Interpretive Summary: Starch characterization of commercial extruded dry pet foods
By: Anne Wallace
Starch is a common ingredient in commercial companion animal feed. Although it is not essential for the wellbeing of dogs and cats, prebiotic resistant starches may still confer benefits to colonic health. Because feed labels do not list starch content, the authors of this April 2020 Translational Animal Science study aimed to characterize the total starch and resistant starch content of several grain-free (GF) and grain-based (GB) commercial dog and cat foods in the United States.
The authors also hypothesized that dog food would have greater starch content than cat food, that extrusion processing would reduce resistant starch content, and that GF feed would have more resistant starch than GB feed. Depending on the source (e.g. corn, wheat, legumes, tubers) and whether the commercial feed is processed by extraction, starch and resistant starch content may be different. In this study, several commercial pet foods from five major companies were separated into the following categories: dog GB, dog GF, cat GB, and cat GF.
Results confirmed that dog food had a higher starch content than cat food. However, none of the feed products tested had a significant amount of resistant starch. The authors also stated that they were unable to determine whether GF or GB feed had more resistant starch due to the need for a greater sample size per group.
Overall, the results of this study did confirm that dog food contains more starch than cat food. Results involving resistant starch content were inconclusive, with larger studies needed to better characterize the resistant starch content in GF and GB commercial dog and cat feed.