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Functional foods provide health benefits if they are consumed on a regular basis as part of a varied diet. In this review, we discuss the availability and role of functional foods in pet nutrition with a focus on dogs and cats. Indeed functional foods modify gastrointestinal physiology, promote changes in biochemical parameters, improve brain functions and may reduce or minimize the risk to develop specific pathologies. This evidence derives largely from clinical studies while only limited evidence from studies in dogs and cats is available. Therefore, functional food consumption should be further investigated in pet nutrition to understand how dietary interventions can be used for disease prevention and treatment.
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Research in Veterinary Science
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Functional foods in pet nutrition: Focus on dogs and cats
Alessandro Di Cerbo
, Julio Cesar Morales-Medina
, Beniamino Palmieri
, Federica Pezzuto
Raaella Cocco
, Gonzalo Flores
, Tommaso Iannitti
Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, Dental School, University G. d'Annunzio of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy
Centro de Investigación en Reproducción Animal, CINVESTAV-Tlaxcala, CP 90000, AP 62, Mexico
Department of Surgery and Surgical Specialties, University of Modena, Modena, Italy
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Pathology and Veterinary Clinic Section, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
Lab. Neuropsiquiatría, Instituto de Fisiología, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, 14 Sur 6301, San Manuel, 72570, Puebla, Mexico
KWS BioTest, Marine View Oce Park, Portishead, Somerset BS20 7AW, UK
Functional food
Functional foods provide health benets if they are consumed on a regular basis as part of a varied diet. In this
review, we discuss the availability and role of functional foods in pet nutrition with a focus on dogs and cats.
Indeed, functional foods modify gastrointestinal physiology, promote changes in biochemical parameters,
improve brain functions and may reduce or minimize the risk of developing specic pathologies. This evidence
derives largely from clinical studies while only limited evidence is available from studies in dogs and cats.
Therefore, functional food consumption should be further investigated in pet nutrition to understand how
dietary interventions can be used for disease prevention and treatment.
1. Background
Novel foods and food components have been identied as func-
tionalbecause they provide health benets beyond the provision of
essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, water, proteins, carbo-
hydrates and fats (Hasler, 2000). The role of functional foods has been
investigated in dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis catus) in order to
better understand their metabolism, thus optimising companion animal
nutritional and health status (Swanson et al., 2003). After a long history
of coexistence, the most common pets in modern societies are dogs and
cats. Dogs and cats present signicant dierences in digestive-related
processes but, while cats are carnivorous, dogs appear to be omnivorous
like human beings (Bosch et al., 2015). Dogs share some carnivorous
traits with cats as both lack salivary amylase, have a short gastro-
intestinal tract and are unable to synthesize vitamin D (National
Research Council, 2006). In contrast, there are 3 genes, AMY2B, MGAM
and SGLT1 that have evolved only in dogs during domestication and are
involved in starch digestion and glucose uptake (Axelsson et al., 2013).
Another characteristic of the dogs digestive system is that they can
synthesise several essential nutrients such as niacin, taurine and
arginine (Bosch et al., 2015). As far as cats are concerned, they can
catabolise and use amino acids as a source of energy for gluconeogen-
esis (Morris, 2002). Cats have a diet consisting of 52% protein, 36% fat
and 12% carbohydrate (Plantinga et al., 2011). Therefore, we have to
study pet nutrition considering dogs and cats separately. A human-pet
parallel exists as pet owners provide their dogs and cats with alternative
foods, such as commercially available natural, raw food and vegetar-
ian diets as they are considered family members (Michel, 2006). The
parallel between humans and animals is further strengthened by the
evidence that, similarly to human babies who copy adults' redundant
actions (Brugger et al., 2007; Cook et al., 2014; Lyons et al., 2007;
Topal et al., 2008), companion animals acquire the wrong eating habits
from their owners (Marshall-Pescini et al., 2012). This evidence
suggests that understanding pet nutrition is also important to study
human nutrition; however, this is not object of this article and has been
reviewed elsewhere (Di Cerbo et al., 2014).
Several studies have focused on investigating health benets of
ingredients found in commercially available functional foods in hu-
mans; these ingredients may also exert their benecial eects on dogs
and cats but, at least in some cases, have not been investigated yet. The
interest in the adequacy of commercially available pet foods has been
growing worldwide (Zicker, 2008). Functional foods, strongly appre-
Received 15 September 2016; Received in revised form 10 March 2017; Accepted 15 March 2017
Corresponding author at: KWS BioTest, 47-48 Martingale Way, Marine View Oce Park, Portishead, Somerset BS20 7AW, UK.
Authors contributed equally.
E-mail addresses: (A. Di Cerbo), (J.C. Morales-Medina), (B. Palmieri), (F. Pezzuto), (R. Cocco), (G. Flores), (T. Iannitti).
Research in Veterinary Science 112 (2017) 161–166
0034-5288/ © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
ciated for their health benets, include fruit and vegetables (Slavin and
Lloyd, 2012), botanicals (Guidetti et al., 2016), whole grains (Borneo
and Leon, 2012), dietary supplements including pycnogenol, collagen,
coenzyme Q10, low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid, chondroitin
sulfate and glucosamine sulfate (Di Cerbo et al., 2015a), beverages
(Corbo et al., 2014; Shiby and Mishra, 2013), prebiotics and probiotics
(Di Cerbo et al., 2012; Di Cerbo and Palmieri, 2015; Di Cerbo et al.,
2013; Iannitti and Palmieri, 2010; Ricciardi et al., 2014; Romano et al.,
2014; Blaiotta et al., 2016) [probiotics ecacy in canine and feline
welfare has been reviewed elsewhere (Grzeskowiak et al., 2015)]. Most
of these functional foods can improve satiety (Delzenne and Kok, 2001;
Reimer et al., 2012) and reduce postprandial glucose and insulin
concentrations (Delzenne and Kok, 2001), thus reducing diabetes-
related comorbities. Inulin and oligofructose, two functional foods,
can modify the intestinal microora in dogs, cats (Hussein et al., 1999)
and humans (Van Loo et al., 1999). Dietary bers, which are commonly
found in pet foods (de Godoy et al., 2009), can modify the intestinal
microora by promoting commensal bacteria growth (Tungland, 2003).
Decrease in gastric emptying, blood cholesterol concentrations
(Brennan and Cleary, 2005), gastric transit time, dilution in diet calorie
density as well as increase in satiety (Rebello et al., 2013), glucose
uptake rate (Jenkins et al., 2008) and fecal excretion (Wenk, 2001) can
also be ascribed to dietary bers.
