Objective: To determine the effects of raw meat-based diets with and without inulin or yeast cell-wall (YCW) extract on macronutrient digestibility, blood cell counts, serum metabolite concentrations, and fecal fermentative end-product concentrations in healthy adult dogs.
Animals: 6 healthy adult spayed female dogs (mean ± SD age, 5.5 ± 0.5 years; mean body weight, 8.5 ± 0.5 kg).
Procedures: Dogs were fed each of the following 6 diets for 21 days, the order of which was randomly assigned in a Latin square design: beef control, beef and 1.4% inulin, beef and 1.4% YCW extract, chicken control, chicken and 1.4% inulin, and chicken and 1.4% YCW extract. Each diet trial consisted of a phase for diet adaptation (days 0 to 14) and a phase for measurement of urine and fecal output and content (days 15 to 20). On day 21, food was withheld for blood sample collection. Afterward, the next diet trial began immediately.
Results: All dogs maintained desirable fecal quality characteristics and produced low fecal volume. All diets were highly digestible (protein digestibility > 88%; fat digestibility > 97%). Differences in fermentative end-product concentrations among all diets were minor, but a significant increase in fecal short-chain fatty acid concentrations was evident when dogs were fed beef-based diets with inulin and YCW extract. Fecal spermine concentrations were higher with diets containing inulin and YCW extract than with control diets. Blood cell counts and serum metabolite values were within reference limits after each trial. All diets resulted in maintenance of nitrogen balance.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results suggested the raw meat-based diets evaluated were highly digestible in dogs. The increase in fecal short-chain fatty acid concentrations achieved when inulin and YCW extract were included may be beneficial to canine health.