As dog owners increasingly become more health-conscious, they are looking for the best quality ingredients in their pet’s food. Proteins are an essential part of a dog’s diet, and there are many different sources of protein that can be used in dog food.
The best novel protein dog foods are made with ingredients that are not commonly used in pet food. This can include things like fish, lamb, duck, rabbit, and kangaroo. These ingredients provide your dog with the nutrients they need without the common allergens that can cause problems. These types of foods are frequently sought out by pet owners concerned with allergies, skin conditions, digestive issues, excessive inflammation, or other issues related to reactions to food.
Here are 10 of the best novel protein dog foods that will be available in 2024.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2024
|Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Smoke-Flavored Salmon Grain-Free Dry
|Rachel Ray Nutrish Limited Ingredient Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe
|Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe
|Best for Puppies
|Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Lamb & Oatmeal Recipe
|Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Selected Protein PR Dry Dog Food
The 10 Best Novel Protein Dog Foods
1. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream with Smoke-Flavored Salmon Dog Food — Best Overall
|Wild Pacific salmon, fish meal, sweet potato, potatoes, peas, canola oil, lentils
The Taste of the Wild Pacific Salmon Dog Food is a top-quality food product that provides dogs with a healthy and nutritious meal. This food is made with real salmon, which is a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. The Pacific Salmon is a species of anadromous fish that inhabits freshwater rivers and streams along the west coast of North America, from Alaska to central California. The nutrients that come from salmon are essential for a dog’s health, and they can help to improve its coat and skin condition.
The food also contains vegetables and fruits that provide additional vitamins and minerals. The food is grain-free, and sweet potatoes and peas provide the bulk of the carbohydrates but take care if your dog is allergic to peas.
This brand is widely purchased and has lots of user reviews. The Taste of the Wild brand has fewer recipe options compared to competitors, but they keep their concept simple and have a large and loyal following.
- Omega-6 & omega-3 fatty acids
- High protein content
- Contains probiotics
2. Rachel Ray Nutrish Limited Ingredient Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food — Best Value
|Lamb meal, brown rice, brewers rice, dried beet pulp, chicken fat, natural pork flavor
When discussing the best novel protein dog foods, it is important to consider the affordability of the options. In this regard, Rachel Ray Nutrish is one of the most affordable options on the market. This food provides your dog with a novel source of protein without breaking the bank. Rachel Ray Nutrish is made with lamb meal which is a good option if your pet is allergic to chicken and beef; however, this is a processed and not whole meat option.
3. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food — Premium Choice
|Lamb, lamb meal, brown rice, brewers rice, rice bran, brewers dried yeast, canola oil
If money is no option for your feline, consider our premium choice: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Lamb & Brown Rice. The combination of lamb and rice provides dogs with both a quality choice of novel protein as well as healthy grains, adding to their daily fiber intake. This recipe also contains plenty of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, benefiting your dog’s skin and fur.
Some customers were a bit surprised by the significant cost increase, which made some people seek out other options for their dog.
4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Lamb & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food — Best for Puppies
|Deboned lamb, fish meal, oatmeal, brown rice, barley, pea starch, lamb meal, pea protein, dried egg product, peas, chicken fat, flaxseed
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Lamb & Oatmeal is the best novel protein dog food for puppies. It is made with real lamb and oatmeal, and it is designed to meet the needs of growing puppies. This food contains DHA, which is essential for cognitive development, and it also has antioxidants to support a healthy immune system. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Lamb & Oatmeal is a complete and balanced food that provides all the nutrients your puppy needs for a healthy start in life.
5. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Selected Protein PR Dry Dog Food
|Potato, rabbit meal, coconut oil, hydrolyzed soy protein, potato protein, natural flavors, vegetable oil, fish oil
A good option on the market is Royal Canin’s Veterinary Diet Adult Selected Protein. This food is specially formulated to be hypoallergenic and requires a prescription from a licensed veterinarian. The primary protein is rabbit, and the ingredient list is relatively short, making it a limited-ingredient diet. This food provides the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for your dog to stay healthy and happy.
The soy in the food is hydrolyzed, so it should not cause an allergic reaction, and it does include natural flavors from pork.
6. Orijen Six Fish Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|6 types of fish, lentils, pinto beans, sunflower oil, peas, navy beans, chickpeas, pumpkins
The Orijen Six Fish Dog Food is an excellent source of omega fatty acids. The high-quality ingredients and the unique blend of six different fish make this food perfect for dogs who need a little extra help getting their omega fatty acids. The best part about this food is that it is also a great source of protein, so your dog will be getting all the nutrients they need in one delicious package.
The fish used in the blend, such as mackerel, herring, and monkfish, are oily and dense in nutrient content. Other ingredients include pumpkin, butternut squash, collard greens, apples, pears, and kelp. Be aware, though, that this is a grain-free option and may not be appropriate for every dog; it is always best to check with your vet before going grain-free.
Some pet owners have noted that their small dogs have turned up with a bit of fishy breath after switching to this diet!
7. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
|Salmon, chicken meal, peas, pea protein, fish meal, tapioca starch, dried tomato
|34.0 % Min
|15.0 % Min
The Blue Buffalo line of dog food is a great choice for pet owners looking for a high-protein option. The food is made with real meat and fish, providing your dog with the necessary nutrients for a healthy diet. In addition to the high protein content, the Blue Buffalo Basics line of dog food also contains essential vitamins and minerals, making it a complete and balanced meal for your furry friend.
Be aware that this option does contain chicken meal and pea protein, so if your dog has any sensitivities to chicken or peas, this might not be the best option.
8. Zignature Kangaroo With Probiotics Dog Food
Zignature kangaroo is the best novel protein dog food for dogs allergic to all other meats. This food is made with high-quality ingredients and is free from common allergens, making it a great option for dogs with allergies. The kangaroo meat in this food is a lean, nutritious protein source that is packed with essential nutrients for your dog.
It can be a bit high cost for some dog owners but well worth it if it clears up chronic skin conditions or other allergy-related issues. Some pet owners reported that they found it slightly oily and heavy for their dogs, but overall it is very favorably reviewed.
9. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Duck & Oatmeal Dog Food
|Duck, oatmeal, peas, ground rice, potato protein, tomato, canola oil, ground flaxseed
When looking for the best novel protein dog food, it is important to consider the ingredients. Wellness Simple Duck and Oatmeal includes healthy grains, like rice and oatmeal, which are great for your dog’s health. The duck provides a high-quality protein source, and the oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that will help your dog feel full and satisfied. This food also includes omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy coat and skin.
10. Instinct Original With Real Rabbit Dog Food
|Rabbit, salmon meal, fish meal, chickpeas, canola oil, tapioca, rabbit meal, white fish meal, dried tomato, peas
Protein is an essential macronutrient for dogs, and for some dogs, it is good to look for novel proteins that provide a high protein content. Instinct original rabbit is a great option for dogs who need a high-protein diet. It is made with real rabbit, which is a lean and nutritious source of protein.
This food contains peas, so not a great option for dogs who are sensitive to this ingredient.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Novel Protein Dog Foods
There is a lot of debate in the veterinary community about what constitutes hypoallergenic dog food. Generally, it is agreed that the term refers to food that contains novel proteins, which are proteins that the dog’s body has not been exposed to before. This means that the dog’s immune system is less likely to react to these proteins, and therefore the food is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Many people try these foods after consulting with their vets and do a prescription elimination diet with their pet to determine exactly what allergens are the issue. They then have a better idea of which recipes and ingredients are likely to be beneficial for their pups.
Salmon & Other Fish
Despite its popularity in the dog food industry, salmon is still considered a novel protein because dogs have rarely reported allergies to it. The many health benefits of salmon make it one of the best natural meat ingredients for your pups. Salmon is rich in omega fatty acids, which is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation in your dog’s system.
Fish that also provide dense nutritional profiles and good health benefits are other oily fish like mackerel, herring, trout, and sardines.
As novel proteins are becoming increasingly popular in dog food, many are finding lamb is a great option for your furry friend. Lamb is a relatively lean protein source, providing your dog with the essential amino acids they need to maintain a healthy weight and muscle mass. In addition, lamb is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to promote a healthy coat and skin.
The protein in kangaroo meat is a novel protein source for dogs. It is not commonly used in dog food, but it has many benefits. Kangaroo meat is high in protein and low in fat, making it an ideal protein source for dogs. It is also a lean protein source, which means it is lower in calories than other protein sources. Kangaroo meat is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for dogs’ skin and coat health.
This is an especially good option if you have tried many things and have not yet found something that works.
Rabbit is a good example of a novel protein for dogs. Rabbit is not a common ingredient in dog food, so it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Breeding and raising them is relatively easy, and they do less environmental damage than some other animal protein sources.
Even though rabbit meat is all white, it is said to have a higher protein ratio than beef or chicken. It is also lean and low in calories and cholesterol, which is good for dogs who are watching their waistlines or have heart issues.
The inclusion of grains is beneficial to most dogs unless your dog suffers from an allergy. Many people rush to eliminate grains from their dog’s diets in an effort to be healthy, but this can actually be quite harmful to many dogs and doesn’t suit their constitution, health profile, or digestive profile. It is very important to consult your vet to see if grain-free is necessary for your dog. Do not make this type of diet adjustment without input from a veterinary professional.
There have been some concerns about heart disease related to diets heavily dependent on legumes, such as peas, lentils, beans, and chickpeas. It is good to keep a more varied diet or rely on carbohydrates such as rice, oatmeal, or simple carbs like pumpkin and butternut squash. Check with your veterinarian about the best option for your pet before making any major diet changes.
In summary, our top 5 favorites are Taste of the Wild Pacific Salmon, Rachel Ray Nutrish, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Lamb & Brown Rice, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Lamb & Oatmeal Recipe, and Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Selected Protein PR Dry Dog Food. Fish-based options are great for their anti-inflammatory properties, high protein content, and rich array of natural vitamins and minerals.
Featured Image Credit: Sergey Fatin, Shutterstock