The Dish on Digestibility
When it comes to choosing the best food for your dog, you might focus on the ingredient list or scan the guaranteed analysis.
While everything could look great on paper, the next best thing to consider is how those ingredients are digested and what ends up in your lawn. To make sure your dog is getting the nutrients it needs in the right proportions, dig into digestibility.
What is digestibility?
Digestibility reflects how food is broken down, absorbed, and used by your dog’s body. An ingredient list might not paint a clear picture of ingredient quality or processing, so products with very similar ingredients can have very different digestibilities.
Overall, pet food digestibility is increased by the inclusion of high-quality ingredients. For example, digestibility is decreased when a recipe includes poor quality protein, high amounts of ash, certain types of dietary fiber and phylate (a component of plant ingredients that decreases the availability of certain essential minerals in the diet). Because a highly digestible food provides a higher proportion of absorbed nutrients than a less digestible food, digestibility provides a key indicator of a food’s nutritional value and quality. In general, as the quality of ingredients in the food increases, so will the food’s digestibility and nutrient bioavailability.
Why does it matter?
Digestibility not only impacts stool quantity and quality (how much your dog poops and how the poop looks and smells), flatulence (you know what we mean), but most importantly, a dog’s long-term health and wellness. Better digestibility = higher absorption of nutrients = healthier dogs.
Generally, a highly digestible food will result in a normal amount of firm, well-formed stool in an otherwise healthy dog. The more digestible the food, the less waste and less bathroom breaks. Digestibility ultimately affects your dog’s long-term health and well-being. If you’re paying the price for premium food, you want to make sure your dog is actually able to utilize the nutrients included.
What has Jinx done to measure this?
While pet food brands aren’t required to test or publish the digestibility results of their food, we think it’s important for pet parents to get the information they need to make better nutritional decisions. At Jinx, we conduct independent feeding studies to measure the digestibility of our kibble recipes before they ever make it to your dog’s bowl.
When digging into the results, total digestibility is the most important. Foods with overall digestibility scores at or above 85% are considered best-in-class and well-digested by most healthy dogs. Your dog’s diet shouldn’t be 100% digestible because it also needs indigestible components like fiber. Fiber is necessary for GI passage support and normalizing the gut environment. Calorie sources like protein and fat should all be highly digestible.
If your dog has a known dietary intolerance, this may also impact how they digest their meals. If you notice they experience larger or softer than normal stool, you can try switching to a different protein or carb source to see what works best for them. We cooked up three new recipes that feature a host of diversified protein and carb sources in balanced proportions to cater to your modern dog.