How does dietary particle size affect carnivore gastrointestinal transit: A dog model

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2018 Apr;102(2):e615-e622. doi: 10.1111/jpn.12803. Epub 2017 Oct 13.


The effect of dietary particle size on gastrointestinal transit in carnivores has not been studied and might offer more insight into their digestive physiology. This study evaluated the effect of two dietary particle sizes (fine = 7.8 mm vs. coarse = 13 mm) of chunked day-old chicks on transit parameters in dogs. Six beagle dogs were fed both dietary treatments in a crossover design of 7 days with transit testing on the fifth day. Transit parameters were assessed using two markers, that is a wireless motility capsule (IntelliCap® ) and titanium oxide (TiO2 ). Dietary particle size did not affect gastric emptying time (GRT), small bowel transit time (SBTT), colonic transit time (CTT) and total transit time (aTTT) of the capsule (p > .05). There was no effect of dietary particle size on TiO2 mean retention time (MRT) (p > .05). The time of last TiO2 excretion (MaxRT) differed (p = .013) between diets, being later for the coarse diet. Both MRT (R = 0.617, p = .032) and MaxRT (R = 0.814; p = .001) were positively correlated to aTTT. The ratio MRT/aTTT tended towards a difference between diets (p = .059) with the coarse diet exceeding fine diet values. Results show that the difference between capsule measurements and TiO2 is larger for the fine than the coarse diet suggesting that the capsule becomes more accurate when dietary particle size approaches marker size. Dietary particle size might have affected transit parameters but differences are too small to claim major physiological consequences.

Keywords: dietary particle size; dog; marker; motility capsule; transit.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Food Handling*
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / physiology*
  • Male
  • Particle Size