You might think that dogs prefer animal fats in their diet over plant based oils and fats. But research from Brazil confirmed that this is not the case.
In animal nutrition, including dog and cat nutrition, there is a great demand for feedstuffs that present good manufacturing properties, sufficient availability in the market, and that supply adequate nutrient levels. Therefore, novel ingredients for pet foods should be evaluated for their nutrient utilisation and possible effects on animals in order to allow their safe and efficient inclusion. This study, published in the journal Animal Feed Science and Technology, focuses on corn oil as a possible fat source for dog foods. The study looked at the effect on total tract apparent digestibility (CTTAD) of dietary nutrients, the palatability of dog foods, and the faecal characteristics of dogs.
Corn oil as alternative to poultry offal fat
Fats are included in dog foods to supply energy and fat-soluble vitamins, in addition of improving diet palatability and texture. Considering its high availability, corn oil could be an alternative to poultry offal fat, which is the typical fat source added to dog diets in Brazil, according to the Brazilian Association of Pet Food Manufacturers. However, its digestibility, palatability, and possible effects on dog health need to be evaluated before it can be safely included in dog foods. To test if corn oil can be a good alternative to poultry fat, 3 experiments were carried out.
In Experiment 1 the effects of diets with increasing CO concentrations (40, 80, and 120 g/kg) in replacement of poultry offal fat (POF) in the basal diet on the CTTAD of dietary nutrients, dietary metabolisable energy (ME) content and on dogs’ faecal characteristics were analysed in 8 adult dogs.
Experiment 2 evaluated the CTTAD of the nutrients in diets containing either corn or poultry offal fat used as fat sources in replacement of 92% of a basal diet containing beef tallow in 9 adult dogs.
Experiment 3 compared the palatability of diets containing either corn oil or poultry offal meal and coated or not with a palatant by first choice test and intake ratio (IR) calculation.
Good alternative to other oils
No studies were found in the literature evaluating corn oil as the main source of fat in dog foods. Because corn oil is highly available in Brazil, the evaluation of the effects of its inclusion on the digestibility and palatability of dog foods may allow its utilisation by the dog food industry. In this study it was shown that dog foods containing corn oil present similar digestibility as those containing poultry offal fat. Crude corn oil is highly digestible and well accepted by dogs. At the dietary inclusion concentrations evaluated, corn oil does not affect the faecal characteristics of adult dogs. These results indicate that corn oil can be utilised as fat source in dog foods.