Are dogs really “allergic” to chicken?
Firstly, if you’re wondering why I have the word “allergic” in quotes, you will want to check out my article and video on “allergies” in general. Basically, allergy is the theoretical concept that attempts to explain an anomalous negative reaction to a normal, natural stimulus. Such as when a dog is said to be “allergic” to grass or pollen.
The allergy theory was never intended to account for, unpleasant symptoms that follow exposure to real poisons. For example, your dog can’t be “allergic” to weed killer or household cleansers. If you noticed any kind of negative reaction after exposure to those things, that would be the normal response of a healthy body. The only way a body would NOT have a negative reaction (even if it’s not visible) would be is if it’s already dead or lacks the vitality to react to anything.
The word “allergy” is mis-applied when it is used to account for normal reactions to true poisons. It also gets mis-used to explain reactions to foods going into a dog’s body that do not belong there. For example, a negative response a dog might have after eating wheat or a corn-based kibble may be called a gluten or corn “allergy”. The truth is that these foods are not normal and natural to a dog at all. That’s the problem, not “allergies”.
Is it the chicken, or something else?
Something similar is usually going on when dogs have issues after eating chicken, even though chicken is a perfectly adequate, if perhaps not optimal, food for dogs. In many or most cases where the diagnosis is a “chicken allergy”, it’s not the chicken that is to blame. That’s because there is plenty wrong with the chicken we feed that would put it in the unacceptable category while not indicting the general feeding of chicken at all. Chicken that is cooked, combined with incompatible foods or fed without trimming fat is very likely to cause a negative reaction even in a perfectly healthy dog, just like wheat or corn might. Typically, when people hear that their dogs may have a “chicken allergy”, they don’t consider that it’s not really the chicken that’s causing the problem. It’s those other things that most people (including vets) aren’t even aware of.
Nobody’s thinking critically about the “allergy theory”
I’m sure you’ve not heard any of this anywhere else. It’s because people generally don’t apply the same skepticism to lame-but-persistent medical theories that they do to alternative explanations.
What RMF’rs experience
I feel comfortable saying these things because I understand the concept of toxemia, which underlies “allergies”. And also because I have had the experience of seeing dozens of previously chicken “allergic” dogs eat chicken without symptoms after starting RMF. Invariably when I ask members of my Facebook group to tell me about their experiences with their “chicken allergic” dogs, they line up to tell me that they fed it without issues during their dogs’ transition. Many of these people spent their presumably hard-earned cash on “allergy” tests that showed “conclusive” evidence of “chicken allergy”. Here are a few:
Nacho used to have a “chicken allergy”. Our vet put him on beef kibble at 8 weeks old for that reason. Our holistic vet put him on pre-made raw beef and pork when he turned a year. At about 2.5 years I put him on RMF, mostly chicken based. No issues. I do still feed beef and pork occasionally, but I’d say 75% to 80% of his protein is chicken.Roman Kesseli
Zeva is a 4 year old GSD and has been on RMF protocol for 2.5 years. At 6 months old she began scratching while on a raw food diet, primarily chicken. At a year old, a Glacier Peaks Pet Wellness Scan confirmed chicken as an allergy trigger along with lamb, pork, venison, quail. Symptoms would lessen with a protein change. They always returned until there was no protein fed that wouldn’t result in scratching and biting until she bled. Fur had fallen out all over her back, neck and chest, skin was black, rough and textured like elephant skin.
Found Nora’s website, started her on RMF immediately and within 4 months the scratching stopped and fur had regrown. Fed her chicken on her meat days (2:1 rotation) from the start. She’s been through several bouts of detox but each less severe than the previous one. Have fed her mostly chicken for 2.5 years with no “allergy” symptoms along with pork loin now and then also with no symptoms. Have also tried a 1:1 rotation with chicken as her meat with no “allergy” symptoms.Caryn Franklino
Koda’ diagnosis was “chicken allergy”. He’s been RMF for 1year 4 months. We didn’t start feeding chicken/hens until about a month into RMF. He did fine with it right off the bat.Katherine Cunningham
We thought my miniature pinscher Bella had a chicken allergy. She’s going to be 12 on May 21st and has been on RMF since June 2021 so approximately 9 months. I continued to feed chicken after beginning RMF. But with the removal of the fat and skin and on a 2:1 protocol. She began tolerating the chicken within a month. She still gets chicken as a staple. We also wanted to give her whole prey as well so we added fish such as sardines and rainbow trout. She’s still doing very well and tolerates chicken with zero issues but, she is now on a 5:1:1. We know it was never a chicken allergy now. She just needed to return to a species appropriate intake of nutrients. She’s a completely different dog thanks to following a tight RMF protocol.Jazmyn Adelle
Glacier Peak’s list of possible “triggers”
Let’s look at this test result a member of my Facebook group got back on her dog. As she said in her brief testimonial in my other allergy article, she endeavored every day to avoid those foods and substances that her dog was supposedly sensitive to. These included chicken. Yet when she started feeding RMF, she fed defatted chicken just like most RMF’rs do, and her dog did not react negatively.
Foods that don’t belong in dogs
The other interesting thing about this chart is that it lists things that would cause negative reactions in perfectly healthy dogs. Things like oils, salt, preservatives, tobacco, spices, carob and garlic are not appropriate for dogs at all. To declare that it is pathological for a dog to react negatively to them is not accurate. A negative reaction to these things is not pathological, it is normal.
The process of elimination
All this is not to say that there aren’t a few dogs that will continue to do better on other sources of raw meat while they heal. It still has nothing to do with the chicken itself. It is the yet-unresolved pathology of the dog (caused by toxemia, which is the underlying cause of “allergies”) and the fat content of chicken. Even after trimming the fat, agricultural chicken is still much fattier than wild prey. Owners of those dogs don’t need to give up chicken unless they have conclusive evidence via the process of elimination that it is causing the problem. Once they’ve done that, using other kinds of foods may be necessary until a dog heals.
Chicken is hard to beat
The bottom line for everyone else is that there’s no need to give up the most affordable, accessible, appropriate raw food for dogs. For all those attributes and others, chicken is deal maker for many raw feeders. Small dogs must have consumable bones and cannot eat the bones of large animals. Very often, owners of large or multiple dogs must feed chicken as well, because of its low cost.
A word of advice if your dog has a “chicken allergy”…
Whether your dog has been officially diagnosed with a chicken “allergy” or you just suspect it, you would do well to eliminate all other possible causes before giving up chicken. Those causes would be chicken in any other form except raw and defatted, and chicken that is mis-combined with other foods. Of course, you would also want to begin feeding the best, most healing diet to your dog. That way, so that all pathologies in the body have the best shot at resolution. For information on that, please check out my e-book.