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3 min read

Can My Dog Eat Duck If They're Allergic to Chicken?


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Published: 6/2/2021
Trying new foods can be a scary prospect for pet parents of dogs with protein allergies. You can never be sure if whether or not your fur-baby will react to something in the food until you try it, and that may mean going through countless foods until you find one your dog can tolerate. Finding pet food for dogs with chicken allergies can be particularly difficult since chicken is in many kibbles — even if the recipe doesn't state it by name. 

Many popular brands list chicken byproducts under the generic term "meat byproducts," leaving many pet parents unsure of whether to buy the food. For this reason, vets often suggest trying novel protein diets for their furry patients. Duck is one such novel protein.

Many pet parents with this concern wonder, "Can dogs eat duck if they're allergic to chicken?" After all, both these foods are poultry. The answer, according to most experts, is a resounding yes.

What is a novel protein?

A novel protein is a protein that a dog has never experienced before. Since it is new, their body won't recognize it as an allergen, eliminating the chance of a reaction. It's common practice for veterinarians to use novel protein diets to diagnose and treat food protein allergies in dogs. 

Unusual proteins often make up novel protein diets, with ingredients like herring, deer, rabbit, kangaroo, and, of course, duck. Duck meat is a common ingredient in these diets due to its nutrient density and palatable taste that most pets find appealing.

Can dogs eat duck if they're allergic to chicken?

Many veterinarians suggest trying duck-based kibbles as an alternative to chicken, which has a reputation for causing canine allergies. Another reason duck is a top pick because it is full of iron and amino acids that dogs need to stay fit and active. What's more, duck is high in protein and fat, which are essential macronutrients dogs need to maintain healthy muscles and a shiny coat.

Things to consider when giving your dog fresh duck

Here are a few things to consider when preparing fresh duck for your dog: 

Debone the duck

Like chicken bones, duck bones can splinter in your dog's stomach, so you must remove them before giving your dog duck meat. It’s a good idea to shred the duck and sift through the meat to make sure you don’t miss any small bone fragments.

Don't season the duck

Refrain from using salt, garlic, onion powder, or other spices when cooking duck for your dog. Though delicious, these spices are all toxic to dogs.

Render out the fat and remove the skin

Duck has a high fat content, so it's important that you remove the skin and cook out as much fat as possible when preparing it. High-fat diets can cause dogs to gain weight and put them at risk for obesity-related conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Cook the duck well-done

Raw poultry can contain dangerous bacteria that can make your dog sick. For this reason, you should cook duck to an internal temperature of 155° F.

Know that duck allergies are still possible

Duck allergies are rare, but there is always a chance your dog could develop an allergy to it as with any dog food ingredient. Tell your vet immediately if your dog exhibits any of these symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin irritation
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Rashes
  • Fur loss
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Scratching
  • Biting at the paws
  • Excessive grooming
  • Pawing the face
  • Hives
  • Paw inflammation
  • Swelling of the face, tongue, or paws


The nutrient profile of duck makes it a great choice when choosing chicken alternatives for dogs with allergies, but you should use caution when preparing it. Remove the skin and as much fat as possible to avoid your pup getting too much fat in their diet. 

Avoid giving your dog raw or undercooked duck since this can contain bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal upset. Even though duck is less likely to cause allergies than chicken, it can still cause a reaction in sensitive dogs.

If your dog has poultry allergies, make sure you talk to your vet before switching them to a duck-based diet. Need to speak with a vet now? Click here to live chat with a licensed veterinarian.

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