Whole grains, whose main sources are wheat, corn, oats, barley and
rye (Slavin et al., 2001), are rich in dietary bers, trace minerals,
vitamin B and E (Fardet, 2010), bioactive compounds, e.g. tocotrienols,
lignans and polyphenols, lipotropes and methyl donors, such as choline,
methionine, betaine, inositol and folate and antinutrients; these are
dened as compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients
such as phytic acid, tannins and saponins endowed with antioxidant
and anti-carcinogenic eects (Fardet, 2010; Jones and Engleson, 2010;
Jonnalagadda et al., 2011; Slavin et al., 2001). Cereal grain is mainly
used (~90%) in animal feeding and its nutritional composition ranges
from 21% to 27% of total dietary ber, 12%16% of crude protein and
Table 1
Studies of functional foods and functional food-containing diets in dogs.
Functional food/diet containing functional foods Health benets References
FOS alone or in combination with MOS plus poultry by-product meal, brewers rice,
poultry fat, beet pulp, dehydrated egg, sodium chloride, potassium chloride,
choline chloride, vitamin premix and mineral premix
ileal immunoglobulin A,
fecal total indole and phenol concentrations
Swanson et al., 2002
Oligofructose levels of Clostridium perfringens Flickinger et al.,
Poultry fat combined with 12% stabilized rice bran
Defatted rice bran diet combined with poultry fat, beef tallow, or poultry
fat:soybean oil (50:50)
food intake and palatability
plasma phospholipid total monounsaturated fatty acids
Spears et al., 2004
Peas glycemic index value Adolphe et al., 2012
104·80 μmol retinol (100,000 IU vitamin A) bone growth Morris et al., 2012
Corn, beet pulp, yeast, sh oil, minerals, dried yeast (Bio MOS), FOS, Yucca
schidigera, Vitamin A (15,000 IU), Vitamin D3 (1080 IU), Vitamin E (180 mg),
choline chloride (1000 mg), copper chelate of amino acids hydrate (20 mg), DL-
methionine (500 mg), taurine (1500 mg), L-carnitine (500 mg), extract rich in
natural tocopherols (44.3 mg), Rosmarinus ocinalis (0.84 mg), Grifola frondosa
(270 mg), Curcuma longa (263 mg), Carica papaya (151 mg), Punica granatum
(103 mg), Aloe vera (92 mg), Polygonum L. (82 mg), Haematococcus pluvialis
(74 mg), Solanum lycopersicum (25 mg), and Vitis vinifera (19 mg)
Body Condition Score, d-ROMs, hematocrit, and platelets
Pasquini et al., 2013
Antioxidants, phytotherapic compounds, vitamins, and trace elements metabolic activity (free thyroxine and testosterone) and a
consequent positive eect on fertility and thyroid activity
semen motility and vitality
Ponzio et al., 2013
Fish hydrolyzed proteins, rice carbohydrates, Melaleuca alternifolia (0.00343%), Tilia
platyphyllos scapoli et cordata (0.0147%), Allium sativum L. (0.0245%), Rosa
canina L. (0.098%) and zinc (0.00479%)
mean score intensity of all chronic otitis externa-associated
symptoms (occlusion of ear canal, erythema, discharge quantity
and odor)
Di Cerbo et al., 2014,
Ascophyllum nodosum,Cucumis melo,Carica papaya, Aloe vera, Astaxanthin from
Haematococcus pluvialis,Curcuma longa,Camellia sinensis, Punica granatum, Piper
nigrum, Poligonum spp.,Echinacea purpurea, Grifola frondosa, Glycine max, and
Omega 3 and Omega 6 unsaturated fatty acids
platelet number and CD4/CD8 ratio, Treg and Th1 cells Cortese et al., 2015
Rice carbohydrates, Grifola frondosa,Curcuma longa,Carica papaya, Punica granatum,
Aloe vera, Polygonum cuspidatum, Solanum lycopersicum, Vitis vinifera,Rosmarinus
ocinalis, and an Omega 3 and Omega 6 ratio of 1:0.8
Sechi et al., 2015
Fish meal, propolis (0.0161%), Salvia ocinalis (0.0087%), egg albumen (lysozyme
0.0078%), dehydrated orange extract (bioavonoids 0.0077%), Thymus vulgaris
(0.0127%), and Ribes nigrum (0.0040%)
halitosis volatile sulfur compounds (methyl mercaptan,
hydrogen sulde and dimethyl sulde)
Di Cerbo et al.,
Fish proteins, rice carbohydrates (carbohydrates: 7580%; starch: 6570%; beta-
glucans: < 0.1%), Cucumis melo (300 mg/kg), Ascophyllum nodosum (40,000 mg/
kg), Astaxanthin from Hematococcus pluvialis (49 mg/kg), Aloe vera (135 mg/kg),
Carica papaya (135 mg/kg), Punica granatum (70 mg/kg), Camellia sinensis
(70 mg/kg), Polygonum cuspidatum (7 mg/kg), Curcuma longa (102 mg/kg), Piper
nigrum (30 mg/kg), zinc (137 mg/kg), and an Omega 3 and Omega 6 ratio of
mean intensity of tear production, conjunctival inammation,
corneal keratinization, corneal pigment density and mucus
Destefanis et al.,
Rice carbohydrates, Punica granatum (0.0457%), Valeriana ocinalis (0.026%),
Rosmarinus ocinalis (0.000044%), Tilia spp. (0.0635%), tea extract (0.031%)
and L-tryptophan (0.0329%)
clinical and behavioral symptoms related to general anxiety Di Cerbo et al., 2016
Punica granatum (457 mg/kg), Valeriana ocinalis (260 mg/kg), Rosmarinus
ocinalis (0.44 mg/kg), Tilia spp. (635 mg/kg), tea extract (392 mg/kg), and L-
tryptophan (329 mg/kg), L-theanine (310 mg/kg), Omega 6 (12.5 g/kg), Omega
3 (16 g/kg), Vitamin A (18,500 UI/kg), E (120 mg/kg), C (250 mg/kg), choline
chloride (1000 mg/kg), zinc sulfate monohydrate (137 mg/kg), cupric chelate
glycine hydrate (39 mg/kg) and DL-methionine (500 mg/kg)
serotonin, dopamine and β-endorphin plasma concentrations
noradrenaline and cortisol plasma concentrations and d-ROMs
Sechi et al., 2017
BAP, biological antioxidant potential; BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor; d-ROMs, derivatives of reactive oxygen metabolites; FOS, fructooligosaccharides; MOS, mannan-
A. Di Cerbo et al. Research in Veterinary Science 112 (2017) 161–166
18%22% of crude fat (Kahlon, 2009). Corn is another valuable ber
source since it possesses no detrimental eects on palatability and
nutrient digestibility, also lowering the glycemic response in adult dogs
(de Godoy et al., 2009). Although corn ber contains phenolic
compounds with known antioxidant, anti-mutagenic and cholesterol-
lowering eects (Wilson et al., 2000) that can reduce the incidence of
colon cancer in humans (Lamy et al., 2014), these eects have not been
investigated in dogs and cats. Therefore, further studies are warranted.
