Novel Protein Diets for Dogs: What You Need To Know

Novel protein diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why.

A novel protein diet for canines is often more nutritious than traditional meat-based kibble because they contain additional animal or plant proteins.

They also tend to be less allergenic than many commercial dry dog foods, which can cause skin reactions and gastrointestinal problems for your pup!

In this article from Pet Food Patrol, you’ll learn about the following:

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What are Novel Proteins?

Novel proteins are animal protein foods that are not commonly consumed or used in cat or dog food formula.

It contains a non-vegetarian meat source as the primary component (e.g., venison, duck, fish, wild boar, eggs).

The common proteins used in dog food are usually chicken, beef, and pork, which are considered “common” because they’re all used in many recipes.

A novel protein diet can be a great option if your dog has a food allergy to one of the common proteins!

Novel proteins are generally less likely than other animal-based food sources to cause skin reactions and gastrointestinal problems. Plus, novel protein formulas tend to be lower in fat and higher in protein.

What Is a Novel Protein Diet for Dogs?

A novel protein diet is basically a diet consisting of novel proteins instead of common protein food found in foods for dogs and cats.

Dog food usually contains ingredients such as chicken, beef, and pork that are considered common protein sources because they’re used in most recipes by pet food manufacturers.

It’s specifically formulated for dogs with food allergies, such as those who are allergic to beef or chicken.

Novel protein diets contain different types of meat sources, including rabbits, venison, duck, fish, or even kangaroo! These novel proteins may be better for dogs with food allergies than the more commonly-used animal-based proteins. These foods may be more palatable than the typical food you’re used to feeding them.

Veterinarians permit most novel protein diets for maintenance. It’s not exactly ideal for dogs who are still growing into full-sized adults.

what are novel proteins

Is Turkey a Novel Protein?

Novel proteins are proteins that are not typically used in most recipes by pet food manufacturers. Novel protein diets are usually specifically formulated for dogs with allergies, such as those who are allergic to beef or chicken.

Turkey isn’t commonly used in pet food recipes, so it can be considered a possible novel protein diet.

What Is the Best Protein for Dogs?

There are many meat proteins you can choose from. Most dog food companies use chicken and beef as their primary ingredient, but many dog owners argue about the nutritional value it can bring for their pup. Some of the most popular protein sources for dogs are:

– Beef

– Chicken

– Lamb (for those with allergies)

– Pork (for those with allergies)

– Turkey, duck, or rabbit (for a novel protein option)

Mammalian proteins like beef and chicken should be avoided if your dog has a food allergy. When choosing a protein for your pup, be sure to read the ingredients label and know what you are feeding them.

Although common, the proteins listed above aren’t exactly the best in the pet food market. That’s why we recommend talking to your veterinarian about these novel proteins for your dogs:

Chicken or Turkey

Dog food companies widely use chicken for their recipes. Although common, it’s not a bad source of protein. It’s actually one of the best and cost-effective protein sources readily available for everyone. If your dog is allergic to chicken, try turkey instead.

Duck and rabbit are also good sources of protein for dogs with allergies or intolerances to other proteins like beef, lamb, pork, or fish. The primary disadvantage of these proteins is the cost-effectiveness factor compared to inexpensive and widely available meats like chicken meat.

Salmon & Other Named Fish

Fish is an excellent source of omega fatty acids. Pet owners should know that not all fish are created equal, and some types of fish, like salmon or other named species with high-quality protein levels, may be better for your furry friend.

High-quality fish like Salmon can be a good source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which can help regulate the inflammatory response in dogs to reduce joint pain caused by arthritis and other issues that lead to stiffness.

Beef, Lamb, Sheep, Venison, Bison

Beef is a readily available ingredient for pet food companies to use for dog food recipes. Unfortunately, some dogs are allergic to beef, and other meats, like a lamb, sheep, venison, and bison, can be an excellent substitute for it.

Dogs can be allergic to beef and other meats for various reasons, which makes it important to have an allergy test administered by your veterinarian before switching your dog’s diet over from one food type to another.

If you are considering introducing new ingredients, try out a few different types of meats, and pay attention to your dog’s reaction.

If you notice that your pup has digestive issues or other reactions after eating new food ingredients, contact your vet immediately for additional guidance.

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Adequate Protein Source

Although not the best, some of these foods can be a good source of protein.


Soy is a legume that contains protein. It is used in various vegetarian and vegan diets because it is considered an excellent source of complete plant-based protein.

It contains essential amino acids that dogs will need for their bodies to develop properly.

Soybeans are a little higher in calories and fat (soybean oil) than other vegetables, but they provide the essential amino acids for dogs.

Potatoes, Peas, Grains

Plant-based proteins like potatoes, peas, and grains are a good source of protein for dogs.

When these foods are cooked, they soften up and provide proteins that can be digested easily.

They also have essential amino acids, which provide an adequate substitute for meat-based proteins like beef or chicken breast.

Potatoes contain carbohydrates, but peas and rice do not. So if your dog has food sensitivities with grains or potatoes, peas are a good alternative.

Meat By-Products

By-products aren’t exactly the best kind of non-vegetarian protein, but they can do the job just fine. By-products consist of meat that is not good enough for human consumption.

Animal by-products can be effective to use when transitioning your dog onto a plant or meat-based diet because they are made up of many types of animal protein sources.

This type of protein provides a balance in amino acids necessary for canine health.

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