Dietary supplementation with flaxseed mucilage alone or in combination with calcium in dogs: effects on apparent digestibility of fat and energy and fecal characteristics

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BACKGROUND: In humans, dietary supplementation with flaxseed mucilage and calcium decrease apparent digestibility of fat and energy. These supplements could prove useful for weight management in dogs.

OBJECTIVE: To examine dry matter, energy and fat apparent digestibility, and fecal characteristics following dietary flaxseed mucilage supplementation alone or in combination with calcium.

METHODS: A single-blinded crossover feeding trial was conducted on 11 privately owned dogs. During three consecutive 14-day periods, dogs where fed commercial dog food supplemented with potato starch (control diet), flaxseed mucilage or flaxseed mucilage and calcium. Feces from the past 2 days of each period were collected for analysis. Owners recorded fecal score (1-7: 1=very hard/dry feces, 2-3=ideal and 7=diarrhea).

RESULTS: Apparent digestibility of fat was lower in both flaxseed mucilage diet (94.5±0.8%), and flaxseed mucilage and calcium diet (92.9±0.9%) compared with control diet (96.9±0.2%, P<0.0001) with fat digestibility in flaxseed mucilage and calcium diet being significantly lower than the diet supplemented with only flaxseed mucilage. Dry matter and energy digestibility was not significantly affected by diet. Fecal wet weight, dry weight and dry matter percentage was not affected by diet despite a higher fecal score for test diets (3.7±0.3) compared with control (2.8±0.2, P<0.007).

CONCLUSION: In dogs, flaxseed mucilage decreased fat apparent digestibility and this effect was enhanced when combined with calcium. Dry matter and energy apparent digestibility was not affected. Decreased fecal quality may limit the acceptable level of supplementation. Further studies on incorporating flaxseed mucilage in pet food products for weight management are needed.International Journal of Obesity advance online publication, 13 September 2016; doi:10.1038/ijo.2016.139.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1884-1890
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 166493198