Special Issue "The Role of Nutrition in Maintaining Well-Being and Health of Dogs and Cats"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Companion Animals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Giacomo Biagi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, via Tolara di Sopra 50, 40064 Ozzano Emilia (BO), Italy
Interests: animal nutrition; cats; clinical nutrition of dogs and cats; dogs; intestinal microbiota; mycotoxins; pet food safety

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Globally, hundreds of millions of dogs and cats live in close contact with the families to which they have become true members. The social role that dogs and cats play is mainly linked to the emotional bond that is created between the animal and the owner.

Thanks to the improvement in the care that dogs and cats receive, their life expectancy has increased significantly in recent decades and consequently the incidence of problems typical of old age has also increased.

The role of nutrition is essential in maintaining a healthy condition in dogs and cats, especially if life expectancy tends to increase. Errors in the daily management of animal feeding can lead to deficiency syndromes and represent a predisposing factor to numerous pathological conditions. Conversely, a complete and balanced diet, possibly supplemented with specific functional ingredients, can improve the health of the animal and the functionality of organs and systems reducing the incidence of various diseases. Finally, there are numerous situations in which the adaptation of the diet to a specific pathological condition represents a fundamental point in the clinical management of the animal.

We invite you to send us original research papers concerning the effects—positive or negative—that nutrition can have on the well-being and health of dogs and cats. The topics can concern the nutritional management of healthy animals and that of animals suffering from pathology, as well as the nutritional and hygienic–sanitary quality of the feeds.

Prof. Giacomo Biagi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • animal health
  • animal well-being
  • cat
  • dietetics
  • dog
  • functional foods
  • nutrition
  • pet food

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

Article
Effect of Total Starch and Resistant Starch in Commercial Extruded Dog Foods on Gastric Emptying in Siberian Huskies
Animals 2021, 11(10), 2928; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102928 - 10 Oct 2021
Viewed by 754
Abstract
Gastric emptying rate (GER) may impact diabetes and obesity in humans and could provide a method to reduce canine weight gain. Starch, the most common source of carbohydrates (CHOs) in pet food, is classified as rapidly or slowly digestible, or resistant to digestion. [...] Read more.
Gastric emptying rate (GER) may impact diabetes and obesity in humans and could provide a method to reduce canine weight gain. Starch, the most common source of carbohydrates (CHOs) in pet food, is classified as rapidly or slowly digestible, or resistant to digestion. This study investigated starch source effects in commercial extruded dog foods on the GER of 11 healthy adult Siberian Huskies. Test diets were classified as traditional, grain-free, whole-grain, and vegan. Dogs received each diet once, a glucose control twice, and acetaminophen (Ac) as a marker for GER in a randomized, partially replicated, 6 × 6 Latin square design. Pre- and post-prandial blood samples were collected at 16 timepoints from −15 to 480 min. Serum Ac concentrations were assessed via standard spectrophotometric assays and fitted with a mathematical model to estimate parameters of GER. Parameter values were subjected to ANOVA, with period and treatment as fixed effects and dog as a random effect. More total emptying (p = 0.074) occurred at a faster rate (p = 0.028) in dogs fed the grain-free diet, which contained the lowest total starch (34.03 ± 0.23%) and highest resistant starch (0.52 ± 0.007%). This research may benefit future diet formulations to reduce the prevalence of canine weight gain. Full article
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Article
Safety of Dietary Camelina Oil Supplementation in Healthy, Adult Dogs
Animals 2021, 11(9), 2603; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092603 - 05 Sep 2021
Viewed by 872
Abstract
This study aimed to determine whether camelina oil is safe for use in canine diets, using canola oil and flax oil as controls, as they are similar and generally regarded as safe (GRAS) for canine diets. A total of thirty privately-owned adult dogs [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine whether camelina oil is safe for use in canine diets, using canola oil and flax oil as controls, as they are similar and generally regarded as safe (GRAS) for canine diets. A total of thirty privately-owned adult dogs of various breeds (17 females; 13 males), with an average age of 7.2 ± 3.1 years (mean ± SD) and a body weight (BW) of 27.4 ± 14.0 kg were used. After a 4-week wash-in period using sunflower oil and kibble, the dogs were blocked by breed, age, and size and were randomly allocated to one of three treatment oils (camelina (CAM), flax (FLX), or canola (OLA)) at a level of 8.2 g oil/100 g total dietary intake. Body condition score (BCS), BW, food intake (FI), and hematological and select biochemical parameters were measured at various timepoints over a 16-week feeding period. All of the data were analyzed with ANOVA using the PROC GLIMMIX of SAS. No biologically significant differences were seen between the treatment groups in terms of BW, BCS, FI, and hematological and biochemical results. Statistically significant differences noted among some serum biochemical results were considered small and were due to normal biological variation. These results support the conclusion that camelina oil is safe for use in canine nutrition. Full article
Article
A Comparison of Key Essential Nutrients in Commercial Plant-Based Pet Foods Sold in Canada to American and European Canine and Feline Dietary Recommendations
Animals 2021, 11(8), 2348; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082348 - 09 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1222
Abstract
Plant-based foods intended for feeding dogs and cats are available in Canada, though few studies have examined the suitability of plant-based foods for dogs and cats. All commercial plant-based extruded and wet pet food products available in Ontario, Canada, in 2018 (n = [...] Read more.
