What is a “Novel” Protein, and Why They’re Important


If your dog has never eaten any of these meats, they are considered “novel” proteins.


I want to talk about elimination diets again, and specifically about the concept of “novel” proteins.

Elimination diets are used to determine what foods agree with your dog, and they’re used a lot in dogs that have IBD. These diets are meant to determine what protein sources your dog can safely eat.

Many of our CIL dogs also have IBD. Dogs with IBD are sensitive to certain proteins (meats). It’s similar to an allergy. Just as with allergies, they become sensitive specifically *after* exposure to that protein. So, a dog that’s never had turkey can’t possibly be sensitive to it. That would make it a good option to try if your dog is having problems like this.

A protein source that your dog has never been exposed to is called a “novel” protein.

Sometimes the challenge for us is to find a food that is both low-fat and novel. If you mix up a bunch of different meats and feed them to your dog at once, none of those meats will be novel anymore. Your dog might now be sensitive to all of them.

This is why I’m always saying choose a low-fat protein and feed that, and only that, until you’re sure it isn’t helping. The idea is that you will still have options if your dog becomes sensitive to the food that agreed with him yesterday.

So please don’t feed this and that and the other thing, even if it all seems to agree with your dog. You’re limiting your options down the road when you do that, if you should ever need them.

Comments are closed.