JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Alternative dietary fiber sources in companion animal nutrition

Maria R C de Godoy, Katherine R Kerr, George C Fahey
Nutrients 2013 August 6, 5 (8): 3099-117
23925042
The US has a pet population of approximately 70 million dogs and 74 million cats. Humans have developed a strong emotional bond with companion animals. As a consequence, pet owners seek ways to improve health, quality of life and longevity of their pets. Advances in canine and feline nutrition have contributed to improved longevity and well-being. Dietary fibers have gained renewed interest in the pet food industry, due to their important role in affecting laxation and stool quality. More recently, because of increased awareness of the beneficial effects of dietary fibers in health, as well as the popularity of functional foods and holistic and natural diets, alternative and novel carbohydrates have become widespread in human and pet nutrition. Fiber sources from cereal grains, whole grains and fruits have received increasing attention by the pet food industry and pet owners. While limited scientific information is available on the nutritional and nutraceutical properties of alternative fiber sources, studies indicate that corn fiber is an efficacious fiber source for pets, showing no detrimental effects on palatability or nutrient digestibility, while lowering the glycemic response in adult dogs. Fruit fiber and pomaces have good water-binding properties, which may be advantageous in wet pet food production, where a greater water content is required, along with low water activity and a firm texture of the final product. Rice bran is a palatable fiber source for dogs and may be an economical alternative to prebiotic supplementation of pet foods. However, it increases the dietary requirement of taurine in cats. Barley up to 40% in a dry extruded diet is well tolerated by adult dogs. In addition, consumption of complex carbohydrates has shown a protective effect on cardiovascular disease and oxidative stress. Alternative fiber sources are suitable ingredients for pet foods. They have been shown to be nutritionally adequate and to have potential nutraceutical properties.

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