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What is Digestibility in Pet Food? A Quick Guide to the Basics

Dr. Danielle Bernal

By Dr. Danielle Bernal
1/25/2021

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Digestion impacts your pet’s day-to-day life immensely. As pet parents, feeding your pet a food that is not just yummy, but also nutritious, is key to their wellbeing. If high digestibility is included in that, you’ve got a winning combo. It’s important to feed them the right recipes so they can benefit from healthy skin, a lustrous coat, sustained energy levels and more. After all, their wellbeing starts from within.

Let’s Define Digestibility

Digestibility refers to the process of digestion where large, complex food molecules of many nutrients are broken down into their simplest forms so that nutrient absorption and their use by the body can take place. When it comes specifically to pet food, the digestibility of a recipe is referring to the percentage of the food or nutrients that are completely digested, used, or absorbed by the dog or cat.

Beginning in the mouth, the process of digestion begins with pet chewing their food and its mixture with saliva. Digestion then continues throughout the gastrointestinal system with the mixing, and movement of food before ending with the excretion of waste products and undigested food particles in the feces.

The digestibility of a recipe will not only impact the size and quality of your pet’s stools, but it can also impact your pet’s tendency to clear a room with their flatulence as well as more importantly support their overall health and long-term wellbeing.

Classifying Digestibility: High vs. Poor

When it comes to comparing the digestibility of one recipe to another, veterinarians and animal nutritionists use a percentage result that reflects the amount of food that the dog can absorb into his or her body during the process of digestion. Numerous factors such as the total fiber amount, the quality of the ingredients and the overall composition of the recipe can either lower or increase the finished product’s digestibility results.

While all complete and balanced recipes are formulated contains all the nutrients a dog needs for health and wellbeing, knowing the total digestibility of the recipe is another key detail that helps you determine the quality of the food you are feeding your dog.

The Whole Dog Journal’s article on Dog Food Digestibility Matters highlights how the results of differing brands and how recipes can vary when assessed in a lab test. The article further states, “As a rule of thumb, dry dog foods with digestibility values of 75 percent or less will be of very poor quality, those with values between 75 and 82 percent are classified as moderate in quality, and foods with digestibility values that are higher than 82 percent are of high quality. If you see products with 88 percent or more reported digestibility, you have a rock star."

Introducing Wellness CORE Digestive Health

Highly digestible nutrition means your pet can truly get the most out of their food as majority of all nutrients in that recipe are available for the dog or cat to absorb and use within their body. For you, this is your way of knowing that you have chosen to feed a diet of the highest nutritional value and quality.

Knowing the importance of delivering the highest quality nutrition to optimize digestibility, Wellness CORE is now launching Wellness CORE Digestive Health. Through detailed nutritional analysis, the Wellness CORE Digestive Health Dry Dog recipes have been shown to exceed expectations and deliver highly digestible recipes across the entire dog portfolio or, as Whole Dog Journal put it, delivering rock star digestibility results for your dog:

Recipe Digestibility*

Wellness CORE Digestive Health
Whitefish & Brown Rice

88%

Wellness CORE Digestive Health
Chicken & Brown Rice

89%

Wellness CORE Digestive Health
Small Breed Chicken & Brown Rice

88%

*WellPet Data on File 2020. Total Dry Matter Digestibility.

Digestive health is the key to unlocking your pet’s happiness, and it starts with what is in their bowl. With highly digestible recipes, Wellness CORE Digestive Health promotes optimal nutrient absorption while optimizing a healthy digestive tract because with Wellness, a lifetime of wellbeing starts from within.

About This Page

Pet Type:

Cat Dog

Topic:

Health & Nutrition Diet

Date:

1/25/2021

Author:

Dr. Danielle Bernal
Dr. Danielle Bernal

Dr. Bernal has over a decade of experience in veterinary medicine, specializing in animal nutrition. In her role as on-staff veterinarian with Wellness Pet Food, she educates pet parents on the importance of natural ingredients like wholesome meats and nutrient-rich superfoods. She passionately believes that proper nutrition helps pets lead happier, healthier lives. Dr. Bernal has been featured in radio, TV and print stories in numerous countries.

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