Plant-based foods intended for feeding dogs and cats are available in Canada, though few studies have examined the suitability of plant-based foods for dogs and cats. All commercial plant-based extruded and wet pet food products available in Ontario, Canada, in 2018 (n = 26) were acquired and analysed for energy, crude protein, crude fat, crude fibre, ash, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins A, B12, D2 and D3. Results were compared with recommendations of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF). Thirteen products were labelled for adult canine maintenance, four for canine all life stages, one for puppy growth, two for adult feline maintenance, three for feline all life stages, one for adult maintenance of dogs and cats and two for all life stages of dogs and cats. Four products met AAFCO and one product met FEDIAF nutrient recommendations for canine maintenance. No diets met AAFCO or FEDIAF recommendations for feline maintenance or growth for either species. Nutrients most commonly found insufficient were: sulfur amino acids, taurine, arachidonic acid, EPA and DHA, calcium phosphorus and vitamin D. There were no nutrients unable to be provided from non-animal sources. Compliance with labelling guidelines was also poor, similar to other findings with commercial animal-based pet products. The results from this study indicate areas where producers of plant-based pet foods must improve to meet the industry recommended nutrient profiles and labelling requirements. Full article
Article
Seaweed Supplementation Failed to Affect Fecal Microbiota and Metabolome as Well as Fecal IgA and Apparent Nutrient Digestibility in Adult Dogs
Animals 2021, 11(8), 2234; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082234 - 29 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1115
Abstract
The present study investigated in dogs the dietary effects of intact seaweeds on some fecal bacterial populations and metabolites, fecal IgA and apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD). Ten healthy adult dogs were enrolled in a 5 × 5 replicated Latin square design to [...] Read more.
The present study investigated in dogs the dietary effects of intact seaweeds on some fecal bacterial populations and metabolites, fecal IgA and apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD). Ten healthy adult dogs were enrolled in a 5 × 5 replicated Latin square design to evaluate five dietary treatments: control diet (CD); CD + Ascophyllum nodosum; CD + Undaria pinnatifida; CD + Saccharina japonica; CD + Palmaria palmata (n replicates per treatment = 10). Seaweeds were added to food at a daily dose of 15 g/kg. The CD contained silica as a digestion marker. Each feeding period lasted 28 d, with a 7 d wash-out in between. Feces were collected at days 21 and 28 of each period for chemical and microbiological analyses. Fecal samples were collected during the last five days of each period for ATTD assessment. Dogs showed good health conditions throughout the study. The fecal chemical parameters, fecal IgA and nutrient ATTD were not influenced by algal supplementation. Similarly, microbiological analyses did not reveal any effect by seaweed ingestion. In conclusion, algal supplementation at a dose of 15 g/kg of diet failed to exert noticeable effects on the canine fecal parameters evaluated in the present study. Full article
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Article
Serum Lipid, Amino Acid and Acylcarnitine Profiles of Obese Cats Supplemented with Dietary Choline and Fed to Maintenance Energy Requirements
Animals 2021, 11(8), 2196; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082196 - 24 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1385
Abstract
Obesity is a health concern for domestic cats. Obesity and severe energy restriction predispose cats to feline hepatic lipidosis. As choline is linked to lipid metabolism, we hypothesized that dietary choline supplementation would assist in reducing hepatic fat through increased lipoprotein transport and [...] Read more.
