October 23, 2019

Interpretive Summary: Beagles fed beet pulp, cellulose and Miscanthus grass

Interpretive Summary: The effects on nutrient utilization and stool quality of Beagle dogs fed diets with beet pulp, cellulose, and Miscanthus grass.

By: Jackie Walling 

A recent article published in the Journal of Animal Science determined the effects different fiber sources had on nutrient utilization and stool consistency in Beagle dogs. Controlling weight in companion animals is key to longevity and quality of life. Pet food companies currently use fibrous ingredients, cellulose (CE), and beet pulp (BP), to replace fat and decrease caloric intake. This study investigated the possibility of using Miscanthus grass (MG).

Twelve dogs were fed three dietary treatments (CE, BP, or MG) over 14 days. Total fecal collection (TFC) measured nutrient digestibility, and stool was evaluated on a scale from one to five. Treatments consisted of a similar baseline of nutrients with the fiber type added on top.

Food intake for dogs was similar across treatments, and defecation frequency was not affected by fiber type. The stool was softest in BP, but similar between MG and CE. Wet fecal output and fecal dry matter were highest for CE and lowest for BP. Crude fiber and total dietary fiber were highest in CE and lowest in BP, but BP had the highest soluble (fermentable) fiber concentration. Nutrient and digestibility measured by TFC indicated BP dogs had a higher dry matter, organic matter, and gross energy digestibility while CE had the lowest.

Overall, this study showed fiber sources could change values of total tract digestibility. BP is more fermentable, and some fibers are fermented into short-chain fatty acids and gasses. MG’s fiber profile was similar to CE and resulted in similar findings between the two types. Both have high concentrations of insoluble fibers (nonfermentable), which resulted in undigested and unfermented material excreted in the stool. With similar results, researchers found MG could be an alternative fiber source to using CE.

To view the full article, visit the Journal of Animal Science.