Effect of grains on satiety in dogs : investigated using a behavioural approach
Abstract: High-quality foods have become abundant for our pet animals and with that, obesity has become a major threat to the health and welfare of our companion dogs. The use of dietary fibres in animal feeds to prolong satiety is well discussed in the literature for several species, but scarce when it comes to dogs. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of different grains on behavioural indicators of satiety in dogs. It was hypothesised that satiety would decrease with time post-meal consumption, and that wheat would be the least satiating grain. Eleven privately owned dogs received three diets: a wheat based diet, an oat based diet and a rye based diet, in three periods in a cross-over design and a random order. The feeds were formulated to be as similar as possible in composition and energy content. At 15 min, 3 h and 6 h post-meal consumption feeding motivation was assessed in a runway test, where dogs should run through a short track to find a small food reward at the end. At 15 min and 6 h post-meal consumption attention bias towards a food-related cue was assessed by placing the dogs own bowl and their favourite toy at a distance from the dog and then setting it free for 60 seconds. The results from the runway showed that dogs reduced the latency to reach the food reward with time post-meal consumption, showing that we indeed measured satiety in the runway test. Dogs on the wheat diet generally had a higher feeding motivation than dogs on either of the other diets, with no difference between the rye and oats diet. Dogs got quicker to approach the bowl at 6 h compared to 15 min post-meal consumption in the attention bias test. Although not significant, the dogs showed a pattern of being more likely to choose the bowl at 6 hours compared to 15 minutes post-meal consumption that was in line with the hypothesised outcome. Diet had mixed effects in the attention bias test but with no clear pattern. In conclusion, dogs became more feeding motivated with time and the wheat diet was less satiating across time and test days. The rye and oat diet both seem equally satiating. Therefore, including these grains in commercial dog foods may promote satiety and therefore may help combat obesity. There is, however, still a need of further research into the effect of long-term intake of specific dietary fibres on the microbiota and subsequent satiety and health effects, to promote welfare in our four-legged canine companions.
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