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True Nutrient and Amino Acid Digestibility of Dog Foods Made with Human-Grade Ingredients Using the

DATE: 2019


CITATION: Patrícia M Oba, Pamela L Utterback, Carl M Parsons, Kelly S Swanson, True nutrient and amino acid digestibility of dog foods made with human-grade ingredients using the precision-fed cecectomized rooster assay, Translational Animal Science, Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2020, Pages 442–451


For a pet diet to be labeled as human-grade, every ingredient and the finished food must be stored, handled, processed, and transported according to the current good manufacturing practices for human edible foods. Human-grade dog foods are now available and increasing in popularity, but little research has been conducted to test the digestibility of these foods. For this reason, the objective of this experiment was to determine the true nutrient and amino acid (AA) digestibilities of dog foods formulated with human-grade ingredients using the precision-fed cecectomized rooster assay. Six commercial dog foods were tested, including the Beef & Russet Potato (BRP), Chicken & White Rice (CWR), Fish & Sweet Potato (FSP), Lamb & Brown Rice (LBR), Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni (TWM), and Venison & Squash (VSR) formulas provided by Just Food For Dogs LLC (Irvine, CA). Before analysis, all foods were lyophilized and ground. A precision-fed rooster assay using cecectomized roosters was conducted to determine the true nutrient digestibility and standardized AA digestibilities of the foods tested. Conventional roosters were used to determine the nitrogen-corrected true metabolizable energy (TMEn) of the foods. All animal procedures were approved by the University of Illinois Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee prior to experimentation. The substrates and rooster excreta were analyzed for macronutrient and AA composition. All data were analyzed using the Mixed Models procedure of SAS (version 9.4; SAS Institute, Cary, NC). In general, all foods tested were highly digestible. Dry matter digestibility was similar among CWR, LBR, and TWR foods, and greater (P < 0.0001) than that of FSP and VSR foods. Organic matter digestibility was highest (P = 0.0002) for CWR and lowest (P = 0.0002) for VSR. For the majority of indispensable AA, digestibilities were greater than 85%, with some being greater than 90%. TMEn was higher (P < 0.0001) for BRP than the other foods, which were similar to one another. Also, TMEn values were much higher than what would be estimated by using modified Atwater factors and often above the predictive equations for metabolizable energy (ME) recommended by the National Research Council or by using Atwater factors. Although statistical differences were observed among foods, they all performed well and the foods tested had very high AA digestibilities. Additionally, the TMEn data suggest that existing methods and equations for ME prediction underestimate the energy content of the foods tested.


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