Why Chicken Sensitivities are So Common in Dogs and How to Help

As pet owners, our top concern is making sure our pets are living their best and healthiest lives. We never want to see them in any discomfort especially if the source is their food! However, did you know that even if your pup is receiving high-quality food with flavorful ingredients, they may have a poor reaction to their meal? One of the reasons for this may be that your dog has chicken sensitivities. Chicken is an extremely popular protein source in various dog foods. However, it also is one of the most common food sensitivities for dogs!

Here at The Dog Stop, we care about keeping you educated when it comes to caring for your pup. Therefore, our Director of Franchise Training and Dog Nutrition Specialist, Corey, came prepared to answer some of the most common questions regarding chicken sensitivities. 


Why is chicken so common for sensitivities instead of other protein sources?

Dog food sitting on shelves

Chicken is a sneaky protein, unlike other protein sources. In addition to acting as a source of protein in many dog food formulae, it also plays other roles that allow it to be included in formulae that aren’t branded as chicken-based diets. For example, chicken fat can act as both a preservative and as a pleasant (something that attracts your dog to the food). It makes it very easy to feed your dog an overabundance of chicken if you’re not reading every single ingredient on the bag, and eventually, their bodies start to say, “No more!”. This is where the chicken sensitivity begins to occur. Chicken sensitivities and allergies occur due to the body’s inability to fully break down the protein in the digestive system. 


If your dog is sensitive to chicken does that mean they are sensitive to other poultry sources like turkey?


The short answer is no! Turkey and duck, while both fowl, are completely different proteins. Although it is possible to have an allergy or sensitivity to other poultry protein sources besides chicken, just because a dog is sensitive to one source does not mean they are sensitive to all! If you or your vet notice a sensitivity or allergy to one protein source, it is important to avoid that source and follow your vet’s instructions. Just because a dog should avoid chicken does not necessarily mean they should avoid all poultry. 


How can you recognize the signs of chicken sensitivities or allergies?

Dog laying down in kennel at the Dog Stop

Allergies and sensitivities can present in a myriad of ways, and no two dogs are the same. That being said, common signs include hot spots, gastrointestinal issues, and inflamed ears and paws. These symptoms can appear differently in your pup with some dogs experiencing all of the symptoms or some but not others. Like with other health-related issues, it is crucial to observe your dog to check for any reactions to what they are consuming. 


Food sensitivities and allergies also may appear at different times in a dog’s life. For some dogs, they may not show signs of an allergy or sensitivity for years, whereas for other dogs the symptoms may show within months of consuming the triggering protein!


Should you stick to avoiding chicken or is there a way to treat the sensitivities?


If your dog is allergic or intolerant to chicken, you should avoid it. Of course, some prescriptions can treat the symptoms, but they will not remove the cause; only a change in diet can do that. It’s worth mentioning though that chicken is a great source of protein, and there’s no reason to avoid it if your dog does not have any issues digesting it, so feel free to add it to your dog’s rotation of proteins. We also recommend discussing your dog’s sensitivity or allergy with their vet to see what their recommended course of action would be. Not all dogs are the same, so it is important to check in and see what works for your pup. 




Your friends at The Dog Stop know how hard it can be to make sure your dog is receiving the best of the best. We want to make it as easy as possible for you so that you and your pup can continue living the happy healthy lives you both were meant for. When it comes to choosing the right food for your dog, The Dog Stop has you covered. Whether it’s stopping in to buy your pet’s favorite food or treats or answering any of your dog-related questions, find your Stop today to see how The Dog Stop truly is the one-stop shop for all your pet’s needs!


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Corey Criss, The Dog Stop

Staff, AKC. “Food Allergies in Dogs: What to Know.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 2 Jan. 2024, www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-food-allergies/#:~:text=Allergies%20can%20appear%20at%20any,after%20introducing%20a%20new%20food.