by K9 Power Team June 09, 2020 5 min read


What you eat and what your family eats is important. You pay extra attention to the food that goes on their plates. So, why is it any different when it comes to what’s in your dog’s bowl? Our dogs are family too, aren’t they? If you’ve gone with commercial dog food for years and noticed your dog’s stomach going wonky or a coat that’s begun to lose its shimmer, maybe it’s time to rethink the quality of your pup’s diet.

Typically, chicken is one of the first culprits we blame for a dog’s food-issues. That’s because chicken (well, chicken by-products) is used in many commercial dog foods. The same applies to any additives, like vitamins and supplements, that you add to their meals each day. This blame often paves the way for a “chicken allergy” diagnosis, which may not be accurate.

Let’s explore three common misconceptions about chicken in dog foods and supplements:

  1. The difference between feed-grade and human-grade ingredients
  2. Understanding chicken meat vs. chicken by-products on ingredient labels
  3. How chicken may (or may not) trigger an allergic reaction in your dog

Before making a more drastic decision to give up on chicken, check out these essentials of chicken-based options. Who knows, you may even rethink their allergy and give chicken another chance.

Feed-Grade vs. Human-Grade

If you love your dog as much as we love ours, then only the best will do. Unfortunately, many commercial dog foods and supplements are made with “feed-grade” ingredients rather than “human-grade” ingredients. You can probably see where we’re going here...

Feed-grade ingredients are much lower quality than human-grade. That’s because feed-grade ingredients have allowances for contaminants, like mold-producing mycotoxins, that can be higher than the allowances found in human-grade foods.

We hate to elaborate, but feed-grade meat “meals,” such as “meat and bone meal” and “by-products”, can contain some unexpected ingredients. Per the National Agricultural Law Center, this can include “dead animals from farms, ranches, feedlots, marketing barns, animal shelters, and other facilities; and fats, grease, and other food waste from restaurants and stores.” FDA testing of dog foods revealed that pentobarbital, a chemical used to euthanize, had been found in the dead animals used in dog food.

It’s no wonder your dog’s health can be negatively impacted when they’re consistently eating ingredients with these by-products in them. At K9 Power, we only use human-grade ingredients in all of our supplements. This means your pup isn’t getting any of the harmful by-products found in many other supplement options out there. This might be the right time to take another look at your dog food ingredient labels at home too.

Chicken Meat vs. Chicken By-Products

All parts of the chicken aren’t digested equally, and some are harsher on your dog’s GI tract than others. Chicken by-products are considered the parts of a chicken that remain after meat is removed, like lungs, spleen, kidneys and the liver. Sometimes these can be healthy for your dog, delivering important nutrients. But similar to the feed grade vs human grade classification, these “chicken by-products” often include parts like talons, feathers, bones, beaks or intestinal contents. These are more often the true culprits that lead to your pup’s GI tract rejecting his food. In your pup, you might see signs of declining health, like a dull coat, irritated skin, excessive itching, or diarrhea and vomiting.

Dog Food Label - Chicken By-Product Meal Ingredient

The chicken used in all K9 Power products is only the chicken meat. We don’t use any chicken by-products. This means your dogs get the nutrient-dense chicken meat that tastes good to them and is beneficial for their overall health and well-being.

Is My Dog Truly Allergic To Chicken?

Woof. This is a tough one. Pinpointing an allergy, with confidence, is a more in depth process than you might assume. We humans rely on test stripes, scratch tests, and sometimes months of an elimination diet, and it can be even more difficult to identify the allergens of our dogs.

Dog Allergies, credit: The Dogington Post

Authentic chicken allergies represent a sensitivity to the amino acid components of chicken protein. Their body misidentifies them and triggers an inflammatory response. That means, if a dog is truly allergic to chicken, eliminating chicken by-products alone will not make their allergy go away.

On the other hand, a non-allergic dog can have a poor reaction to by-products without being allergic to the protein source overall. Sometimes, our pups are misdiagnosed with a chicken allergy simply because they consume chicken by-products they cannot stomach. That’s the catch... it may not be meat our pup’s bodies react to, but the by-products found in their commercial dog food, treats and supplements.

Too often, this misconception gives chicken, as a whole, a bad rap. Human-grade chicken meat, like what we use at K9 Power, may be digested perfectly fine by your pup, and that is worth investigating with your veterinarian. It may sound like we’re splitting hairs, but this is an important distinction to consider.

The K9 Power Difference

On our labels, you’ll often see “chicken” as a primary ingredient. It is important to note that whenever we include chicken, it’s always human-grade meat. It’s never chicken by-products, especially not talons, beaks or feathers.

Ingredients List - K9 Power Joint Strong

We deliberately chose this because chicken meat delivers a complete protein, contains important nutrition, and provides the meaty taste our dogs love. And believe it or not, chicken is the largest component of costs in our supplements. That’s due to the high-quality chicken we source and how much of it we use in each product.

By-products would be less expensive and could still “get the job done,” but we never cut corners when it comes to quality. It’s important to carefully watch how our dogs react to any new food we introduce. From an ingredients perspective, we should be discerning when it comes to the quality of food (and supplements) we put into their bowls.

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Final Thoughts

At K9 Power, we want nothing less than elevated health for the dogs in our lives, so they can live their fullest and best lives. That’s why we started K9 Power over 20 years ago and have been so intentional with each ingredient we use in our blends.

We recognize that some dogs do have a true chicken allergy, meaning their body cannot process chicken as a protein source. These specific dogs are not simply experiencing a side effect from unhealthy ingredients, like feed-grade chicken by-products. That said, this can be difficult to diagnose, and a veterinarian allergy specialist will be your best resource to identify your dog’s true allergen. In the event you do uncover a true chicken allergy, you should certainly look for other food and supplement options for your dog. Sadly, our chicken meat-based supplements won’t be a great fit for your pup.

Our production team has explored other protein options for our supplements, and you’ll notice that beef makes its way into a few products today. We continue to evaluate new, innovative, high-performance formulas. The day we can include a non-chicken protein without sacrificing product quality, we’ll share the update loudly and proudly with the K9 Power Family!

As always, we invite you to explore our complete line of supplements and share them with fellow dog lovers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.


2 Responses

K9 Power Team
K9 Power Team

June 22, 2020

Hi, Leonardo. We definitely don’t like to hear stories like these! We recommend adding Show Stopper (or any supplement) to your dog’s food for at least 2-3 weeks, sometimes longer, to take full effect.

Some dogs are suspicious eaters, reacting more drastically to changes in their diet. This is completely normal. You might try a longer “easing in” period to the supplement, adding a 1/4 serving for the first week, a 1/2 serving for the second week, a 3/4 serving for the third week, and a full serving by the fourth week and beyond. A bit labor-intensive, but well worth it!

If you still experience your pup’s itching it could be an allergy or other ailment outside of Show Stopper. You should certainly consult your veterinarian for further assistance if it persists for more than a few days.

Leonard Griego
Leonard Griego

June 22, 2020

I’m new to the K9 family. I’ve been feeding my dogs the K9 Power SHOW Stopper and have slowly increased the amount needed for each one and the last 2 days they both refuse to eat their food. Today I removed the food with K9 powder, cleaned their bowls and gave regular food(no K9) and they ate their food immediately. My one year old appears to be allergic cause he is now scratching excessively and he wasn’t before. I purchased a 4lb tub and I can honestly say this isn’t working for them.

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