Obesity is a health concern for domestic cats. Obesity and severe energy restriction predispose cats to feline hepatic lipidosis. As choline is linked to lipid metabolism, we hypothesized that dietary choline supplementation would assist in reducing hepatic fat through increased lipoprotein transport and fatty acid oxidation. Twelve obese cats (body condition score [BCS] ≥ 8/9) were split into two groups. Cats were fed a control (n = 6; 4587 mg choline/kg dry matter [DM]) or a high choline diet (n = 6; 18,957 mg choline/kg DM) for 5 weeks, for adult maintenance. On days 0 and 35, fasted blood was collected, and the body composition was assessed. Serum lipoprotein and biochemistry profiles, plasma amino acids and plasma acylcarnitines were analyzed. The body weight, BCS and body composition were unaffected (p > 0.05). Choline increased the serum cholesterol, triacylglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and plasma methionine (p < 0.05) and decreased the serum blood urea nitrogen and alkaline phosphatase (p < 0.05). Choline also reduced the plasma acylcarnitine to free carnitine ratio (p = 0.006). Choline may assist in eliminating hepatic fat through increased fat mobilization and enhanced methionine recycling. Full article
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Article
Healthy Ageing Is Associated with Preserved or Enhanced Nutrient and Mineral Apparent Digestibility in Dogs and Cats Fed Commercially Relevant Extruded Diets
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2127; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072127 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1272
Abstract
Age-related changes in gastrointestinal function have been reported in companion animals, but the impact on digestive efficiency remains uncertain. Healthy dogs (n = 37; 2.6–14.2 years) received four diets varying in total dietary fibre (TDF; 6–29%, as fed). Healthy cats (n [...] Read more.
Age-related changes in gastrointestinal function have been reported in companion animals, but the impact on digestive efficiency remains uncertain. Healthy dogs (n = 37; 2.6–14.2 years) received four diets varying in total dietary fibre (TDF; 6–29%, as fed). Healthy cats (n = 28; 1–13 years) received four diets with two fat (10–12%; 17–18%) and TDF (9 and 12%) levels. In a crossover design, diets were provided over four consecutive 10-day cycles, including a 4-day faecal collection. Apparent crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE), TDF, calcium (Ca), and phosphorus (P) digestibilities were determined. The effect of age was analysed as a continuous variable in dogs and as differences between adult (1–5 years) and senior (7–13 years) cats. In dogs, EE digestibility was unaffected by age (p > 0.10). Dogs of 6–12 years had higher digestibility of CP (p = 0.032), TDF (p = 0.019), Ca (p = 0.019), and P (p = 0.024) when fed the 6% TDF diet. Senior cats had greater digestibility of TDF (p < 0.01) and Ca (p = 0.024) but had lower EE and CP digestibility with one diet (17% fat; 9%TDF) (age, p > 0.10; diet × age, p < 0.001). Healthy ageing was associated with preserved nutrient digestibility in dogs and cats within the age ranges studied. The effect of ingredient sources in senior cats warrants further investigation. Full article
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Article
Increasing Dietary Potassium Chloride Promotes Urine Dilution and Decreases Calcium Oxalate Relative Supersaturation in Healthy Dogs and Cats
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1809; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061809 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 585
Abstract
Urine dilution is a strategy used to decrease the risk of crystallization in cats and dogs at risk of urolithiasis. Sodium chloride has been used in prescription diets to effectively promote urine dilution, but the effect of the salt-substitute potassium chloride (KCl) on [...] Read more.
Urine dilution is a strategy used to decrease the risk of crystallization in cats and dogs at risk of urolithiasis. Sodium chloride has been used in prescription diets to effectively promote urine dilution, but the effect of the salt-substitute potassium chloride (KCl) on urine parameters has not been extensively investigated. Two diets differing only in KCl (Diet A; K 0.44 g/MJ, Diet B; K 1.03 g/MJ) were fed to 17 cats and 22 dogs for seven days, followed by three days of urine collection. Urinary ion concentrations were determined by ionic chromatography, and SUPERSAT software was used to calculate the relative supersaturation (RSS) value for struvite and calcium oxalate. Water intake and urine volume increased, and USG decreased on diet B (p < 0.001). Urine concentration of potassium increased on diet B, but concentrations of all other ions did not change or decrease in line with urine dilution. Calcium oxalate RSS decreased on diet B (p < 0.05). This short-term study showed that increased dietary KCl in a dry extruded diet effectively dilutes the urine of cats and dogs and therefore offers a novel nutritional strategy for the prevention of urolithiasis. This finding is of interest for patients that would benefit from dietary sodium restriction. Full article
Article
No Observed Adverse Effects on Health Were Detected in Adult Beagle Dogs When Fed a High-Calcium Diet for 40 Weeks
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061799 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 529
Abstract
The implications of long-term high calcium (Ca) intake are well documented in growing dogs and in adult dogs of large breed size, however, the consequences on other breeds and breed sizes are yet to be determined. Eighteen neutered adult beagles, nine males and [...] Read more.
The implications of long-term high calcium (Ca) intake are well documented in growing dogs and in adult dogs of large breed size, however, the consequences on other breeds and breed sizes are yet to be determined. Eighteen neutered adult beagles, nine males and nine females aged 1.4–4.4 years, were randomized to control or test diets providing in g∙4184 kJ−1 (1000 kcal−1): 1.44 and 7.19 total Ca balanced with 1.05 and 4.25 total phosphorus, respectively, for 40 weeks. Health parameters, ultrasound scans, radiographs, glomerular filtration rate, and mineral balance were measured at eight-week intervals. All dogs remained healthy with no measured evidence of orthopedic, urinary, or renal disease. The test diet resulted in a 5.2 fold increase in fecal Ca excretion. Apparent Ca digestibility (%) and Ca balance (g/d) did not significantly (p > 0.05) change from baseline in the test diet group, although dogs displayed a positive Ca balance (maximum at week 8, 1.11 g/d with 95% CI (0.41, 1.80)) before a neutral Ca balance was restored at week 32. Despite an initial positive Ca balance, we can conclude that no measurable adverse health effects were observed as a result of the test diet fed in this study in beagles over a period of 40 weeks. Full article
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Article
Energy Requirements for Growth in the Norfolk Terrier
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1380; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051380 - 12 May 2021
Viewed by 857
Abstract
An appropriate energy intake for healthy growth can reduce the risk of obesity and co-morbidities, such as orthopaedic diseases. The 2006 National Research Council (NRC) universal equation calculates the energy requirement of growing dogs based on predicted adult body weight, but evidence suggests [...] Read more.
An appropriate energy intake for healthy growth can reduce the risk of obesity and co-morbidities, such as orthopaedic diseases. The 2006 National Research Council (NRC) universal equation calculates the energy requirement of growing dogs based on predicted adult body weight, but evidence suggests a revision may be required. This study investigates the energy requirements of seventeen Norfolk terrier puppies over their first year (10 to 52 weeks). Puppies were individually fed complete and balanced diets in amounts to maintain an optimal body condition score (BCS), recording intake daily and body weight and BCS weekly. To monitor health a veterinary examination, haematology and plasma biochemistry and serum measures of bone turnover were undertaken every 12 weeks. Skeletal development was assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (26 and 52 weeks). Puppies were clinically healthy with normal skeletal development and healthy growth throughout. The energy intake to achieve this was significantly lower than that predicted by the NRC (2006) equation at all time points, with largest mean difference of 285 kJ/kg0.75 per day at 10 weeks. If fed according to the NRC 2006 equation, dogs would have been in positive energy balance, possibly leading to obesity. These data support a revision to the NRC (2006) equation. Full article
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Article
Nutrient Digestibility of a Vegetarian Diet with or without the Supplementation of Feather Meal and Either Corn Meal, Fermented Rye or Rye and Its Effect on Fecal Quality in Dogs
Animals 2021, 11(2), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020496 - 13 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1282
Abstract
Cereals with low environmental input like rye and animal by-products which cannot be used for human food like feather meal are receiving growing interest as sustainable feed sources. Thus, eight Beagle dogs were included in a 4 × 4 Latin Square design and [...] Read more.
