken down through a process called hydrolysis. The protein is cut into smaller pieces which are not only easier to digest, but unrecognizable by the immune system. This means that the protein pieces cannot trigger an allergic reaction! In fact, even proteins that your dog is allergic to can become hypoallergenic if they are hydrolyzed. Since these proteins are easier to digest and since hypoallergenic diets typically contain limited ingredients, they are often suitable for pets suffering from food sensitivities or intolerances as well. By choosing a diet that excludes one or more of these common allergens and by observing your pet’s symptoms, you may be able to narrow down what protein your dog is allergic to.

Please feel free to contact us here if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s dietary needs. Happy feeding!


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