Rice bran is an excellent source of essential amino acids since it is
particularly rich in sulfur-containing amino acids, micronutrients such
as magnesium, manganese and B vitamins (Ryan, 2011), bioactive
molecules such as tocopherols, tocotrienols, polyphenols like ferulic
acid and α-lipoic acid, phytoesterols, γ-oryzanol and carotenoids such
as carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which have strong
antioxidant, anti-inammatory and chemopreventive properties in
management and prevention of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular
disease, type-2 diabetes, and obesity (Ryan, 2011). In addition, rice
bran oil contains a good fatty acid prole including mostly mono- and
poly-unsaturated fatty acids [oleic acid (38.4%), linoleic acid (34.4%)
and α-linolenic acid (2.2%)] and about 1.5% γ-oryzanol, all of which
have a strong antioxidant capacity, as observed in rodents, rabbits, non-
human primates and humans (Cicero and Derosa, 2005). During pet
food heat processing, the Maillard reaction, i.e. a non-enzymatic
browning and avoring reaction (van Rooijen et al., 2013), reduces
the bioavailability of essential amino acids such as lysine (Friedman,
1996). Therefore, pet food can supply less lysine than the animal may
require thus needing the addition of a dietary supplement to integrate
such deciency. Understanding the nutritional benets of functional
foods currently available is of key importance to provide dogs and cats
with the correct diet to keep them healthy. For this reason, softwares
are available online to allow the consumer to choose the appropriate
pet food based on the desired ingredients and diet (BlueBualo;
Purinaone; Forza10usa).
2. Aim and searching criteria
The aim of this review is to discuss the availability and use of
functional foods in dogs and cats. We searched Pubmed/Medline using
the keywords dogs,cats,functional,food,nutraceuticaland
dietalone or combined. Selected papers from 1941 to 2017 were
chosen based on their content.
3. Functional foods and dog nutrition
Several studies focused on the role of functional foods in dog
nutrition (Adolphe et al., 2012; Cortese et al., 2015; Destefanis et al.,
2016; Di Cerbo et al., 2016; Di Cerbo et al., 2014; Di Cerbo et al.,
2015b; Di Cerbo et al., 2017; Fahnestock et al., 2012; Pasquini et al.,
2013; Ponzio et al., 2013; Sechi et al., 2015; Sechi et al., 2017; Spears
et al., 2004; Swanson et al., 2002; Tidu et al., 2013) are summarized in
Table 1. For instance, in adult male beagles, oligofructose-enriched diet
decreased fecal ammonia and Clostridium perfringens concentrations,
while total aerobes increased, thus ameliorating the overall dog health
(Flickinger et al., 2003). Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), were used alone
or in combination with mannan-oligosaccharide in dogs fed on a meat-
based diet (Swanson et al., 2002). Dogs showed greater ileal immu-
noglobulin A concentration, whereas they displayed lower fecal total
indole and phenol concentrations, if compared with untreated controls.
A further study tested a 6-month maintenance diet (FOS as well as corn,
sh meal, processed proteins of chicken, poultry fat, beet pulp, yeast,
sh oil, minerals, dried yeast (Bio mannan-oligosaccharides), Yucca
schidigera, Vitamin A, D3 and E, choline chloride, copper chelate of
amino acids hydrate, DL-methionine, taurine, L-carnitine and tocopher-
ols, Grifola frondosa,Curcuma longa,Carica papaya,Punica granatum,
Aloe vera,Polygonum L.,Haematococcus pluvialis,Solanum licopersicum,
and Vitis vinifera) on oxidative stress markers in 12 adult dogs (Pasquini
et al., 2013). These dogs presented oxidative imbalance in the form of
increased derivatives of reactive oxygen metabolites (d-ROMs) and
reduced biological antioxidant potential (BAP; a spectrophotometric
test that evaluates blood plasma antioxidant potential by measuring its
ferric reducing ability) and retinol. At 6 months, a signicant reduction
in d-ROMs, primarily hydroperoxides and platelets, as well as an
increase in both retinol and BAP was observed, suggesting a restored
oxidative balance. This evidence supports the idea that an adequate diet
may be crucial to achieve a good oxidative balance in dogs. Conversely,
oxidative imbalance may occur after consuming a high glycemic index
meal (Adolphe et al., 2012). In order to test this hypothesis, the authors
compared postprandial responses of 4 complex carbohydrate sources
(barley, corn, peas and rice) vs. a simple carbohydrate (glucose) in 6
dogs reporting that peas had the lowest glycemic index value (29%)
compared to barley and rice (51 and 55%, respectively) and could be
considered as part of a balanced diet. A further study by Ponzio et al.
(2013) evaluated the eects of a specic diet (hydrolyzed sh protein,
hydrolyzed potato protein, dried yeast, FOS, vitamin E, ascorbic acid,
vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin A, calcium pantothenate, riboavin,
pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, choline
chloride, DL-methionine, L-carnitine, Yucca schidigera extract, beta-
carotene, Lepidium meyenii, and Tribulus terrestris) on reproduction in
14 fertile male dogs, divided in 4 age groups (12 years, 34 years,
57 years, and 810 years), over a 4-month period, which was preceded
by a 3 months pre-treatment period with their usual diet (Ponzio et al.,
2013). A constant improvement in metabolic activity (free thyroxine
and testosterone) was observed within 45 days since the beginning of
the diet enriched with antioxidants with a consequent positive eect on
fertility and thyroid activity. Qualitative analysis of semen showed a
signicant increase in motility and vitality in dogs aged between 2 and
7. These results suggest that a diet enriched with antioxidants can be
used to achieve a better reproductive performance. The canine model
has been used to investigate the relationship among cognitive impair-
ment in aging, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and diet, but
also among behavioral disturbances, neuroendocrine parameters mod-
ication and diet (Behavioral, SANYpet S.p.A., Padua, Italy) (Di Cerbo
et al., 2017; Fahnestock et al., 2012; Sechi et al., 2015; Sechi et al.,
2017). These studies showed that dogs receiving two dierent anti-
oxidant- and botanical-enriched diets (rice, sh meal, vegetable fats
and oils, sh oil, beet pulp, minerals, dehydrated yeast, FOS, Yucca
schidigera,Grifola frondosa,Curcuma longa,Carica papaya,Punica
granatum,Aloe vera,Polygonum cuspidatum,Haematococcus pluvialis,
Solanum lycopersicum,Vitis vinifera,and Rosmarinus ocinalis) presented
signicantly higher BDNF (Sechi et al., 2015), lower d-ROMs and
normalized neuroendocrine parameter levels as well as an overall
improvement in behavioral disturbances and their related clinical signs
(rice our, sh protein hydrolysate, potato protein hydrolysate, miner-
als, Punica granatum,Valeriana ocinalis,Rosmarinus ocinalis,Tilia
spp.,Crataegus oxyacantha L. tea extract, and L-tryptophan), if com-
pared to animal fed on a control diet (Di Cerbo et al., 2017; Sechi et al.,
2017). This evidence suggests that dietary intervention might be a
valuable alternative for treatment of cognitive decits and behavioral
disturbances in dogs.
