Two different diets characterized by the absence of cereals or by the presence of conventional cereals were evaluated on the nutrient digestibility and faecal characteristics and faecal fermentative end-product concentrations of 8 neutered adult Labrador retrievers housed at the Regional Centre Helen Keller (Messina, Italy) during the training work for the service guide for the blind. Dogs (age = 17 ± 1 months, initial body weight [BW] = 26.3 ± 1 kg, and body condition score [BCS] = 4.5 ± 0.11) were divided into 2 homogeneous groups for sex (half males and half females). Dogs in the grain free (GF) group were fed a commercial diet characterized by the absence of grain cereals, and dogs in the control (CTR) group were fed a super-premium pet food characterized by conventional grains as the carbohydrate source. The trial lasted 84 d, preceded by a 7-d of adaption period. Physical examination, digestibility, and faecal characteristics were studied. The statistical model included the effects of diet (GF vs. CTR), time (from d 0 to 84, end of the trial) and the interaction (diet × time). The high-protein, low-carbohydrate dry diet (GF30 ) offered higher apparent nutrient digestibility of protein (+10%; P = 0.002) and fat (+7%; P < 0.001) and more stable large intestinal fermentation of carbohydrate compared to the commercial high-carbohydrate dry diet, enabling dogs to use nutrients from the diet more efficiently and thus requiring less food (-13%) to satisfy their nutrient requirements, producing less excrement (-33%; P = 0.033), and reaching a higher final BW (+8%; P < 0.0001) and a higher final BCS (+15%; P = 0.003). Therefore, the GF diet appears the nutritional plan most suitable for these animals taking due account not only of the training work done by animals with their increased nutrient and energy needs, but also of the gastrointestinal disorders consequent to stress coming from work and life in kennels, which cause in the Labrador retrievers an unusual weight loss.

Grain free diets for utility dogs during training work: Evaluation of the nutrient digestibility and faecal characteristics

Chiofalo B.
Primo
;
Lo Presti V.;Cucinotta S.;Gaglio G.;Di Rosa A. R.
Ultimo
2019-01-01

Abstract

Two different diets characterized by the absence of cereals or by the presence of conventional cereals were evaluated on the nutrient digestibility and faecal characteristics and faecal fermentative end-product concentrations of 8 neutered adult Labrador retrievers housed at the Regional Centre Helen Keller (Messina, Italy) during the training work for the service guide for the blind. Dogs (age = 17 ± 1 months, initial body weight [BW] = 26.3 ± 1 kg, and body condition score [BCS] = 4.5 ± 0.11) were divided into 2 homogeneous groups for sex (half males and half females). Dogs in the grain free (GF) group were fed a commercial diet characterized by the absence of grain cereals, and dogs in the control (CTR) group were fed a super-premium pet food characterized by conventional grains as the carbohydrate source. The trial lasted 84 d, preceded by a 7-d of adaption period. Physical examination, digestibility, and faecal characteristics were studied. The statistical model included the effects of diet (GF vs. CTR), time (from d 0 to 84, end of the trial) and the interaction (diet × time). The high-protein, low-carbohydrate dry diet (GF30 ) offered higher apparent nutrient digestibility of protein (+10%; P = 0.002) and fat (+7%; P < 0.001) and more stable large intestinal fermentation of carbohydrate compared to the commercial high-carbohydrate dry diet, enabling dogs to use nutrients from the diet more efficiently and thus requiring less food (-13%) to satisfy their nutrient requirements, producing less excrement (-33%; P = 0.033), and reaching a higher final BW (+8%; P < 0.0001) and a higher final BCS (+15%; P = 0.003). Therefore, the GF diet appears the nutritional plan most suitable for these animals taking due account not only of the training work done by animals with their increased nutrient and energy needs, but also of the gastrointestinal disorders consequent to stress coming from work and life in kennels, which cause in the Labrador retrievers an unusual weight loss.
2019
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