If you’ve had your doggo for more than 15 minutes, you’ve probably already discovered that chicken is a popular protein in dog foods. In fact, there are likely more chicken-flavored dog foods on the market than options made with any other protein source.
There are several reasons this is the case, ranging from the affordable nature of the protein to the simple fact that puppers often love the taste of chicken. For that matter, chicken is a healthy lean protein that’ll keep your canine running, jumping, and playing like you want her to.
However, some chicken dog foods are better than others. Some are nutritious and full of flavor, while others, eh, not so much. It’s also important to note that different chicken dog foods are better suited for some floofs than others.
But don’t worry — whether you have a big ‘ol bulldog, a tiny terrier, a senior shih tzu, or a picky pug, we’ll help you find the perfect chicken-flavored dog food for your furry friend below!
Quick Picks: Best Chicken Dog Foods
- #1 Ollie [Best Overall Chicken Dog Food]: A fresh, veterinarian-formulated, custom-crafted food that’s made from human grade ingredients and shipped directly to your home. Plus, get 50% off your first Ollie order with code K9OFMINE
- #2 Wellness Complete Health [Best Kibble-Style Chicken Dog Food]: A nutritious, palate-pleasing kibble that’s made with high-quality ingredients and cooked right in the USA.
- #3 CANIDAE Chicken & Rice [Best Canned Chicken Dog Food]: One of the few grain-inclusive wet foods on the market, CANIDAE is perfect for dogs who need a nutritious canned option.
- #4 Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice [Best Budget-Friendly Chicken Dog Food]: An affordable yet high-quality dog food featuring premium proteins and probiotics for gut health.
The Benefits of Chicken-Flavored Dog Foods: Why Are Chicken Dog Foods so Popular?
Chicken is certainly one of the most common proteins used in dog foods, and there are a variety of reasons why, including:
- Most dogs love the taste of chicken. What furry friend doesn’t go nuts for a clucker? Dogs love the taste of chicken, and it also serves as a lean source of protein, making it an excellent choice for many dogs.
- Chicken is a pretty affordable protein. Compared to some of the other best protein meats for dogs, chicken is pretty cheap — especially when compared to other lean meats like pheasant and turkey. It’s also readily available to manufacturers, which can make it easier to find.
- Chicken beats beef (likely the second most common protein) nutritionally. Beef is another popular protein choice for dog food, but chicken wins on the nutritional front. Chicken provides more protein than beef, all while providing less fat and fewer calories.
- Chicken is a more environmentally friendly protein than some others. Chicken may not be the most eco-friendly protein around, but chicken farming is gentler on the planet than the production of some other proteins, such as beef.
10 Best Chicken Dog Foods: Poultry-Flavored Foods FTW!
Ready to pick out the perfect chicken dog food for your pooch? That’s what we thought! Let’s jump right in.
1. Ollie Chicken & Carrot
Ollie Chicken & Carrot
A premium fresh chicken dog food that’s nutritious, delicious, and customized for your dog.
About: Ollie is a super-premium, fresh food option that your dog is sure to clucking love! Made with human-grade ingredients, this chicken dog food recipe is minimally processed to help preserve nutrients and deliver a taste that’ll keep Fido coming back for more.
Best of all? It’s shipped directly to your doorstep in a fresh-frozen state for maximum pup parent convenience. Simply thaw it and serve up supper!
- Made with human-grade dog food ingredients
- Formulated with “superfoods” like spinach and blueberries
- Cod liver oil provides a great source of omega 3s
- Gently cooked to provide a taste dogs love
- Custom-crafted recipes to satisfy your dog’s specific nutritional needs
- Special deal for K9 of Mine readers – get 50% off your first order when you use code K9OFMINE at checkout!
Chicken, carrots, peas, rice, chicken liver...,
potatoes, spinach, dicalcium phosphate, whole dried eggs, fish oil, blueberries, chia seeds, calcium carbonate, iodized salt, cod liver oil, zinc gluconate, rosemary, copper gluconate, choline bitartrate, vitamin E supplement, manganese gluconate, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin
- Dogs simply love the taste of Ollie
- Most dogs digest it very well
- Owners love the use of human-grade ingredients
- Delivered in pre-portioned packages
- Fresh foods are expensive
- Requires refrigeration for storage
2. Wellness Complete Chicken & Oatmeal
Wellness Complete Chicken & Oatmeal
A premium chicken-based kibble that’s loaded with real chicken, antioxidants, and omega-3s.
About: Wellness Complete is a premium dry chicken dog food that’ll let you give your pooch the nutrition she needs without having to pay the premiums associated with fresh foods. Packed with great proteins, nutritious antioxidants, and omega 3s, this chicken-based kibble checks off just about every box owners want.
