Research shows dogs prefer to eat fat, and cats surprisingly tend toward carbs

phys.org | 6/5/2018 | Staff
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Dogs gravitate toward high-fat food, but cats pounce on carbohydrates with even greater enthusiasm, according to research into the dietary habits of America's two most popular pets.

The study sheds new light on optimal nutrition for the animals and refutes a common notion that cats want and need a protein-heavy regimen.

Findings - Month - Journal - Experimental - Biology

Findings were published this month in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

"The numbers were much different than what traditional thinking would have expected," said the study's corresponding author, Jean Hall, a professor in the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University. "Some experts have thought cats need diets that are 40 or 50 percent protein. Our findings are quite different than the numbers used in marketing and are going to really challenge the pet food industry."

Proteins - Number - Functions - Blood - Clotting

Dietary proteins contribute to a number of important physiological functions such as blood clotting, production of hormones and enzymes, vision and cell repair. Protein also has the most power to make the eater feel satiated; carbohydrates are No. 2 in that regard, followed by fat.

Hall's research involved monitoring 17 healthy adult dogs and 27 cats over 28 days and used four types of food that were designed to taste equally good; with flavor out of the equation, the animals could make macronutrient choices based only on what their bodies were telling them they needed.

Studies - Palatability - Foods - Cats - Fact

"Previous studies have shown that if you don't balance palatability between foods, cats do in fact prefer to eat very high levels of protein and dogs want to eat a lot of fat," Hall said. "When you balance palatability, both dogs and cats prefer significantly different macronutrient content than what they would choose based on taste."

The animals studied by Hall and her collaborators could choose among high-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-protein and balanced foods. Each day, dogs had an hour to eat all they...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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