Ancient grains as novel dietary carbohydrate sources in canine diets

Zachary T. Traughber, Fei He, Jolene M. Hoke, Gary M. Davenport, Sandra L. Rodriguez-Zas, Bruce R. Southey, Maria R.C. De Godoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ancient grains are becoming an increasingly abundant carbohydrate source in the pet food market as a result of their popularity and novelty in the human market. Thus, it is imperative to evaluate the characteristics of these ingredients in vivo. Ten adult intact female beagles were used in a replicated 5 × 5 Latin square design. Five dietary treatments were evaluated containing either: rice (CON), amaranth (AM), white proso millet (WPM), quinoa (QU), or oat groats (OG). All diets were formulated to include 40% of the test grain and to be isonitrogenous, isocaloric, and nutritionally complete and balanced for adult dogs at maintenance. The objectives were 1) to evaluate the effects of the novel carbohydrate sources on total apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD), fecal microbiota, and fermentative end-product concentrations and 2) to evaluate the effects of novel carbohydrate sources on the postprandial glycemic and insulinemic responses in healthy adult dogs. All diets were well accepted by the dogs and fecal scores remained within the ideal range for all treatments. In terms of ATTD, all diets were well digested by the dogs; WPM had the highest digestibility of dry and organic matter in contrast with dogs fed the other treatments (P < 0.05). Additionally, ATTD of total dietary fiber was highest for WPM (72.6%) in contrast with QU (63.5%) and CON (50.8%) but did not differ from AM (65.7%) and OG (66.6%). Dogs fed AM or OG had greater (P < 0.05) fecal concentrations of total short-chain fatty acids, as well as propionate and butyrate concentrations, than CON. Ancient grain inclusion appears to beneficially shift fecal microbial populations, with increases in relative abundances of butyrogenic bacteria (i.e., members of the Lachnospiraceae family) observed for OG and reductions in Fusobacteriaceae for both AM and OG when compared with CON. Postprandial glycemic and insulinemic responses did not differ among treatments. Together, these data suggest that ancient grains can be included up to 40% of the diet while eliciting beneficial effects on the overall host health without detrimentally affecting nutrient digestibility. c The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskab080
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • ancient grains
  • digestibility
  • dog
  • microbiome
  • post-prandial response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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