As a bonus, Wellness Complete is a dog food that’s fortified with probiotics to keep your furry friend’s digestive tract operating like it should.
- Deboned chicken is the first listed ingredient
- Recipe include probiotics to support proper digestion
- Protein-rich recipe is perfect for supporting active pups
- Contains great sources of antioxidants and vitamins
- Full of omega 3s to promote healthy skin and fur
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Peas...,
Ground Brown Rice, Chicken Fat, Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Tomatoes, Carrots, Natural Chicken Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Chicory Root Extract, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Garlic Powder, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.
- Some owners noticed improved energy levels
- Impressive ingredient list that includes tons of “superfoods”
- Full of probiotics and fiber to support proper digestion
- Dogs appear to love the taste
- One of the more expensive kibbles around
- Some owners complained of increased doggo gas
3. CANIDAE Wet Food Chicken & Rice
CANIDAE Wet Food Chicken & Rice
A tasty, grain-inclusive wet chicken-based dog food that works as a standalone meal or kibble topper.
About: If your four-footer prefers wet chicken dog food, this canned chicken food option from CANIDAE should be the first option you consider. Aside from being one of the tastiest options around, this nutritious wet food is full of omega 3s and antioxidants to support your furry family member.
- Easy for seniors and dogs with dental issues to eat
- Omega-3-rich ingredients promote a healthy coat
- The recipe is formulated by veterinarians
- It’s made without corn, wheat or soy
- Appropriate for all life stages.
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Brown Rice...,
Pearled Barley, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sunflower Oil, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Agar-agar, Choline Chloride, Canola Oil, Dried Kelp, Dried Cranberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Iron Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Manganese Proteinate, Potassium Iodide, Riboflavin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Rosemary Extract.
- Most dogs go ga-ga over the taste
- Wet foods provide extra hydration
- You can feed it as a food or as a kibble topper
- Most dogs digested this food well
- This canned food has a thicker consistency than some pups like
- Canned foods are generally less convenient to feed than kibbles
4. Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice
About: Need a high-quality chicken dog food that won’t break the bank? It’s hard to find a better option than Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice.
Made with cage-free chicken, whole grains, and nutritious produce, this affordable chicken-centered kibble packs a nutritious punch without a problematic price tag.
And one more thing: Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice is formulated for all life stages, so it’ll work for young, old, big, and small puppers alike.
Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice
- Real, cage-free chicken is the first ingredient
- Made with several different nutritious grains
- Formulated with probiotics to support digestion
- Suitable for all life stages (including large-breed puppies)
- Made with an unusual assortment of antioxidant-rich produce
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, White Rice...,
Dried Yeast, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Egg Product, Grain Sorghum, Dried Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Salmon Oil (Source Of DHA), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Dl-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Kale, Chia Seed, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Oranges, Quinoa, Dried Kelp, Coconut, Spinach, Carrots, Papaya, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Beta Carotene, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live (Viable), Naturally Occurring Microorganisms. The Facility In Which This Food Is Made Also Makes Food That May Contain Other Ingredients.
- Much more affordable than comparable kibbles
- Bursting with antioxidant-rich “superfoods”
- Fortified with multiple probiotics
- Made with cage-free chicken
- Appropriate for all life stages
- Contains a few ingredients (such as beet pulp) that some owners like to avoid
- Some dogs weren’t huge fans of the taste
5. Spot & Tango Chicken & Brown Rice
Spot & Tango Chicken & Brown Rice
A gently dried, human-grade chicken dog food personalized to your pup’s needs.
About: Looking for a middle ground between a traditional kibble and a super-premium fresh food? Spot & Tango may have just what you’re looking for. They’ve revolutionized the dry dog food game with their product known as Unkibble — a gently dried, shelf-stable, human-grade dog food that’s formulated for your specific pooch.
Tasty, nutritious, and shipped directly to your home, Unkibble is making tails wag in a completely new way with their great chicken and brown rice recipe!
- Veterinarian-formulated recipes
- Customizable dog food comes with a pre-portioned scoop
- Gently dried to provide a taste dogs love
- Minimal ingredient list of whole foods
- Shelf-stable, making it easy to store
- Get 50% off when you use code K9OFMINE50 at checkout!
Chicken, brown rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples...,
kale, sunflower seeds, ginger root, kelp
- Most dogs love the taste of this dog food
- Pre-portioned scoop makes serving dinner easy
- Spot & Tango use eco-friendly packaging
- Very simple ingredient list is great for dogs with food allergies
- More affordable than other human-grade dog foods
- Pricey when compared to traditional kibble
- It doesn’t include probiotics or other nutritional “extras”
6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken & Brown Rice
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
A premium chicken kibble that’s formulated to meet the unique nutritional needs of large dogs.
