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What does "high-digestibility" means ?

Digestibility represents the amount of food "assimilated" by the body, i.e that cannot be found in the stools. The amount of energy and nutrients available for the animal depends from the digestibility level.

It can be measured according two differents ways:

  • under real conditions: collecting and analyzing the stools in order to compare these analysis to the quantity and the composition of the food consumed ; this is the way Royal Canin controls the digestibility of the finished products everyday .
  • in laboratory: making specific enzymes acting on the food, to mimic the natural digestion. These methods are used by Royal Canin to evaluate the digestibility of the ingredients, mainly from animal origin.

It is then possible to evaluate the global digestibility of the product: digestibility of dry matter, digestibility of proteins, fats… A good digestibility is something essential for the health and the well-being of the animals: it allows to:

  • avoid nutritional deficiencies due to poor assimilation,
  • it also prevents from some digestive troubles.

Actually, when undigested substances arrive into the large intestine (colon), they stimulate the activity of the intestinal flora. By-products from fermentation are then capable to increase the water intestinal retention, that increases the water content of the stools. They can also produce irritative or even toxic substances. When maldigestion becomes obvious, we can observe flatulences and diarrhea.

Three factors are important to get a good digestibility.

  • Choosing the right ingredients: purified cereals meals, animal proteins non denaturated by the thermic treatment…
  • Adequate nutritional formulation: reduction of the fiber and the ash content that are harmful towards the digestibility.
  • Cooking parameters: too long and/or to high temperature of cooking have a negative effect on digestibility, especialy concerning proteins.

Examples of digestibility results
(dDM = digestibility of Dry Matter)

  • “ Superpremium product ”: dDM __85 % For 100 g of DM consumed, 85 g is digested and 15 g excreted. The stools contain about 70 % moisture, that leads to the final excretion of:
    50 g of stools for 100 g of DM ingested (15 g DM + 35 g moisture).
  • “ Premium product ”: dDM _ 80 % In general, a decrease of the digestibility goes with an increase of the moisture content of the stools. About 75 % of moisture must be added to the undigested DM:
    80 g of stools for 100 g of DM ingested (20 g DM + 60 g moisture).
  • Standard product: dDM _ 75 % For 100 g of DM consumed, 75 g is digested and 25 g excreted. The stools contain about 75 % moisture, that leads to the final excretion of:
    100 g of stools for 100 g of DM ingested (25 g DM + 75 g moisture). The volume of stools doubles, when the digestibility drops of 10 points.
  • Economical product: dDM _ 65 % For 100 g of DM consumed, 65g is digested, and 35 g excreted, that leads to:
    140 g of stools for 100 g of DM ingested (35 g DM + 105 g moisture).

The results of a high digestibility product will be enhanced if the owner / breeder follows a few simple rules:

  • choose a product adapted to the age and the environment of the animal, - respect the daily feeding quantities, and avoid overfeeding
  • fractionate the daily ration into several meals, in case of intense energetic requirements: reproductive females, growing puppies/kittens…


High digestibility products allow the animal to draw a maximal profit from his food: reduced volumes of stools are only a consequence of the searched effect. But the digestibility remains an important element to take into account for the environment, whatever it is: kennel, cattery or urban environment ; the reduction of stools volumes lightens the cleaning work. Let's remember that the city of Paris alone has to collect about 10 tons of canine dejections every day, for an annual cost of 42 millions FF !

Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website

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