Chicken meat has long been lauded as the best choice of meats for a dog or cat with allergies or gastro-intestinal upsets. Whilst the latter is quite true (boiled chicken, no skin, no fat, with mashed sweet potato) for settling a dog or cat with diarrhoea or colitis, unfortunately it is NOT a good long term choice for feeding to dogs and cats with skin problems.
The first reason why I do not choose chicken as a meat source is the fact that it is the most commonly used meat protein in commercial pet foods – if you read the ingredient list carefully, you will find that chicken, chicken fat, chicken digest, chicken meat and/or by-products (I’ll bet you it’s by-products) is somewhere on the list in upwards of 80% of all dry and tinned commercial dog and cat foods. Why, because it is very cheap, and readily available in nearly all countries. This heavy exposure to chicken proteins via commercial pet foods means that most pets that present with an allergy have a very high chance of having had significant exposure to chicken meat, and an equally high chance that they are sensitised to those proteins (ie chicken meat may be part of the allergy).
The second reason I do not choose chicken for pets with allergies is that it is a nutritionally inferior meat choice. Battery raised chicken has a very limited nutritional profile (limited to the quality of the pellets they are fed), these chickens are raised on mass, in sheds, with no exposure to green grass or sunlight. They are bred, raised and slaughtered in a very short time (most are 10 weeks old at slaughter), and a purely designed to have large breasts and thighs – there is no (zero) emphasis on nutritional value to the consumer, just size and taste. For people that may consume chicken once a week, this is no big deal, but for a pet that is being fed chicken exclusively as its meat source, this can add to nutritional deficiencies that are already causing the immune system to malfunction.
Dr Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons), Founder of Vets All Natural.
Dr Bruce Syme is a practicing vet and expert in natural pet nutrition, has spoken at the Australian Veterinary Association Annual Conference, and provides regular comment on TV and Radio.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Dr. Bruce Syme, unless otherwise noted. The information is not intended as medical advice, it simply shares the knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Bruce and his community. Pet health care decisions should be based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified pet health care professional.
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