About: Did you know that large-breed dogs have unique nutritional needs that standard kibbles don’t always meet? Well, don’t worry — Blue Buffalo’s Large Breed Chicken and Rice Recipe is a premium kibble that’s specifically designed for big ‘ol pooches.
Made-in-the-USA and packed with Blue Buffalo’s patented antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits, this grain-inclusive kibble also contains joint-support supplements and probiotics for gut health.
- Made in the USA from globally-sourced ingredients
- Features antioxidant-rich “LifeSource Bits”
- Good source of glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health
- Contains omega-3 fatty acids to promote a coat health
- Fortified with probiotics to support proper digestion
- A favorite for large-breed dogs, making it a great dog food for Dobermans, Rottweilers, Newfoundlands, and other large-sized canines.
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley...,
Pea Starch, Peas, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Pea Fiber, Natural Flavor, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pea Protein, Fish Oil (source of EPA-Eicosapentaenoic Acid), Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Dried Chicory Root, Potatoes, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, DL-Methionine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Garlic, L-Carnitine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.
- Specifically designed for large-breed dogs
- Great combination of quality and price
- Contains probiotics, joint supplements, and probiotics
- Most dogs love the taste
- Many owners noted improved coat condition
- Some dogs may pick around the LifeSource Bits
- Some owners like to avoid parsley, but the quantities present are unlikely to be a problem
7. Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Chicken & Brown Rice
Nutro Natural Choice – Small Breed Chicken & Brown Rice
A small-breed dog food that’s loaded with chicken, vitamins, and fiber-rich ingredients.
About: Do you have a pint-sized pooch at home? It’s important that you select a dog food designed to suit her unique nutritional needs. Fortunately, this chicken dog food by NUTRO does exactly that!
Made in the USA, stuffed full of chicken, and formed into bite-size kibblets suitable for small mouths, this is a great small and toy breed dog food option.
And just for added awesomeness, this recipe is full of whole grains and antioxidant-rich produce to ensure your pup’s long-term health.
- Chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients
- Made with fiber-rich ingredients to aid digestion
- Made without corn, wheat, or soy
- Made in the USA dog food with globally sourced ingredients
- Small-sized kibbles are easy for small and toy breeds to chew
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Barley, Split Peas...,
Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Rice Bran, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Whole Flaxseed, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Citric Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Chia Seed, Dried Coconut, DL-Methionine, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Kale, Dried Spinach, Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract
- Most dogs loved the taste of this chicken dog food
- Full of fiber, vitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids
- Provides great value for your dog-food dollar
- Contains a few antioxidant-rich “superfoods”
- May be too crunchy for dogs with dental issues
- Some owners disliked the food’s aroma
8. Blue Buffalo Chicken and Rice Puppy Recipe
Blue Buffalo Puppy Recipe
A premium puppy food that’s made with chicken, brown rice, and nutritious produce.
About: If you have a peppy little poultry-lovin’ puppy at home, you should definitely check out Blue Buffalo’s Chicken and Rice Puppy Recipe. Featuring the kinds of ingredients you’d want in a top-notch chicken-based dog food — including deboned chicken, whole grains, and nutritious fruits and veggies — this is a great dog food for puppies to start your pooch on.
Oh, and did we mention? This chicken dog food is full of omega-3s for brain development and coat health, as well as probiotics for proper digestion.
- Deboned chicken is the first listed ingredient
- Made without corn, wheat, or soy
- Provides DHA and ARA for healthy brain development
- Small-sized kibbles are perfect for puppies
- Antioxidant-rich and made with blueberries and cranberries
- Made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley...,
Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Pea Protein, Fish Oil (source of ARA-Arachidonic Acid and DHA- Docosahexaenoic Acid), Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Chicory Root, Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, DL-Methionine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Carnitine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary
- Provides great quality at a reasonable price
- Most dogs love the taste (some owners even use the kibble as training treats)
- Suitable for small- and large-breed puppies alike
- A great source of vitamins and antioxidants
- A couple of owners reported loose stools
- Contains peas, which some owners like to avoid
9. Nutro Senior Chicken & Brown Rice
Nutro Senior Chicken & Brown Rice
A nutritious chicken dog food that’s specifically designed to meet the needs of seniors.
About: Did you know that senior dogs (defined as those who’re 7 to 11 years of age, depending on their size) often need a dog food that’s specifically designed for aging canine bodies? But don’t worry — this kibble by Nutro makes it easy to give your golden oldie the nutrition she deserves.
Crafted specially for senior dogs, this senior dog food with chicken features the proper calcium and mineral levels for older pups, and it’s packed with antioxidants to keep her immune system operating at peak levels. Oh, and did we mention it’s tasty too?
