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Interpretive Summary: Evaluation of high-protein diets differing in protein source in healthy adult dogs

By: Kelly M Sieja, Patrícia M Oba, Catherine C Applegate, Christine Pendlebury, Janelle Kelly, Kelly S Swanson

Pet food trends are constantly changing. Because consumers are often focused on dietary proteins, with ingredient sources, dietary inclusion levels, and processing methods being important, they are a popular research topic. Protein sources contain different amino acid (AA) profiles and vary in digestibility, affecting protein quality. Our objective was to evaluate the apparent total tract digestibility of canine diets differing in protein source and test their effects on serum metabolites and fecal characteristics, metabolites, and microbiota of healthy adult dogs. Test diets were formulated to be similar nutritionally, but differed in protein source: fresh deboned, dried, and spray-dried chicken (DC), chicken by-product meal (CBPM), wheat gluten meal (WGM), and corn gluten meal (CGM). Fecal scores were higher in dogs fed chicken-based diets, but remained within an appropriate range. Dogs fed CBPM had lower nutrient and energy digestibilities than those fed the other diets, with protein digestibility also being lower in dogs fed DC or CGM than those fed WGM. Fecal metabolites and microbiota were shifted among diets, with animal-based protein diets increasing fecal protein metabolites. All diets were complete and balanced and performed well. When considering AA profiles and digestibility, however, the DC diet provided the highest protein quality.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.