I don't know how it goes around your house, but I'm constantly getting "the look" from my family for occasionally (okay, maybe the word I should have used is "constantly") feeding our dogs a few things from the dinner table.

In my defense, I only toss them foods that are good for them. Well, almost always. I feed them things like carrots, apples, green beans, strawberries, blueberries, etc. Now, thanks to a recently-published study from the University of Illinois, and sent to me by my wife Amy, I feel somewhat vindicated.

If you're someone who's always had the mindset of people eat people food and dogs eat dog food, the U of I study is somewhat of an eye-opener. After testing 4 different diets for dogs, the study's authors discovered that not only is human-grade food digestible for dogs, but it's actually more digestible than many dog foods. If you're wondering how they know that, the authors point out that "that means less poop to scoop. Up to 66% less."

Having two Weimaraners who weigh 60 and 110 pounds respectively, the idea of having two-thirds less dog poop to pick up out of the yard is almost too good to be true. We pick up their droppings on a "when it happens" basis, so I've got to think that those folks who only do it once or twice a year would be even more thrilled to see that workload lessened by 66%.

The University of Illinois researchers tested refrigerated and fresh human-grade foods against kibble, which is what most dogs in the U.S. are fed on a daily basis. BigThink.com reports that the 4 diet choices, fed to 12 beagles over a month-long span were:

  • an extruded diet:  Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
  • a fresh refrigerated diet: Freshpet Roasted Meals Tender Chicken Recipe
  • a fresh diet: JustFoodforDogs Beef & Russet Potato Recipe
  • another fresh diet: JustFoodforDogs Chicken & White Rice Recipe.

Two things stand out when looking over the study's results. One is that researchers say dogs "fed the extruded diet had to eat more to maintain their body weight, and produced 1.5 to 2.9 times as much poop as any of the fresh diets."  The other being that the fresh food consumption resulted in better gut health for the dogs.

U of I Professor Kelly Swanson:

Based on past research we’ve conducted I’m not surprised with the results when feeding human-grade compared to an extruded dry diet. However, I did not expect to see how well the human-grade fresh food performed, even compared to a fresh commercial processed brand.



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