BACKGROUND: Rice is one of the most commonly used cereal grains in pet foods. However, other cereals such as pearl millet, sorghum and maize have good amino acid profiles and could be used as alternatives to rice in the diet of dogs, thus sparing rice for human consumption. The aim of this study was to evaluate the nutritional worth of these cereals for pet dogs.
RESULTS: Eight adult Spitz dogs (age ∼10 months, average body weight 6.14 ± 0.58 kg) were used in a 4 × 4 replicated Latin square design to compare the effects of dietary inclusion of four cereals, namely rice, maize, pearl millet and sorghum, on digestibility and hindgut fermentation characteristics. The digestibility of dry matter (DM) was significantly (P < 0.01) reduced when rice was replaced by the alternative cereals. Additionally, the digestibilities of protein, fat and total dietary fibre decreased (P < 0.01) in dogs fed the pearl millet-based diet. The DM voided in faeces increased (P < 0.05) when rice was replaced by the alternative cereals. Faecal ammonia concentration was higher (P < 0.05) on the rice-based diet, while faecal lactate concentration was reduced (P < 0.01) on the pearl millet- and sorghum-based diets.
CONCLUSION: The results suggest that maize, pearl millet and sorghum are not as effectively utilised as rice as cereal source in the diet of dogs. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry