Digestibility of a lignocellulose supplemented diet and fecal quality in Beagle dogs
Lignocellulose (LC) might be used as a substitute fiber source for dogs as a strategy to decrease energy density and enhance gastrointestinal functionality. The objective of the present study was to compare the effects of including different levels of LC on apparent nutrient digestibility and fecal parameters (dry matter (DM), fecal score, and daily fecal output), as well as fecal fatty acid concentrations. Four diets were tested: control diet (no supplementation of LC; LC0), and three control diets diluted with increasing levels of LC: 1, 2, and 4% (LC1, LC2, and LC4). Six Beagle dogs (BW 17.1 kg ± 1.22) participated in a crossover experimental design. Before each experimental period, five days were used as a wash-out period. The fecal consistency was scored based on a 5-point scale (1 = very hard; 2 = solid, well-formed “optimum”; 3 = soft, still formed; 4 = pasty, slushy; and 5 = watery diarrhea). The results demonstrated that the organic matter apparent digestibility (p = 0.01) and nitrogen-free extract (NFE) (p < 0.01) was significantly lower for dogs fed LC4 compared to those fed LC0. Dogs fed LC2 and LC4 had a lower fecal consistency score (2.39 and 2.18, respectively; p < 0.05). The fecal DM was significantly the highest (p < 0.01), and the daily fecal output on fresh matter was lower (p < 0.05) when dogs were fed the LC4 diet compared with the LC0 diet. Including LC at 1% in the diet resulted in significantly higher fecal acidic pH levels. However, no differences among treatments were noted regarding fecal fatty acid concentrations.