- Whole chicken is the first ingredient
- Great source of calcium to support bone health
- Vitamin-rich recipe designed specifically for seniors
- Packed with antioxidants
- High fiber levels to support proper digestion
Chicken, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate)...,
Whole Grain Barley, Split Peas, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Natural Flavor, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Citric Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Chia Seed, Dried Coconut, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Kale, Dried Spinach, DL-Methionine, Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.
- Very easy to digest — even for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- The smaller-sized kibbles are perfect for aging pups with dental issues
- Appears to boost energy levels
- Contains joint-supporting compounds
- A small percentage of dogs didn’t like the taste
- A couple of owners complained about the food’s aroma
10 Just Food For Dogs – Chicken Recipe
Just Food For Dogs
A fresh, super premium dog food with a taste most dogs simply can’t resist.
About: Some pups are picky eaters — it’s just a fact of four-footed life. Fortunately, there are a few foods that are so ridiculously tasty that your pooch won’t be able to resist them. And one of the very best examples is this chicken recipe by Just Food For Dogs.
Cooked up in the USA inside the brand’s open kitchens, this nutritious dog food with chicken is full of tasty ingredients (including organ meats) that’ll drive your picky pupper wild.
- Suitable for all life stages
- Easy-to-digest recipe is great for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Cooked in the brand’s open kitchens
- Minimally processed to preserve nutrients
- Made with fatty (translation: tasty) chicken thighs instead of breast meat
Chicken thighs, enriched white rice, spinach, carrots, apples...,
chicken gizzards, chicken liver, fish oil, Just Food For Dogs nutrient blend
- Dogs LOVE the taste of this chicken dog food
- Owners in some locations can actually watch the dog food being prepared
- Auto-shipped to your doorstep, making it super convenient
- Dogs often find chicken thighs tastier than breast meat
- A subscription is required
- This is a pretty pricey dog food
Things to Look for in a Chicken Dog Food
Just because a dog food features a prized protein like chicken, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a well-balanced meal for your mutt. Here are three key principles you’ll want to satisfy when choosing the best, healthiest dog food for your pet:
- Pick a dog food that’s formulated to meet or exceed the AAFCO guidelines for your dog’s life stage.
- Select a dog food that caters to any specific health ailments or allergies that your dog has.
- Make your dog food selection in conjunction with your veterinarian.
If you find a dog food with chicken that meets these three mandatory criteria, your furry friend will almost certainly receive adequate nutrition, though there are other factors you’ll want to consider if you’re looking for a top tier food such as:
- Aim for a dog food that’s made in the USA or another Western country.
- Look for a brand that has a canine nutritionist on staff.
- Seek out a dog food with a whole protein near the top of the ingredients list.
- Opt for dog foods with tons of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Stick to dog foods fortified with “extras” like glucosamine, chondroitin, and probiotics.
What About Chicken Meal and Chicken By-Products?
Since we’re talking about dog food with chicken, let’s take a minute to address something that causes a lot of concern and confusion among dog lovers: chicken meal and chicken by-products.
Chicken meal is essentially bits of chicken meat that have been rendered, leaving behind a powder-like protein source. Meanwhile, chicken by-products are comprised of other (edible) parts of the chicken, such as the liver, lungs, and tripe (stomach lining).
These ingredients might not sound appetizing to humans, but they’re both safe and nutritious sources of supplemental protein to include in chicken-based dog foods.
In fact, chicken meal contains several times more protein than fresh chicken (per unit weight), as the water has been cooked off. This is why you might see the ingredient added to dog foods that aren’t focused around chicken — it’s an easy way to boost the protein content of the food.
It is, however, important that you stick to foods with properly labeled meat meals and by-products. In other words, “chicken meal” or “chicken by-products” are fine; “meat meal” or “meat by-products” are too vague and best avoided.
The ultimate takeaway is that you don’t need to run for the hills when you see these ingredients — many very high-quality foods utilize both chicken meal and chicken by-products.
Homemade Chicken Dog Food Recipe
Generally speaking, we don’t recommend homemade dog foods, since they can make it challenging to provide our dogs with the proper nutrients that they need to feel their best. However, if you are going to go this route, it’s best to use a recipe looked over by a veterinarian nutritionist like this one from Pet Plate (and even then, you’ll still need to get final approval from your veterinarian to make sure that it’s a good fit for Fido).
- Chicken breast
- Sweet potatoes
- Cooked brown rice
Start by cooking the cut chicken in a skillet for 5 minutes on each side. Boil sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes, remove from water, and mash to a desired consistency. Cook cut carrots, sweet potatoes, and cooked chicken in a pan for about 10 minutes. Combine mixture with brown rice and serve once cooled.
Chicken serves as a staple protein due to its high protein content, low calories, and delicious flavor. Hopefully, we’ve made your quest to find the perfect chicken food for your furry friend a tiny bit easier.
Does your dog like chicken? Have you tried out any of these chicken dog food options? Tell us all about it in the comments below!