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Reference: Algya KM, Cross TL, Leuck KN et al. 2018, “Apparent total-tract macronutrient digestibility, serum chemistry, urinalysis, and faecal characteristics, metabolites and microbiota of adult dogs fed extruded, mildly cooked, and raw diets”, Journal of Animal Science, vol. 96(9), pp. 3670-3683.

Study design:  Latin square design (extension of the randomized complete block design.  Eight adult female Beagle dogs each received all four treatments over the course of the experiment, serving as their own control and increasing statistical power (n = 8/treatment).

Each feeding period consisted of 28 d, with a 14-d adaptation phase followed by a 7-d phase for measuring voluntary physical activity, 1-d adaptation phase to metabolic cages, 5-d phase for faecal and urine collection, and 1 d for blood collection.


Aim: to determine the apparent total-tract macronutrient digestibility; faecal characteristics, metabolites, and microbiota; serum chemistry metabolites; urinalysis; and voluntary physical activity levels of adult dogs fed commercial diets differing in processing type.

Commercial diets were: 1) extruded dry kibble diet;

2) high-moisture roasted refrigerated diet;

3) high-moisture grain-free roasted refrigerated diet; and

4) raw diet. 

Diets 2 and 3 were mildly cooked.


Key findings:

  • Digestibility: greater digestibility of crude protein and fat in dogs fed grain free diet and raw diet than dogs fed extruded kibble. 

  • Dogs fed raw had the lowest faecal pH and DM %, but faecal scores were not affected.

  • Dogs fed raw diet had a higher (P < 0.05) faecal ammonia concentration than dogs fed the other diets.

  • Faecal microbial diversity was altered by diet, with dogs fed cooked and  raw diets having reduced species richness than dogs fed extruded kibble. Dogs fed cooked or raw diets had lower    (P < 0.05) Actinobacteria and higher (P < 0.05) Fusobacteria than dogs fed extruded kibble.

  • Dogs fed raw or grain free had higher (P < 0.05) Proteobacteria than dogs fed kibble.

  • Dogs fed raw had higher (P < 0.05) Bacteroidetes and lower (P < 0.05) Firmicutes than dogs fed extruded kibble.

  • Serum triglycerides were greater (P < 0.05) in dogs fed extruded kibble than dogs fed grain free and raw.


Relevance: the lightly cooked and raw diets tested were highly palatable, highly digestible, reduced blood triglycerides, maintained faecal quality and serum chemistry, and modified the faecal microbial community of healthy adult dogs.


No conflict of interest declared

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