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The Ingredients of Kabo: Chicken


Wondering why we use certain ingredients in our gently cooked recipes? Each individual ingredient is selected for its unique function that helps optimize your dog's body for their best healthy life.

Chicken is a common ingredient in foods for our pups. Most dogs like its taste, it is cost effective and is very easy to digest. It has been a staple in dog food for a long time,  yet in the last few years many owners have heard that it can cause allergies and are sometimes weary about feeding it to their dog. Although this can happen to some dogs, the majority of the dogs do great on chicken recipes and don't experience any issues.

samoyed dog in the kitchen  dog chicken stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images


Why the fear of chicken allergies?

Many owners have heard that dogs can be allergic to chicken so wonder if their dog is when deciding on a diet. There is no current research confirming which breeds are more susceptible to a chicken allergy. There are some trends in the dog world that show that Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels, Westies and Yorkies are often googled alongside ‘food allergy’. 

Vet dermatologists in the US, Sweden and UK are studying which are the major and minor components of chicken that cause allergic reactions by studying blood samples from dogs that were confirmed to be allergic to chicken (1). They did find seven proteins in the blood samples that seem to be increased compared to non-allergic dogs. It is still early days to make firm conclusions however, they suggest that further studies are needed to confirm if these unique proteins, also known as allergens, are the result of processing of meat and if all of these allergens are found in all processed, fresh, and other forms of chicken products for dogs. 

Other products such as beef and dairy also cause allergies in dogs, and are more common than chicken allergies (2). Keep in mind that there is still a much larger percentage of dogs that are NOT allergic to chicken, and therefore it can still be an excellent protein source for many dogs.

Border Collie, sitting behind a hen and looking at it Border Collie, 8.5 years old, sitting behind a hen and looking at it in front of white background dog chicken stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images


Why we use it:

Low fat 

Chicken is a very lean meat, with the typical chicken breast averaging at 20% fat per 100 grams and 80% protein in that same 100 grams. The white mean is lowest in fat, containing about 1.5 grams per 3 ounce serving. The dark meat has much more, 6.75 grams of fat for 3 ounces (3). It is saturated fat, and this makes it somewhat controversial in some nutrition circles. However, if you balance a diet with other factors and minimize other fat containing ingredients, it is a super source of many nutrients. This is one of the reasons chicken is so popular as a protein source for dogs. 

Doner ingredients, chicken meat on black background Doner ingredients, chicken meat on black background. chicken meat stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images


Build muscle mass & provide energy

As your dog exercises and ages, there is a constant need for protein in the diet to help replace this protein breakdown. Given chicken’s lean muscle mass, it provides an excellent source of protein replacement. Ingested protein gets broken down into amino acids needed for this replacement. Chicken provides amino acids that are required by the diet and cannot be made by dogs. Once that is complete, the excess is used as energy. And we all know our pups need that for those zoomie moments!!


Vitamins

Chicken is also very high in vitamin B6, which is a vitamin important for maintaining a healthy immune system to fight viruses and other infections. Vitamin B6 also helps make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen inside red blood cells in order to deliver oxygen to all of  our dogs tissues. 

Chicken is also an excellent source of selenium which is a trace element vital to normal functioning of the thyroid gland, reproductive organisms and DNA synthesis.  


What does science say?

It has long been established that chicken is a highly digestible protein and in 2010 a group of animal scientists showed that despite composition differences in various protein sources (i.e. beef, pork, pollock, salmon), good quality chicken has similar nutrient digestibility (4). 

Chicken in dog food can vary depending on the quality of the source but also in how the meat is prepared. Over cooked chicken will not provide the same nutrient absorption compared to methods that take into consideration the availability of the nutrients after the food is prepared. A group of animal nutritionists and veterinary researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,  found chicken most digestible when it is steamed or gently cooked. As a result, the gentle cooking methods also provided the highest availability of amino acids from the meat (5).

Beagle dog looking  to roasted chicken leg Beagle dog looking  to roasted chicken leg  on  white plate. dog chicken stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images


Kabo diets that include chicken:

Tender chicken recipe - Loaded with tenderly cooked chicken and complemented with green beans, red apples, green peas, carrots and long grain rice that dogs love! It is complete and balanced and ideal for senior dogs, dogs with sensitive stomachs and those looking for a low fat protein source.


Irresistible chicken kibble - Made from fresh chicken and balanced with sweet potato, brown rice, peas, blueberries and many more superfoods, this kibble is ideal for pups wanting a high protein meal, that is low in fat, but big on taste.

Dog looking at chicken on the kitchen counter
Dog looking at chicken on the kitchen counter

View Sources

  1. ​​Olivry T, Pucheu-Haston CM, Mayer U, Bergvall K, Bexley J. Identification of major and minor chicken allergens in dogs. Vet Dermatol. 2022 Feb;33(1):46-e16. doi: 10.1111/vde.13029. Epub 2021 Nov 3. PMID: 34734435.
  2. Mueller RS, Olivry T, Prélaud P. Critically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals (2): common food allergen sources in dogs and cats. BMC Vet Res. 2016 Jan 12;12:9. doi: 10.1186/s12917-016-0633-8. PMID: 26753610; PMCID: PMC4710035.
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/calories-in-chicken
  4. Faber TA, Bechtel PJ, Hernot DC, Parsons CM, Swanson KS, Smiley S, Fahey GC Jr. Protein digestibility evaluations of meat and fish substrates using laboratory, avian, and ileally cannulated dog assays. J Anim Sci. 2010 Apr;88(4):1421-32. doi: 10.2527/jas.2009-2140. Epub 2009 Dec 18. PMID: 20023140.
  5. Oba PM, Utterback PL, Parsons CM, de Godoy MRC, Swanson KS. Chemical composition, true nutrient digestibility, and true metabolizable energy of chicken-based ingredients differing by processing method using the precision-fed cecectomized rooster assay1. J Anim Sci. 2019 Mar 1;97(3):998-1009. doi: 10.1093/jas/sky461. PMID: 30535325; PMCID: PMC6396239.

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