Determining the protocol requirements of in-home dog food digestibility testing

E. Bos*, W.H. Hendriks, B. Beerda, G. Bosch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In-home pet food testing has the benefit of yielding data which is directly applicable to the pet population. Validated and standardised in-home test protocols need to be available and here we investigated key protocol requirements for an in-home canine food digestibility protocol. Participants were recruited via an online survey. After meeting specific inclusion criteria, 60 dogs of various breeds and ages received during 14 consecutive days, a relatively low and high digestible complete dry extruded food containing titanium (Ti) dioxide. Both foods were given for seven days in a cross-over design. Owners collected faeces daily allowing daily faecal Ti concentrations and digestibility of nitrogen (N), dry matter, crude ash, organic matter, crude fat (Cfat), starch and gross energy to be determined. Faecal Ti and digestibility values for all nutrients were not different (P>0.05) from the second day onwards after first consumption for both foods. One day of faecal collection yielded reliable digestibility values with additional collection days not reducing the confidence interval around the mean. Depending on the accepted margin of error, the food and the nutrient of interest, the minimal required sample size was between 9-43 dogs. Variation in digestibility values could in part be explained by a dog's neuter status (N, crude ash) and age (crude ash, Cfat), but not sex and body size. Future studies should focus on further identifying and controlling sources of variation to improve the in-home digestibility protocol and reduce the number of dogs required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-173
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Early online date28 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2023


  • Adaptation
  • Faecal collection
  • In-home test
  • Protocol requirements
  • Sample size


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