Cereals with low environmental input like rye and animal by-products which cannot be used for human food like feather meal are receiving growing interest as sustainable feed sources. Thus, eight Beagle dogs were included in a 4 × 4 Latin Square design and received a vegetarian basic diet or the same diets supplemented with hydrolyzed feather meal (2.7%) and either 20.1% of corn meal, 60.4% of fermented rye or 20.1% of rye as is basis (moisture content of the diets about 42%). Compared to other groups the dry matter (DM) content of feces from dogs fed the basic diet was higher (30.0%, p < 0.05), while dogs fed the basic diet + rye had the lowest DM-content (26.5%, p < 0.05). However, the fecal scores were considered to be within an acceptable range (well-formed and firm). Starch digestibility was lower (p < 0.05) for dogs fed the basic diet + corn meal. The dogs showed a high and identical acceptance (scoring of food intake) of the experimental diets. As a comparable quality of feces and a high nutrient digestibility were observed when rye was used in the experimental diets—it can be considered an alternative carbohydrate source in dog foods. Full article
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Article
A Survey among Dog and Cat Owners on Pet Food Storage and Preservation in the Households
Animals 2021, 11(2), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020273 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1294
Abstract
Background: Pet food storage plays a crucial role in maintaining the nutritional and sensory properties of purchased products over time. Methods: An online survey was developed to collect data regarding owners’ storage habits for both commercial and home-made diets. Results: The questionnaire was [...] Read more.
Background: Pet food storage plays a crucial role in maintaining the nutritional and sensory properties of purchased products over time. Methods: An online survey was developed to collect data regarding owners’ storage habits for both commercial and home-made diets. Results: The questionnaire was completed by 1545 dog owners and 676 cat owners. Pet and owner age played roles in the choice of the type of diet (commercial vs. home-cooked vs. raw meat-based) adopted. Kibble feeders (75.7%) usually bought one (50.1%) or two (24.6%) packages at a time, and most pets (64.4%) took a minimum four weeks to consume an entire bag. Almost half of the owners (43.5%) used a container to store pet food (plastic bins for 79.5%). Pet food was commonly stored in the kitchen (45.1%) and not exposed to direct light (94.5%); 23.6% of the kibble feeders said it might be exposed to high temperatures. Most commercial pet food feeders (67.3%) considered preservatives a potential health risk for pets. Among homemade diet feeders, 38.6% stored fish oil at room temperature. Conclusions: Pet owners should be educated in proper food storage management when receiving feeding instructions from veterinarians. More comprehensive information on the nature and importance of additives in pet food should be promoted by manufacturers. Full article
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Article
On the Variability of Microbial Populations and Bacterial Metabolites within the Canine Stool. An in-Depth Analysis
Animals 2021, 11(1), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010225 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 767
Abstract
Canine faecal microbial populations and metabolome are being increasingly studied to understand the interplay between host and gut microbiome. However, the distribution of bacterial taxa and microbial metabolites throughout the canine stool is understudied and currently no guidelines for the collection, storage and [...] Read more.