Halitosis is a condition aecting both dogs and humans impacting
their relationships (Di Cerbo et al., 2015b). A randomized placebo-
controlled cross-over clinical evaluation assessed the eectiveness of a
dedicated diet (Forza10 OralActive, SANYpet S.p.A., Padua, Italy) in
improving chronic halitosis in 16 dogs of dierent breeds and ages (Di
Cerbo et al., 2015b). Briey, it was possible to evaluate the ecacy of
the diet (rice, sh meal, vegetable fats and oils, sh oil, beet pulp,
minerals, dehydrated yeast, FOS, Yucca schidigera, propolis, Salvia
ocinalis, lysozyme, bioavonoids, Thymus vulgaris, and Ribes nigrum)
on oral volatile sulfur compounds, e.g. methyl mercaptan, hydrogen
sulde and dimethyl sulde, using gas chromatography, which eval-
uated the concentration of the aforementioned compounds over
30 days. A signicant decrease in halitosis-related sulfur compounds
A. Di Cerbo et al. Research in Veterinary Science 112 (2017) 161–166
was observed. Moreover, such improvement was still evident at 20 days
post interruption of the diet supporting the long-lasting ecacy of the
compound. Di Cerbo and coworkers observed a pivotal role of a
functional diet (hydrolyzed proteins of sh and vegetable origin,
minerals, used as glidants, Melaleuca alternifolia,Tilia platyphyllos
scapoli et cordata,Allium sativum L.,Rosa canina L., and zinc) in relieving
chronic otitis externa-associated symptoms limiting the need of phar-
macological therapy to treat this condition (Di Cerbo et al., 2016). In
this study, 15 adult dogs of dierent breeds and ages, aected by
chronic otitis externa, received a functional diet along with pharmaco-
logical therapy (OTOMAX, 8 drops a day for 7 days). The nutraceutical
diet, endowed with anti-inammatory and antioxidant activities, sig-
nicantly decreased the mean score intensity of all symptoms (occlu-
sion of ear canal, erythema, discharge quantity, and odor) after 90 days
of intervention. In this evaluation, dogs received the pharmacological
treatment for the rst 8 days of diet supplementation, while they
received diet alone for the remaining 82 days. This result is of
signicant relevance in light of the growing of antimicrobial resistance
to pharmacological therapy and represents a starting point for devel-
oping functional foods endowed with antibacterial activity. A further
study investigated the eect of an immune-modulating diet (IMMD) or
standard diet (SD) combined with anti-Leishmania pharmacological
therapy (meglumine antimoniate and allopurinol), in 2 groups of 20
dogs (IMMD and SD groups) of dierent breeds and ages, aected by
canine Leishmaniasis (CL), at 0, 3, 6 and 12 months (Cortese et al.,
2015). The IMMD restored the levels of regulatory T cells that are
reduced during CL, if compared to dogs receiving the SD, at 3, 6 and
12 months. At 6 and 12 months, dogs fed on the IMMD also showed a
decrease in T helper cells comparable to the levels observed in healthy
dogs. This evidence suggests that a specic diet can regulate the
immune response in dogs aected by CL during pharmacological
treatment. The same immune-modulating diet resulted particularly
eective in reducing the overall mean intensity of tear production,
conjunctival inammation, corneal keratinization, corneal pigment
density and mucus discharge which are the most common symptoms
of canine keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Destefanis et al., 2016).
Pet food palatability has also been object of study since this feature
is of key importance in terms of suitability and safety. Spears et al.
(2004) examined palatability of a dry canine diet and its eect on
digestion of stabilized rice bran by determining fecal characteristics,
food intake, selected immune mediators and blood lipid characteristics
(Spears et al., 2004). In the rst experiment, the authors compared the
palatability of 4 diets containing poultry fat (Test diet 1) or soybean oil
(Test diet 2) combined with either 12% stabilized (Test diet 3) or
defatted rice bran (Test diet 4) which were fed on 20 dogs for 4 days.
Food intake improved in dogs fed on Test diet 1 combined with 12%
stabilized rice bran. In the second experiment, 36 beagles received 6
diets containing 12% stabilized or defatted rice bran diet combined
with poultry fat, beef tallow, or poultry fat:soybean oil (50:50). Dogs on
a defatted rice bran diet showed signicantly lower plasma phospho-
lipid total monounsaturated fatty acids with respect to those on a
stabilized rice bran diet. They observed that stabilized rice bran was
well tolerated in dogs with no detrimental eect on nutrient digest-
ibility and fecal characteristics and without promoting changes in
inammatory and immune responses. Moreover, stabilized rice bran
diet presented better palatability compared to the defatted rice bran
4. Functional foods and cat nutrition
Compared to dogs, cats are carnivorous animals with dierent
nutritional needs (Legrand-Defretin, 1994). Thus, specic functional
foods have been investigated in cat nutrition, as summarized in Table 2.
In a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial involving 55 cats
with chronic diarrhea, the ecacy of either a high (10%) or low fat
(23%) highly digestible diet (soy akes, soy protein isolate, turkey and
turkey by-product meal, corn starch, oat meal, oat ber, beef tallow,
vitamins and minerals) was evaluated by assessing the fecal score (FSa).
All cats responded to the diets tested with an increase in FSa within the
rst week, achieving a maximum response to diet supplementation
within 3 weeks. Furthermore, one third of the cats developed normal
stools. No signicant dierences were observed in response to both
diets, indicating that dietary fat amount is not a key factor in dietary
management of cats with diarrhea (Laamme et al., 2011).
In a further study, inclusion of 26% full-fat rice bran in a puried cat
diet led to a signicantly lower mean whole blood taurine concentra-
tion, if compared with controls fed on a puried diet containing 26%
corn starch (Stratton-Phelps et al., 2002). The lower taurine concentra-
tion observed in cats fed on the rice bran diet was due to increased fecal
excretion of conjugated bile acids in addition to changes in hindgut
microbiota due to the indigestible protein fraction of rice bran able to
degrade taurine (this amino acid is not degraded under physiological
conditions). Based on this outcome, a higher concentration of dietary
taurine (> 0.05%) should be included in feline diets that contain rice
bran. Cats can self regulate food selection and intake to balance
macronutrient intake regardless of dierences in moisture content
and textural properties of commercial cat diets (Hewson-Hughes
et al., 2013).
