Most of us view our pets as a furry part of the family. As a result, pet owners are increasingly considering human-grade food ingredients as an alternative diet for their animals. If fresh ingredients like lean chicken breast, green beans and whole apples are healthy for the human family, then they should be for dogs too right? With the rise in pet owners opting for fresh cooked diets, there is also a proportionate need for scientific testing around these diets. One pioneering study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the first to examine the digestibility of human-grade dog food1.
Digestibility is the proportion of an ingested foodstuff or nutrient that is absorbed into the body2. It is used as a measure to determine how much of a foodstuff is broken down and utilized by an animal versus how much is simply excreted. To study the digestibility of the human-grade dog foods, six commercial human-grade dog foods from the same company were selected. The diets all differed in their protein and carbohydrate sources. The primary components of each of the diets were a beef/russet potato diet, chicken/white rice diet, fish (cod)/sweet potato diet, lamb/brown rice diet, turkey/whole wheat macaroni diet and venison/squash. Ideally, these diets should be highly digestible.