Canine faecal microbial populations and metabolome are being increasingly studied to understand the interplay between host and gut microbiome. However, the distribution of bacterial taxa and microbial metabolites throughout the canine stool is understudied and currently no guidelines for the collection, storage and preparation of canine faecal samples have been proposed. Here, we assessed the effects that different sampling points have on the abundance of selected microbial populations and bacterial metabolites within the canine stool. Whole fresh faecal samples were obtained from five healthy adult dogs. Stool subsamples were collected from the surface to the inner part and from three equally sized areas (cranial, central, caudal) along the length axis of the stool log. All samples were finally homogenised and compared before and after homogenisation. Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Clostridium cluster I, Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp. and Enterococcus spp. populations were analysed, as well as pH, ammonia and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) concentrations. Compared to the surface of the stool, inner subsamples resulted in greater concentrations of SCFA and ammonia, and lower pH values. qPCR assay of microbial taxa did not show any differences between subsamples. Homogenisation of faeces does not affect the variability of microbial and metabolome data. Although the distribution patterns of bacterial populations and metabolites are still unclear, we found that stool subsampling yielded contradictory result and biases that can affect the final outcome when investigating the canine microbiome. Complete homogenisation of the whole stool is therefore recommended. Full article
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Article
Effects of Two Commercial Diets on Several Reproductive Parameters in Bitches: Note Two—Lactation and Puppies’ Performance
Animals 2021, 11(1), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010173 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 696
Abstract
The study aimed to compare two diets, Control (CTR) and Experimental (EX) (mainly differing as regards their ingredients, energy, and protein contents) administered to medium and large-sized bitches from two months before the expected proestrus and up to 30 days after delivery on [...] Read more.
The study aimed to compare two diets, Control (CTR) and Experimental (EX) (mainly differing as regards their ingredients, energy, and protein contents) administered to medium and large-sized bitches from two months before the expected proestrus and up to 30 days after delivery on mothers’ weight, body condition score, litter size, milk quality, and puppies’ growth. No differences were found for body weight during pregnancy, even if the BCS after delivery was significantly (p < 0.01) higher in the EX group than in the CTR one. Concerning the size effect, the percentage of weight gain on the initial body weight was double in medium-sized dogs compared to large dogs (p < 0.01). The number of puppies per litter was significantly higher (p < 0.05) for the EX group compared to the CTR one. Concerning puppies’ weight, the CTR group showed a significantly (p < 0.01) higher body weight from the 21st day of life due to the significant (p < 0.01) higher daily weight gain during the suckling period. Considering the performance of bitches and puppies, both diets seem useful for these stages of their lives. In fact, after 30 days of lactation, all tested bitches showed a healthy status and both the percentage of newborns mortality and puppies’ growth kinetics fell into the normal physiological range for the species. Full article
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Article
Effects of Two Commercial Diets on Several Reproductive Parameters in Bitches: Note One—From Estrous Cycle to Parturition
Animals 2021, 11(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010023 - 25 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1174
Abstract
The close link between nutrition management and reproductive efficiency is well known, but there is very little data available concerning this topic in canine species. The present study aimed to compare the effect of two different diets upon the follicular period and gestation [...] Read more.
The close link between nutrition management and reproductive efficiency is well known, but there is very little data available concerning this topic in canine species. The present study aimed to compare the effect of two different diets upon the follicular period and gestation in bitches. Eighteen pluriparus medium and large size bitches were recruited and divided into control (CTR) and experimental (EX) groups and fed, respectively, with a commercial kibble diet and a specially formulated diet from two months before the expected onset of proestrus up to the end of the trial. It was possible to observe how the EX group had a better clinical presentation of the estrous phase, a higher number of ovarian follicles (p < 0.05), a lower percentage of fetal resorption (p < 0.05), and lower oxidative status, expressed by d-ROMs (p < 0.01), at the moment of pregnancy diagnosis compared to CTR group. Moreover, the EX group showed a lower fetal resorption rate and higher litter size (p < 0.05). These results highlight how a diet characterized by high protein and fat content and richer in essential fatty acids can improve reproductive performance in dogs. Full article
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Article
Exploring Anhedonia in Kennelled Dogs: Could Coping Styles Affect Hedonic Preferences for Sweet and Umami Flavours?
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2087; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112087 - 11 Nov 2020
Viewed by 724
Abstract
Kennelled dogs are at risk of suffering chronic stress due to long-term spatial, social and feeding restrictions. Chronic stress may decrease the dogs’ capacity to feel pleasure when facing hedonic experiences, modifying their perception for palatable ingredients. However, different abilities to cope with [...] Read more.
