Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Animal Science


Animal Science

First Advisor

Mariana . Rossoni Serao


Consumers are becoming more aware of how to nutritionally provide for their pets which is leading to the demand for new pet foods such as the use of less processed diets and sustainable protein sources. Pet foods may be formulated with decreased starch to meet consumer demands for less processed diets. Fats and oils may be added to low starch diets to meet energy requirements, but little is known about its effects on canine health. The study objective was to evaluate the effects of feeding healthy adult dogs low carbohydrate, high-fat diets on apparent total tract digestibility, fecal characteristics, and overall health status. Eight adult Beagles were enrolled in a replicated 4x4 Latin Square design feeding trial. Dogs were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 dietary fat level treatments (T) within each period: 32% (T1), 37% (T2), 42% (T3), and 47% (T4) fat on a dry matter basis. Fat levels were adjusted with inclusion of canola oil added to a commercial diet. Each dog was fed to exceed their energy requirement based on NRC (2006). Blood samples were analyzed for complete blood counts, chemistry profiles, and canine pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity levels. Apparent total tract digestibility improved (P < 0.05) as the fat level increased for dry matter, organic matter, fat, and gross energy. Fecal output decreased as levels of fat increased in the diet (P = 0.002). There was no effect of fat level on stool quality or short chain fatty acid and ammonia concentrations in fecal samples (P ≥ 0.20). Blood urea nitrogen levels decreased with increased fat level (P = 0.035). No significant differences were seen in canine pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity (P = 0.110). All blood parameters remained within normal reference intervals. In summary, increased dietary fat improved apparent total tract digestibility, did not alter fecal characteristics, and maintained the health status of all dogs. Fecal samples were also collected from this study for microbial analysis. When comparing entire bacterial communities of treatment groups using PERMANOVA, no significant differences were observed among treatments (P = 0.681). However, when comparing the 100 most abundant individual OTUs, 36 showed significant differences in abundances between treatment groups. Overall, OTUs assigned to genera related to fat digestion increased while OTUs assigned to genera involved in carbohydrate digestion decreased. In conclusion, the microbial community adapted to dietary intervention without jeopardizing the health of the animals.

Insects may meet the consumer demand for a more sustainable high-quality protein source for pet foods. However, little research has been done investigating the use of this source in pet foods. The study objective was to evaluate the apparent digestibility and possible health effects of diets containing graded levels of cricket powder fed to healthy adult dogs. Thirty-two adult Beagles were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 dietary treatments: 0%, 8%, 16%, or 24% cricket powder. Dogs were fed their respective diet for a total of 29 days with a 6-d collection phase. Fecal samples were collected to measure total fecal output as well as apparent digestibility for dry matter, organic matter, crude protein, fat, total dietary fiber, and gross energy. Blood samples were taken prior to the study and on d 29 for hematology and chemistry profiles. Total fecal output increased on both an as-is (P = 0.030) and dry matter basis (P = 0.024). The apparent digestibility of each nutrient on a dry matter basis decreased (P < 0.001) with the increasing level of cricket powder inclusion. All blood values remained within desired reference intervals indicating healthy dogs. Slight fluctuations in blood urea nitrogen (P = 0.037) and hemoglobin (P = 0.044) levels were observed but were not considered of biological significance. Even with the decrease in digestibility with the inclusion of cricket powder, diets remained highly digestible at greater than 80% total apparent digestibility. In conclusion, crickets were demonstrated to be an acceptable source of protein for dogs.

Copyright Owner

Logan Kilburn



File Format


File Size

119 pages