Even under articial selection (domestication), where humans
largely determine the diet of the animal, evidence suggests that, when
provided with a choice of foods with dierent nutritional proles, cats
consume dierent quantities of dierent foods to balance their nutrient
intake. This was shown by Hewson-Hughes and co-authors (Hewson-
Hughes et al., 2013) by feeding 45 cats on 2 dierent commercial diets
(wet diet: Sheba®chunks in jelly, Turkey and Chicken variety, Wd; dry
diets: (Whiskas®TOP, Chicken variety, Dd) in dierent combinations (1
wet +3 dry; 1 dry +3 wet; 3 wet + 3 dry). Diets were oered
simultaneously and separated by a phase in which diets were oered
sequentially in 3-day cycles. This study shows a convergence upon the
same dietary macronutrient composition within each experiment as
well as over the course of the 3-day cycles. Moreover, despite
dierences in dietary options, the macronutrient composition of the
diets was remarkably similar across all experiments. Besides composi-
tion, acceptance and digestibility of nutrients are other key factors that
need to be taken into account in cat nutrition. Since apple pomace has a
low digestibility (Fekete et al., 2001), it was mixed with a meat-based
diet at an inclusion level of 10, 20, and 40% and fed to 9 adult neutered
European shorthaired obese cats (Fekete et al., 2001). Inclusion of
apple pomace (10 or 20% of the diet) did not decrease food palatability,
reduced the energy density, slightly changed the digestibility of fat, and
considerably decreased the digestibility of crude protein. Energy
density decreased proportionally to the percentage of apple pomace
added to the diet. Unfortunately, at a 40% inclusion rate, a lower food
intake was observed. Therefore, inclusion of palatable brous compo-
nents at a restricted inclusion rate in the diet of obese cats represents a
good way to reduce food energy content and maintain a physiological
level of food intake.
5. The pet food market
Adequacy and safety of food supply are of great interest to
consumers (Buchanan et al., 2011). Generally, pet owners do not refuse
to provide foods that can support health and wellness of their animals,
but at the same time, doubt their safety. For instance, incorporation of
corn and wheat that have documented antioxidant and anticancer
activity (Wood et al., 1994) into pet foods has been perceived as
negative by a subgroup of pet owners who believe that they are of lower
quality or of poor nutritional value for dogs and cats, despite them
matching the Association of American Feed Control Ocials (AAFCO)
standards (Carter et al., 2014). Pet owners have shown increased
interest in holistic, natural diets containing wholesome ingredients,
such as oats (Avena sativa) and barley (Hordeum vulgare), which can
A. Di Cerbo et al. Research in Veterinary Science 112 (2017) 161–166
reduce the risk of obesity (Jones and Engleson, 2010) and prevent
diabetes mellitus (the greater the intake of whole grains is, the lower
the fasting insulin levels are likely to be) (Pereira et al., 2002). Besides
food nutrition-related benets, safety issues should also be taken into
account. In recent years, pet food safety has represented a substantial
challenge because of the direct impact of food contaminations on both
animals and humans (FDA, 2005). Such contaminations could also lead
to nutritional deciencies despite a correct diet formulation. However,
the eect of contaminations (caused, for instance, by microorganisms)
of pet foods on animal health has not been extensively investigated due
to the multitude of possible sources of contamination (LeJeune and
Hancock, 2001). Moreover, most commonly used pet foods in the UK
employ products of unknown animal origin including bovine, porcine
and chicken DNA in various proportions and combinations often not
explicitly indicated on the product labels (Maine et al., 2015). There-
fore, the pet food industry still has various challenges to overcome in
order to provide better nutriments to dogs and cats.
6. Conclusions
Due to a reduction in the number of family components in
industrialized countries, the role of pets such as dogs and cats as
family membershas gained increasing importance (Shepherd, 2008),
and their health and well-being have become a prominent challenge for
their owners (Buchanan et al., 2011). As a matter of fact, companion
animals, most commonly dogs and cats, provide a positive impact on
humans' emotional (Allen et al., 1991; Serpell, 1991) and physical
health (Friedmann and Thomas, 1995; Headey, 1999). Due to the
diculty understanding pet food labels, consumers' education becomes
a key issue for the marketing of functional foods. In addition, research
on pet food is still scarce. Accurate claims on food labels help
consumers select products that satisfy their desire to promote animal
care and improve their pets' health. Food scientists and healthcare
professionals should therefore work together to improve consumers'
education by accurately characterizing new scientic developments or
achievements in nutrition. The ultimate success of functional pet foods
will depend on delivering bioactive components in a predictable, safe
and functional manner to eectively reduce the risk of disease and
support the domestic animal's body. Future basic and applied nutri-
tional research should further explore the role and mechanism of
functional foods in dogs and cats.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
This article was not supported by any funding.
This article was not supported by grants. JCMM and GFA acknowl-
edge CONACyT for membership.
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... On the basis of ingredients, the reports mentioned above find that animal-derived pet food is the leading segment, followed by plant-derived pet food. More and more researchers are trying to find different functional, high energy, and cost-effective ingredients, like beans, peas, and other pulses, miscanthus, etc. Recognizing the nutritional benefits of functional foods currently available is of key importance to providing dogs and cats with the relevant diet to keep them healthy [4,6,7]. ...
... A healthy diet should guarantee an adequate intake of all the essential amino acids (EAAs) in order to ensure metabolic functions, normal growth, and maintenance of the animal. Three AAs: isoleucine, leucine, and valine, also called branched-chain amino acids, are of particular importance [4,7]. The meat tissue of marine and freshwater bivalves is often recommended as a high-quality protein source with essential protein levels. ...
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... On the basis of ingredients, the reports mentioned above find that animal-derived pet food is the leading segment, followed by plant-derived pet food. More and more researchers are trying to find different functional, high energy, and cost-effective ingredients, like beans, peas, and other pulses, miscanthus, etc. Recognizing the nutritional benefits of functional foods currently available is of key importance to providing dogs and cats with the relevant diet to keep them healthy [4,6,7]. ...
... A healthy diet should guarantee an adequate intake of all the essential amino acids (EAAs) in order to ensure metabolic functions, normal growth, and maintenance of the animal. Three AAs: isoleucine, leucine, and valine, also called branched-chain amino acids, are of particular importance [4,7]. The meat tissue of marine and freshwater bivalves is often recommended as a high-quality protein source with essential protein levels. ...
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Abstract:The aim of this study was to describe the quality attributes of a freeze-dried preparationobtained from freshwater musselSinanodonta woodiana(SW) soft tissue in respect to its potential as anovel pet food ingredient. After ecotoxicological testing of the raw material with MARA (MicrobialAssay for Risk Assessment), the basic physico-chemical properties of the powder, such as approximatecomposition, bulk density, color parameters, water activity, electrophoretic analysis (SDS-PAGE),solubility, gelling and emulsifying capacity, were analyzed. The powder with a water activity of0.43 offers a toxically safe preparation that contains over 34% protein/100 g of dry matter (DM).The SDS-PAGE profile showed twelve protein bands with a molecular weight (MW) ranging from>250 to 10 kDa. Taurine content has been estimated at an essential amount above 150 mg/100 g ofDM. The powder possessed desirable emulsifying properties with 230 mL per 1 g and demonstratedthe ability to form a firmer gel with a strength of 152.9 g at a temperature above 80◦C with at least10% protein content. The L*, a*, and b* values characterizing powder color were found to be 69.49,16.33, and 3.86, respectively. The SW mussel powder seems to be a promising ingredient that can beadded with other binding or gelling agents in order to improve both the taste and acceptance of thefinal pet food products. (13) (PDF) animals-12-00090. Available from: [accessed Jan 06 2022].
... Thus, functional foods can be natural or processed foodstuffs of basic consumption in the diet that provide an essential nutritional level and also share potentially positive effects on the host's health, including the reduction of diseases by optimizing the capacity of the immune system to prevent and control infections by pathogens, as well as pathologies that cause functional alterations in the host [4]. Functional foods have been described to modify physiological mechanisms at the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) level by increasing biochemical parameters and improving neuronal functions [5]. Some of the main types of functional foods, besides fermented conventional ones, include nutraceuticals, probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics (which are a mixture of probiotics and prebiotics) ( Figure 1). ...
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... It is obtained from various microorganisms, including microalgae, phytoplanktons, marine animals, and seafood such as salmon, lobster, and shrimp [22]. ASX has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-apoptotic activities and has the ability to regulate gene expression [22][23][24][25]. ...
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Thiacloprid (TCP) is a widely used neonicotinoid insecticide with a probable toxic hazard to animals and human beings. This intensified the demand for natural compounds to alleviate the expected toxic insults. This study aimed at determining whether astaxanthin (ASX) could mitigate the hepatotoxic effect of TCP and diminish its suppressive effect on immune responses in rats. Animals received TCP by gavage at 62.1 mg/kg (1/10th LD50) with or without ASX at 40 mg/kg, for 60 days. Intoxicated rats showed modulation of serum transaminases and protein profile. The hemagglutination antibody titer to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) and the number of plaque forming cells in spleen were reduced. The cell-mediated immunity and phagocytosis were suppressed, while serum interleukins IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-10 were elevated. Also, malondialdehyde, nitric oxide and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine levels were increased in the liver, spleen and thymus, with depletion of glutathione and suppression of superoxide dismutase and catalase activities. The expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase and the high mobility group box protein 1 genes were upregulated with histomorphological alterations in the aforementioned organs. Co-treatment with ASX markedly ameliorated the toxic effects of TCP, and all markers showed a regression trend towards control values. Collectively our data suggest that the protective effects of ASX on the liver and immune system of TCP-treated animals depend upon improving the antioxidant status and relieving the inflammatory response, and thus it may be used as a promising therapeutic agent to provide superior hepato- and immunoprotection.
In companion animal nutrition, probiotics (direct-fed microbials) are marketed as functional ingredients that add value to pet foods due to the impact they have on gastrointestinal and immune health of dogs and cats. The nature of the beneficial effect each probiotic strain exerts depends on its metabolic properties and perhaps most importantly, the arrival of a sufficient number of viable cells to the large bowel of the host. Pet food manufacturing processes are designed to improve food safety and prolong shelf-life, which is counterproductive to the survival of direct-fed microbials. Therefore, a prerequisite for the effective formulation of pet foods with probiotics is an understanding of the conditions each beneficial bacterial strain needs to survive. The aims of this chapter are: (1) To summarize the inherent characteristics of probiotic strains used in commercial pet foods, and (2) To review recently published literature on the applications of probiotics to pet foods and their associated challenges to viability.
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During two retreats in 2017 and 2020, a group of international scientists convened to explore the Human-Animal Bond. The meetings, hosted by the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Institute, took a broad view of the human-dog relationship and how interactions between the two may benefit us medically, psychologically or through their service as working dogs (e.g. guide dogs, explosive detection, search and rescue, cancer detection). This Frontiers’ Special Topic has collated the presentations into a broad collection of 14 theoretical and review papers summarizing the latest research and practice in the historical development of our deepening bond with dogs, the physiological and psychological changes that occur during human-dog interactions (to both humans and dogs) as well as the selection, training and welfare of companion animals and working dogs. The overarching goals of this collection are to contribute to the current standard of understanding of human-animal interaction, suggest future directions in applied research, and to consider the interdisciplinary societal implications of the findings.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of the parameters of the grain air-sieve cleaner in laboratory conditions on the external quality of food maize (Zea mays L.) kernel in terms of the design for the selection of a suitable sieve mesh for cleaning procedures. The object of the research was maize kernel, variety Pionier P0216, year of cultivation 2019. The available laboratory equipment was used in the study. To evaluate the external quality of food maize kernel, indicators were determined, which were investigated before and after cleaning. An Asus notebook computer with software from Microsoft Windows XP and Ofice 2010 was used to evaluate the measurement results. These results were achieved: an average bulk density of 846.77 kg.m-3 was found in the input sample of food maize kernel after harvest, admixtures before cleaning reached an average of 19.1% and impurities of 2.76%, cleanliness of kernels before cleaning averaged 76.9%, the output after cleaning expressed in terms of bulk density reached an average value of 851.15 kg.m-3, admixtures after cleaning reached 0.07% and impurities 4.21%, clean kernels after cleaning reached 94.86% and damage kernels after cleaning decreased slightly by separation of fragments and chipped kernels. In conclusion, it was stated that the laboratory technique for post-harvest treatment of grain is at a high level worldwide. Currently, the issue of post-harvest processing of grain in Slovakia is addressed at an average level. Post-harvest processing and storage of grain in terms of enginery and technological and economic aspects is little researched in the Slovak Republic, so these issues are open to further research.
