Where to buy novel protein dog food?
June 12, 2017 3:32 PM   Subscribe

Hi, Our dog has been having skin/itching issues and our vet is suggesting trying a "novel protein" diet. Does anyone know of good brands to try for dry and wet dog food?
posted by massofintuition to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what you're looking for, but our dog has been enjoying V-Dog for the last four or five years. The protein is entirely from plant sources (she has an inflammatory condition that was being exacerbated by some component of the mixed-animal-meal that's used in most commercial dog food). We set up a recurring delivery order of V-Dog, so a new bag arrives every six weeks like clockwork.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:55 PM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

When we went through this with our dog, we went with Solid Gold grain-free and Blue Buffalo, which are high-quality and available at Petco. Turned out the allergy issues were corn, wheat, and the "animal by-products" that are in a lot of dog foods.

Nowadays, he's good with the Rachel Ray "Just 6" brand that we can get at the grocery store or Target, and the Kirkland Signature "Nature's Domain" canned food from Costco.
posted by erst at 3:57 PM on June 12, 2017

I just went through this last month with my apparently protein intolerant cat. Luckily I live in pampered pet central, Seattle, and had two different fancy pet stuff stores to visit and pepper people with questions. If you live near any stores like this, definitely drop in and ask for clarification and help.

Anyway, the most helpful thing I learned was the term LID, which stands for Limited Ingredient Diet and is the keyword for searching for this stuff.

After many taste tests and lots of ingredient list reading we have settled on Natural Balance for part of the cat's diet. They have LID dog food too.

Wild Calling has a big range of unusual proteins to try including alligator which cracks me up because imagine your pet devouring an alligator.

Instinct has LID dog recipes and was one that my vet mentioned when I first asked her.

To work out what's bugging your dog you want to change not just the protein but also the carbs. Like, if they have been eating mostly chicken and potato food, try to find a novel protein and also not potato. I got the impression this was easier for cats than dogs, since dogs have a more varied diet. If you have the budget and are willing, feeding raw can be easier for LID requirements but it's a whole different host of challenges. Many pet food stores will offer free samples for you to take home and try, so definitely ask about that if your dog is picky.
posted by Mizu at 3:57 PM on June 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

I like Orijen. Cat likes it, dog likes it.
posted by lunastellasol at 4:05 PM on June 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

My dog eats Taste of the Wild, the bison version. They have a bunch of different kinds of novel protein (salmon, duck, venison, etc.)
posted by tatiana wishbone at 4:17 PM on June 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

There are a whole lot of these.

We cycle our dog foods, wet and dry, to give them some variety, and we include a lot of novel proteins. Off the top of my head, Orijen and Taste of the Wild are good ones for dry food.

If you have a local independent feed store with pet foods, I'd strongly suggest looking there. Our current local one is really great, they'll walk through with you, make recommendations, and even sometimes offer free samples. I watched the store owner once spend 20 minutes helping a couple of women whose cat was having health problems, only to make about a $3 sale, with a promise that they could return anything the cat didn't like.

If you don't have a local store, though, let me know because I need to go back there in the next few days to pick up some food, and I could make a little list of the novel protein foods my dogs like. They have a huge selection, especially of wet foods, but I don't remember the brands off the top of my head.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:24 PM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Does your dog eat chicken-based food? My late chow mix had hot spots that the vet couldn't do much about. When I mentioned it casually to a woman helping me at the pet store she suggested changing from the chicken-based food to Merrick grain-free Buffalo and Sweet Potato. She said her dog had the same reaction to chicken so I tried it and he never had another hot spot again. I'm very loyal to Merrick.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:30 PM on June 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

In case part of the question is what "novel protein" means and why you may be having trouble finding it via Google, novel protein just means a protein the animal hasn't been exposed to before. Most limited ingredient diet (LID) food is going to be a novel protein for your dog.
posted by capricorn at 4:38 PM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Winston is allergic to poultry. For a year I had him on kangaroo and oat, but it was too expensive for my pocketbook. About 8 months ago, I asked the vet for a different recommendation, and she had us try the Natural Balance LID Salmon and Sweet Potato. Very easy to find (Petsmart, Chewy, etc) and much less expensive than kangaroo. No more skin issues or yeast infections!
posted by sara is disenchanted at 4:43 PM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding taste of the wild brand for a good price and also having few quality ingredients and a range of different proteins in grain-free formulations.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:14 PM on June 12, 2017

Ollie was suffering from ear infections, despite keeping them clean. Based on an AskMe post from 2012, I put him on Blue Buffalo Basics Healthy Weight Turkey & Potato food in January. Since then he's been infection-free.

Good luck!
posted by kimberussell at 5:43 PM on June 12, 2017

My dog is allergic to chicken, beef and pork. Even though it is a pain, I really recommend going through the special diet/ replace cycle to figure the allergy out because it has saved her a world of grief. She's so allergic to chicken that she can be itching from nothing more than a treat.

She's now entirely fish-based. I use the Valor freeze-dried food and I mix it with Nutram salmon/trout dried food.

On the minus side-- her food costs more than mine does. On the plus side-- her fur looks like velvet. For real.
posted by frumiousb at 5:45 PM on June 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

We like Natural Balance LID and Orijen. My local independent pet store sells both but I often order from Amazon or Chewy.
posted by joan_holloway at 5:48 PM on June 12, 2017

My Winston eats Taste of the Wild High Prairie (venison and bison).
posted by Sassyfras at 6:09 PM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

We have a cat, not a dog, but have had very good results from feeding the frozen and freeze-dried raw diets from Primal Pet Foods.
posted by Lexica at 8:01 PM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

My dog eats royal canin anallergic dry dog food, which is made out of hydrolised feathers. She's tried a lot of other things pre-allergy. Crocodile and tapioca was also suggested. I'm surprised that your vet is not directing you here?
posted by jojobobo at 9:26 PM on June 12, 2017

This site is a great reference. It's updated pretty regularly. My 5yo male French Bulldog is heavily allergic to most proteins (technically, he's allergic to almost everything). I ultimately ended up going raw and feed him Primal Complete Venison. I also feed it to my Frenchie Girl - she will be 13yo in a few weeks. These are the first pair of Frenchies that I've fed raw (I've had Frenchies for over 20 years) and I can't see ever going back to kibble.
posted by dancinglamb at 9:28 PM on June 12, 2017

Nthing Taste of the Wild. The whole point of the line is novel proteins. My sensitive-stomached dog has been eating it (the yellow bison bag) for years.
posted by potrzebie at 10:08 PM on June 12, 2017

We started feeding our dogs grain-free NutriSource for the same reason (novel proteins recommended for one of them.) They have a "where to buy" locator on their site.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 7:34 AM on June 13, 2017

If you want something really novel, try Zignature's kangaroo formula.
posted by kindall at 11:51 AM on June 13, 2017

For my dog with allergies (any fowl, beef, rice, egg, or cheese) I ended up feeding him Trout and Sweet Potato Pinnacle dog food. Disclosure: my dog died a few years ago, so I've not fed this food recently.

When I adopted him, there were lots of recalls for dog foods manufactured by Diamond (Taste of the Wild, Canidae, Natural Balance, Wellness) so I liked that Pinnacle wasn't made by a large conglomerate. Since that time, Breeder's Choice was bought by Central Garden & Pet Company.

He also didn't do well on the higher protein limited-ingredient foods (Orijen, EVO, Wysong) but that may be due to his extremely slow metabolism, since he was a Great Pyrenees.

Good luck in finding a food for your pup!
posted by bCat at 2:41 PM on June 13, 2017

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