This retrospective study used 226 dogs and 296 cats to evaluate whether protein absorption was influenced by species, and within species, what influence increasing the percentage of total dietary protein, as plant protein, had on protein absorption. Each food was evaluated by at least one study with a minimum of six dogs or cats assigned to each study. Dietary inclusion of animal and plant based protein was calculated by analysis of ingredients and dietary inclusion level. Both dogs and cats were able to digest dietary plant protein, with protein digestibility in dogs unchanged as plant protein increased, while in cats, eating dry food, an increase in plant protein, was associated with increased protein digestibility. When individual plant high-concentration protein sources (excluding the protein from whole grains) were evaluated (i.e., soybean meal, soybean protein isolate, corn gluten meal, and rice protein concentrate) there was no response to increasing protein from these sources in the dog. In the cat, there was a significant positive effect on protein digestibility associated with an increasing concentration of corn gluten meal. In summary, as the dietary protein shifted from striated muscle and other animal proteins to plant based proteins, there was no effect in the dog, while in cats, increasing dietary plant protein was associated with increasing protein digestibility (5.5% increase at 50% protein from plants in dry cat food). Protein digestibility of food in dogs and cats is similar, if not enhanced, when the plant protein sources are concentrated from soybeans (soybean isolate, soybean meal), corn (corn gluten meal), or rice (rice protein concentrate).
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited