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Interpretive Summary: Dietary supplementation with fiber, “biotics,” and spray-dried plasma affects apparent total tract macronutrient digestibility and the fecal characteristics, fecal microbiota, and immune function of adult dogs

By: Anne H Lee, Ching-Yen Lin, Sungho Do, Patricia M Oba, Sara E Belchik, Andrew J Steelman, Amy Schauwecker, Kelly S Swanson

A variety of functional ingredients—those that provide benefits beyond their nutritional value—may be added to pet foods to support gastrointestinal and immune health. While many of these ingredients have been tested individually, commercial foods often include blends that also require testing. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of diets containing blends of dietary fibers and other functional ingredients on nutrient digestibility and the stool characteristics and immune health outcomes of adult dogs consuming them. Treatments included a control diet containing low amounts of dietary fiber, a diet containing a fiber–prebiotic–probiotic blend, and a diet containing the fiber–prebiotic–probiotic blend as well as immune-modulating ingredients. The test diets were shown to shift many outcome measures. First, they were shown to reduce nutrient digestibility and decrease fecal scores (more firm stool). Second, test diets reduced blood lipids and beneficially altered fecal metabolite concentrations. Third, test diets increased fecal immunoglobulin A concentrations, suggesting enhanced gut immunity. Lastly, the test diets shifted fecal bacterial populations. Our results demonstrate that feeding a fiber–prebiotic–probiotic blend may provide many benefits to canine health, including improved stool quality, beneficial shifts to fecal bacteria and metabolite profiles, reduced blood lipids, and enhanced gut immunity.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.