Influence of fiber fermentability on nutrient digestion in the dog

Nutrition. 2000 Apr;16(4):289-95. doi: 10.1016/s0899-9007(99)00298-1.


Eight mature dogs (17.2 +/- 0.2 kg) surgically fitted with ileal T-cannulas were used in a replicated 4-x-4 Latin-square-design experiment to evaluate nutrient disappearance at the terminal ileum and through the digestive tract. Two fiber types, cellulose, a crystalline, slowly fermented fiber, and pectin, a soluble, rapidly fermented fiber, were fed in different increments, and the effects on nutrient availability were assessed. Treatments included 1) 100% cellulose, 2) 66% cellulose and 33% pectin, 3) 66% pectin and 33% cellulose, and 4) 100% pectin. Fiber was added at 10% of diet dry matter (DM). Diets were fed at 100% of ME for maintenance and offered at 0730 and 1730 h. All periods were 21 d, which included 3 d of diet transition and 7 d of adaptation. Daily DM intake was 210 +/- 5 g. Total tract and large-intestine DM digestibility increased linearly (P < 0.01) with increased pectin. These changes in DM digestion were largely the result of changes in fiber digestion. Fermentation of total dietary fiber in the large intestine went from less than zero to 39% of ileal flow (linear, P < 0.01). Total-tract crude-protein digestibility decreased linearly (P < 0.01) with increased pectin. This study demonstrated that fiber fermentability significantly affects digestion in the dog. Increasing fermentable fiber increased the digestion of DM and energy. However, increased fiber fermentability inversely affects crude protein digestibility. The lower crude-protein digestibility could be attributed to larger microbial protein excretion as a result of greater fermentation of pectin versus cellulose.

MeSH terms

  • Ammonia / analysis
  • Animals
  • Cellulose / administration & dosage
  • Cellulose / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fiber* / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Digestion*
  • Dogs
  • Energy Intake
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / analysis
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Ileum / metabolism*
  • Pectins / administration & dosage
  • Pectins / metabolism*
  • Starch / administration & dosage


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Ammonia
  • Pectins
  • Cellulose
  • Starch