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Feeding human grade 
meat to dogs

Do S, Phungviwatnikul T, de Godoy MRC, & Swanson KS 2021, ‘Nutrient digestibility and fecal characteristics, microbiota, and metabolites in dogs fed human-grade foods’, Journal of Animal Science, vol. 99, no. 2, skab028,

"The digestibility of a pet food and consequent faecal output provide a measure of its quality and is important to pet owners from a waste disposal perspective".

Aim: to determine the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of human grade pet foods and evaluate their effects on faecal characteristics, microbiota, and metabolites, serum metabolites, and hematology of dogs.


Sample: 12 healthy adult Beagles (mean age = 5.5 ± 1.0; BW = 11.6 ± 1.6 kg), each fed one of 4 diets for 28 days (with a 6-day transition phase between)


Design: replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design


The diets were

1) Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe (extruded; Blue Buffalo)

2) Roasted Meals Tender Chicken Recipe (fresh; Freshpet)

3) Beef and Russet Potato Recipe (Human Grade beef; JustFoodForDogs)

4) Chicken and White Rice Recipe (Human Grade chicken; JustFoodForDogs)



  • Dogs fed the extruded diet:

    • required a higher (P < 0.05) daily food intake (on dry matter basis) to maintain BW

    • had greater (P < 0.05) faecal output (1.5–1.7 times greater than dogs fed fresh; and 2.0–2.9 times greater than those fed human grade food).


  • The ATTD of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), energy, and acid-hydrolysed fat (AHF)

    • Human grade diet > fresh diet > extruded diet.


  • Crude protein ATTD

    • lower (P < 0.05) for dogs fed the extruded diet than those fed all other diets.


  • Microbiota:  diet modified the relative abundance of nearly 20 bacterial genera.

    • dogs fed human grade beef had higher relative abundance of Bacteroidetes and lower relative abundance of Firmicutes than dogs fed the fresh or human grade chicken diets.

    • The Actinobacteria, Fusobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Spirochaetes phyla were unchanged by diet

  • Serum metabolites and hematology were not greatly affected by diet.

  • There were no differences in faecal pH, scores, and metabolites

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