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Since there is a notable upsurge in the number of pet parents and which includes plenty of first-time pet parents, who are commonly unaware of the appropriate eating patterns of their companion pets. And this may result in the critical health concerns to their pets which can be easily dodged if they get to know about the nutritional needs of their pet. The motive of the study was to collect the response of the pet parent (of dogs) towards the fresh food for pets (dogs). The concept of FFD (Fresh Food for Dogs) is that the food is prepared fresh, considering the dietary requirements of the pet in a hygienic manner using the best quality ingredients that are free from toxic chemicals. Feedback gathered from the pet (dog) owners concerning the FFD utilizing a questionnaire that incorporated principal elements like the value of pet at home, feeding practices, acceptability of FFD, and recommendations. The data collected through the questionnaire was transformed into numerical values for a better understanding of the recorded responses. The investigation revealed that pet owners had a certain familiarity with the nutritive dietary requirement of the pet but had extremely
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Animal nutrition plays an important role in the therapy of many diseases, including heart failure. The aim was to assess whether 6 months of feeding an AEP + ADH enriched diet (from fish meat) in dogs suffering from heart failure due to mitral degeneration impacts the dogs’ metabolic profile and clinical status. Twenty small breed dogs were included: 50% were in stage B2 of MMVD and 50%, in stage C according to ACVIM. Dogs were randomly divided into two groups. One group receiving a standard diet, the second one a diet enriched with EPA + DHA (from fish meat). All dogs continued to receive appropriate therapy throughout the study. Control examinations were performed at the start of the study, after 3 and 6 months of appropriate feeding. Examinations included ECG, ECHO, blood hemathology and biochemistry, morphometric measurements, body fat index and subcutaneous fat tissue thickness. Serum samples were analyzed with a high-performance liquid chromatography system. Data were analyzed using the Progenesis QI (PQI, Non-linear Dynamics). The results showed no differences in clinical, cardiological, haematological and biochemical parameters between the two study groups. An effect on the metabolomic profile following a continued diet enriched in DHA + EPA (from fish meat) was more pronounced with time. After 6 months of feeding the diete enriched with DHA + EPA (from fish meat), there was a favorable reduction in glycerophosphocholine and xanthine levels, but an adverse increase in lactate and furvan and a decrease in alanine was not stopped.
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Working dogs are prevalent throughout our societies, assisting people in diverse contexts, from explosives detection and livestock herding, to therapy partners. Our scientific exploration and understanding of animal welfare have grown dramatically over the last decade. As community attitudes toward the use of animals continue to change, applying this new knowledge of welfare to improve the everyday lives of working dogs will underpin the sustainability of working with dogs in these roles. The aim of this report was to consider the scientific studies of working dogs from the last decade (2011–2021) in relation to modern ethics, human interaction, and the five domains of animal welfare: nutrition, environment, behavioral interaction, physical health, and mental state. Using this framework, we were able to analyze the concept and contribution of working dog welfare science. Noting some key advances across the full working dog life cycle, we identify future directions and opportunities for interdisciplinary research to optimize dog welfare. Prioritizing animal welfare in research and practice will be critical to assure the ongoing relationship between dogs and people as co-workers.
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A 10-month prospective study was carried out which examined changes in behaviour and health status in 71 adult subjects following the acquisition of a new pet (either dogs or cats). A group of 26 subjects without pets served as a comparison over the same period. Both pet-owning groups reported a highly significant reduction in minor health problems during the first month following pet acquisition, and this effect was sustained in dog owners through to 10 months. The pet-acquiring groups also showed improvements in their scores on the 30-item General Health Questionnaire over the first 6 months and, in dog owners, this improvement was maintained until 10 months. In addition, dog owners took considerably more physical exercise while walking their dogs than the other two groups, and this effect continued throughout the period of study. The group without pets exhibited no statistically significant changes in health or behaviour, apart from a small increase in recreational walking. The results provide evidence that pet acquisition may have positive effects on human health and behaviour, and that in some cases these effects are relatively long term.
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The well being of dogs can be affected by changes in human lifestyle, eating habits and increased stressors that lead to behavioral disorders including fear, hyperactivity and anxiety, followed by negative affective moods and poor welfare. Our randomized, controlled clinical evaluation involved 69 dogs, 38 males and 31 females, of different breeds, with behavioral disorders related to anxiety and chronic stress. They were fed a control diet (CD group) or a nutraceutical diet (ND group) for 45 days. Neuroendocrine (serotonin, dopamine, β-endorphins, noradrenaline and cortisol) and stress (dROMs and BAP) parameters related to behavioural disorders were evaluated at the beginning and end of the study period. Results showed a significant increase in serotonin, dopamine and β-endorphins plasma concentrations (*p < 0.05, *p < 0.05 and **p < 0.01, respectively) and a significant decrease in noradrenaline and cortisol plasma concentrations in the ND group (*p < 0.05). dROMs significantly decreased in the ND group (*p < 0.05) while BAP was not affected. This study demonstrated for the first time that a specific diet significantly and positively affected neurendocrine parameters and dROMs. These results open significant perspectives concerning the use of diet and neutraceuticals in the treatment of behavioral disorders
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BACKGROUND:Canine keratoconjunctivitis sicca (cKCS) is an inflammatory eye condition related to a deficiency in the tear aqueous fraction. Etiopathogenesis of such disease is substantially multifactorial, combining the individual genetic background with environmental factors that contribute to the process of immunological tolerance disruption and, as a consequence, to the emergence of autoimmunity disease. In this occurrence, it is of relevance the role of the physiological immune-dysregulation that results in immune-mediated processes at the basis of cKCS. Current therapies for this ocular disease rely on immunosuppressive treatments. Clinical response to treatment frequently varies from poor to good, depending on the clinical-pathological status of eyes at diagnosis and on individual response to therapy. In the light of the variability of clinical response to therapies, we evaluated the use of an anti-inflammatory/antioxidant nutraceutical diet with potential immune-modulating activity as a therapeutical adjuvant in cKCS pharmacological treatment. Such combination was administered to a cohort of dogs affected by cKCS in which the only immunosuppressive treatment resulted poorly responsive or ineffective in controlling the ocular symptoms. RESULTS: Fifty dogs of different breeds affected by immune-mediated cKCS were equally distributed and randomly assigned to receive either a standard diet (control, n = 25) or the nutraceutical diet (treatment group, n = 25) both combined with standard immunosuppressive therapy over a 60 days period. An overall significant improvement of all clinical parameters (tear production, conjunctival inflammation, corneal keratinization, corneal pigment density and mucus discharge) and the lack of food-related adverse reactions were observed in the treatment group (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Our results showed that the association of traditional immune-suppressive therapy with the antioxidant/anti-inflammatory properties of the nutraceutical diet resulted in a significant amelioration of clinical signs and symptoms in cKCS. The beneficial effects, likely due to the presence of supplemented nutraceuticals in the diet, appeared to specifically reduce the immune-mediated ocular symptoms in those cKCS-affected dogs that were poorly responsive or unresponsive to classical immunosuppressive drugs. These data suggest that metabolic changes could affect the immune response orchestration in a model of immune-mediated ocular disease, as represented by cKCS.