Kennelled dogs are at risk of suffering chronic stress due to long-term spatial, social and feeding restrictions. Chronic stress may decrease the dogs’ capacity to feel pleasure when facing hedonic experiences, modifying their perception for palatable ingredients. However, different abilities to cope with environmental stressors could prevent the onset of anhedonia. Fourteen kennelled Beagle dogs were used to study the acceptability and preference for different dilute sucrose and monosodium glutamate (MSG) solutions. Coping style of animals was previously evaluated through a human approach test (HAT) and classified as close dogs (CD; proactive) or distant dogs (DD; reactive) according to whether or not they approached an unfamiliar human when a feeding opportunity was presented. Consumption results were analysed taking into account the sucrose/MSG concentrations, HAT (CD or DD), age, and weight of the animals. DD presented a lower intake of sucrose (p = 0.041) and MSG (p = 0.069) solutions compared with CD. However, DD exhibited a higher consumption of MSG than CD at its highest concentrations, supporting that their intake depends on solution palatability. Finally, DD did not prefer sucrose or MSG solutions over water at any dilute solution offered. Together, these results suggest that dogs that are categorized as reactive animals could diminish their ability to perceive dilute palatable solutions, reflecting depressive-like behaviours as anhedonia. Full article
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Article
Interplay between Neuroendocrine Biomarkers and Gut Microbiota in Dogs Supplemented with Grape Proanthocyanidins: Results of Dietary Intervention Study
Animals 2020, 10(3), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030531 - 22 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1223
Abstract
Several studies on the interaction between gut microbiota and diets, including prebiotics, have been reported in dogs, but no data are available about the effects of dietary administration of grape proanthocyanidins. In the study, 24 healthy adult dogs of different breeds were recruited [...] Read more.
Several studies on the interaction between gut microbiota and diets, including prebiotics, have been reported in dogs, but no data are available about the effects of dietary administration of grape proanthocyanidins. In the study, 24 healthy adult dogs of different breeds were recruited and divided in 3 groups of 8 subjects each. A group was fed with a control diet (D0), whilst the others were supplemented with 1 (D1) or 3 (D3) mg/kg live weight of grape proanthocyanidins. Samples of feces were collected at the beginning and after 14 and 28 days for microbiota, short chain fatty acid, and lactic acid analysis. Serotonin and cortisol were measured in saliva, collected at the beginning of the study and after 28 days. A significantly higher abundance (p < 0.01) of Enterococcus and Adlercreutzia were observed in D0, whilst Escherichia and Eubacterium were higher in D1. Fusobacterium and Phascolarctobacterium were higher (p < 0.01) in D3. Salivary serotonin increased (p < 0.01) at T28 for D1 and D3 groups but cortisol did not vary. Proanthocyanidins administration influenced the fecal microbiota and neuroendocrine response of dogs, but a high variability of taxa was observed, suggesting a uniqueness and stability of fecal microbiota related to the individual. Full article
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Article
Effect of Zinc Source and Exogenous Enzymes Supplementation on Zinc Status in Dogs Fed High Phytate Diets
Animals 2020, 10(3), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030400 - 29 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1707
Abstract
Zinc is an essential element, a cofactor of many enzymes, and performs catalytic, structural and regulatory functions. Once in the gastrointestinal tract, zinc can interact with food constituents. Phytic acid, the major phosphorus storage in plants, limits zinc availability from animal feeds due [...] Read more.
Zinc is an essential element, a cofactor of many enzymes, and performs catalytic, structural and regulatory functions. Once in the gastrointestinal tract, zinc can interact with food constituents. Phytic acid, the major phosphorus storage in plants, limits zinc availability from animal feeds due to the formation of insoluble complexes with phytates. This study tested the effect of supplemental zinc source (zinc sulfate and a chelate zinc proteinate) and the addition of exogenous enzymes from a solid-state fermentation product of Aspergillus niger to a high phytate diet. The study was designed according to three Latin Squares 4 × 4 with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments, with four periods, four diets, and 12 young adult Beagles. Periods lasted 5 weeks each. Diets were supplemented with 75 mg/kg of zinc sulfate (IZ) or zinc proteinate (OZ), and without or with 200 mg/kg of exogenous enzymes (IZ+, OZ+). Results showed that zinc proteinate increased the bioavailability of phosphorus, yet the zinc biomarkers remained unaffected by the zinc source, with the exception of lymphocyte subsets that benefit from zinc proteinate. The use of exogenous enzymes did not affect zinc availability nor nutrient and energy digestibility. Full article
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