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Several extrinsic factors, like drugs and chemicals, can foster autoimmunity. Tetracyclines, in particular oxytetracycline (OTC), appear to correlate with the emergence of immune-mediated diseases. Accumulation of OTC, the elective drug for gastrointestinal and respiratory infectious disease treatment in broiler chickens, was reported in chicken edible tissues and could represent a potential risk for pets and humans that could assume this antibiotic as residue in meat or in meat-derived byproducts. We investigated the in vitro anti-inflammatory properties of a pool of thirteen botanicals as a part of a nutraceutical diet, with proven immunomodulatory activity . In addition, we evaluated the effect of such botanicals in contrasting the in vitro proinflammatory toxicity of OTC. Our results showed a significant reduction in interferon- (INF-) γ production by human and canine lymphocytes in presence of botanicals ( p ⁎ < 0.05 ). Increased INF- γ production, dependent on 24-hour OTC-incubation of T lymphocytes, was significantly reduced by the coincubation with Haematococcus pluvialis , with Glycine max , and with the mix of all botanicals ( p ⁎ < 0.05 ). In conclusion, the use of these botanicals was shown to be able to contrast OTC-toxicity and could represent a new approach for the development of functional foods useful to enhance the standard pharmacological treatment in infections as well as in preventing or reducing the emergence of inflammatory diseases.
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In dogs, diets are often used to modulate behavioral disturbances related to chronic anxiety and stress caused by intense and restless activity. However, the traditional ways to monitor behavioral changes in dogs are complicated and not efficient. In the current clinical evaluation, a new, simple monitoring system was used to assess the effectiveness of a specific diet in positively modulating the intense and restless activity of 24 dogs of different ages and breeds. This protocol describes how to easily and rapidly evaluate improvement in a set of symptoms related to generalized anxiety by using a specific sensor, a mobile phone app, a wireless router, and a computer. The results showed that dogs treated with specific diets showed significant improvement in the times spent active and at rest after 10 days (p < 0.01 and p < 0.05, respectively). These dogs also showed an overall significant improvement in clinical and behavioral symptoms. A specific sensor, along with its related hardware, was demonstrated to successfully monitor behavioral changes relating to movement in dogs.
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At the Military Veterinary Center of Grossetto, where operative dogs from the Italian Army are raised and trained, more than 70 % of the discharges for unfitness are due to articular pathologies like hip and elbow dysplasia. The aim of this study was to investigate fatty acid metabolism of dogs during the growth phase, and its modulation by a fish-based diet. Only 2 out of the 32 subjects were affected by articular pathologies during the study. Still, both subjects had lower levels of arachidonic acid and higher levels of docosahexaenoic acid. Moreover, we observed that the ratio of eicosapentaenoic to docosahexaenoic acids, an indicator of delta-6 desaturase activity, drops dramatically during the first year in the German shepherd.
The world production of rice paddy in 2006 was 631 million metric tons. It resulted in 421 million tons of milled rice, of which 372 million tons were consumed as food. At least 114 countries grow rice and more than 50 have an annual production of 100,000 metric tons or more. The 11 top rice-growing countries are China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, Brazil, Japan, and the United States, producing 28.2%, 22.4%, 8.8%, 6.5%, 5.9%, 4.6%, 4.2%, 2.4%, 1.7%, 1.7%, and 1.5% of the world.
The objectives of this research were to examine the palatability of stabilized rice bran (SRB) when included in a dry canine diet, and to determine the effects of SRB on food intake, digestion, fecal characteristics, blood lipid characteristics, and selected immune mediators. Experiment 1 tested the palatability of SRB. Diets contained poultry fat in Test 1 and soybean oil in Test 2, in conjunction with either 12% SRB or 12% defatted rice bran (DRB, as-fed basis), and were fed to 20 dogs. Diets contained approximately 32% protein and 22% fat (DM basis). Food intake data were collected and intake ratios calculated (grams of SRB diet consumed divided by total consumed of both diets). Intake ratios were 0.73 for Test 1 (P < 0.01) and 0.61 for Test 2 (P < 0.14) for SRB diets. Diets in Exp. 2 contained 12% SRB or DRB (as-fed basis), and poultry fat, beef tallow, or poultry fat:soybean oil (50:50) as the main fat sources, and were fed to 36 beagles. Diets contained approximately 32% protein and 22% fat (DM basis). The effects of SRB and DRB were determined on food intake, digestibility, fecal characteristics, and blood fatty acid, phospholipid, and eicosanoid concentrations. No differences were noted in food intake, digestibility, or fecal characteristics. Fat sources contributed much more to dietary fat than rice bran source; therefore, fat source profiles overwhelmed the rice bran source contribution. Dogs consuming a DRB diet had lower (P < 0.050) plasma phospholipid total monounsaturated fatty acids compared with those consuming a SRB diet (−1.17 vs. 0.95%, respectively), whereas plasma fatty acid concentrations tended (P < 0.119) to decrease more than with SRB diets. Total concentrations of red blood cell phospholipid SFA tended (P < 0.15) to be greater in dogs consuming a beef tallow-containing diet compared with those consuming a poultry fat or poultry fat:soybean oil diet. Total concentrations of red blood cell phospholipid PUFA and n-6 PUFA tended to be greater (P < 0.097 and P < 0.083, respectively) in dogs consuming a poultry fat-containing diet than in those consuming a beef tallow-containing diet. Statistical differences and tendencies were detected in individual plasma fatty acids and plasma and red blood cell phospholipids due to rice bran source, fat source, and their interaction. Eicosanoid concentrations did not change due to treatment. Stabilized rice bran is a highly palatable ingredient when included in a dry dog diet, and did not elicit an effect on inflammatory immune mediators in healthy dogs.
Modulation of the intestinal microbiota is one of the potential health-beneficial effects of probiotic foods. The market potential and the consumers' awareness about the impact of these foods on health, annually increases. Dairy industry seems to be a promising sector for new products' development. In the present study, the most suitable probiotic for “Italico” cheese production was assessed. Moreover, the ability as carrier for probiotics as well as the sensory quality of the Italico cheese was evaluated on both laboratory and industrial scale. Lactobacillus rhamnosus LbGG and SP1, within cheese samples, showed a remarkable tolerance to acid-gastric and duodenal stresses, up to 40 days of ripening at 4 °C, keeping a viability level higher than 10⁸ CFU/g. Furthermore, the odor of the cheese enriched with these two probiotic strains appeared more acidic, creamy, buttery, and characterized by a pleasant matrix deconstruction, resulting in a Stracchino-like product. To authors' knowledge, this is the first study in which probiotic cheese production was followed at industrial level, thus fully describing an attractive system for commercial exploitation.