Champion Petfoods is committed to nourishing your beloved pet as Mother Nature intended. Food digestibility is important for your dog or cats health and wellbeing. The recipe, ingredient quality and preparation all play an integral role in the final digestibility of kibble – as well as the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals. The high-quality ingredients, high fresh meat content and unique cooking process in all our ORIJEN and ACANA diets ensures that our Biologically Appropriate™ foods are digestible for your cats and dogs.


It is widely understood that the cooking method has a significant impact on the digestibility of different pet food ingredients, even those originating from the same animal (Swanson et al, 2017).

Not all heat treatment is equal. Some meat meals undergo a statutory requirement of 133 degrees for 20 minutes, but this is a single method of processing and does not reflect all types of heat treatment.

Cooking and heat treatment reduce protein digestibility due to denaturation of protein. However, to maintain natural protein structure, Champion Petfoods uses low-temperature processing for many of our custom dried meat ingredients, as well as lowtemperature extrusion. Unlike conventional pet foods, our unique extrusion technique features a custom steam-injection system and gentle cooking process, preserving the nutritional integrity of the meat and other ingredients (Table 1.0).


The use of fresh and raw meats in ORIJEN and ACANA dog and cat foods is one way Champion Petfoods sets itself apart in the industry. Traditional pet foods use little to no fresh meat; instead, they use conventional high-temperature rendered meat meals to achieve the desired protein level and animal-ingredient target. Unmatched by any other dog or cat foods, ORIJEN and ACANA’s Fresh Regional Ingredients rival Mother Nature, supplying nutrients in their freshest, most natural and nourishing form. Like your dog or cat would find in nature, all our foods (except our single animal protein diets) feature a variety of meats. This variety is lost in conventional dog and cat foods, which often feature a highly processed single

animal ingredient, such as chicken or lamb, which is seldom fresh. High heat processing in these foods denatures the naturally occurring proteins, making the digestibility of conventional meat meals less than that of fresh or minimally processed meat ingredients (Swanson et al, 2017).

Based on the values represented in Table 2.0, one can see that the total digestibility of Champion Petfoods’ kibble exceeds that of all processed and unprocessed meat ingredients from Table 1.0.


Table 1.0- Adapted from Swanson et al, 2017. Shows the digestibility of different ingredients based on their processing method. All values are approximate. Steaming increases digestibility of raw chicken due to the breakdown of connective tissues. Total protein digestibility is not reported; individual amino acid digestibility is reported on the poster, not transcribed above.

Table 2.0- Digestibility of various NorthStar® and DogStar® ORIJEN and ACANA diets. All fall within extremely close range of one another.

Brief: Some people claim that today’s dogs bear little genetic resemblance to their ancestors, and therefore don’t require their ancestors’ diet. However, the science behind our foods rests on a large body of research with a clear conclusion: modern dogs are overwhelmingly similar to their ancestors, and should be fed as such. In this bulletin, we’ll look at starch-digestibility studies and reinforce the necessity of a Biologically Appropriate diet for dogs.

Brief: As the maker of ORIJEN and ACANA dog and cat foods, Champion developed this paper to: discuss the source of heavy metals in pet foods;publish the maximum tolerable limits (MTLs) for dogs and cats; and discuss the results in comparison to animal health to help bring clarity and restore confidence.

Brief: Starting with a review of the eating anatomy of dogs and cats, and their evolutionary adaptation to meat and protein based diets, Champion’s White Paper provides and in-depth explanation of the Biologically Appropriate nutritional philosophy. The White Paper also covers the history of commercial pet foods, and explains how conventional dog and cat foods came to be and why they continue to use commodity ingredients and produce carbohydrate based foods. The document concludes by reviewing the many pet food myths that consumers face in choosing a suitable food for their dogs and cats.

Brief: This paper compares the serum biochemistries of wild gray wolves eating a natural diet and captive gray wolves eating a traditional “dog food” diet. This study demonstrates that nutrition, activity level and environment have a significant effect on serum biochemical values and should be accounted for when interpreting blood analysis results.

Brief: This review looks at the effects of dietary protein concentration on various mammalian species, with a focus on companion animals and the rat. This review presents numerous studies which validate that protein does not progress renal injury in dogs and rats are not an appropriate model for assessment of kidney function in the dog. The review also demonstrates that restricting protein in senior dogs does not have a protective effect against chronic renal disease.

Brief: This article reviews the growth and development of Great Dane puppies fed various levels of protein. It found that protein intake had no effect on calcium metabolism and improper skeletal development in growing large breed puppies. Improper bone formation was distributed evenly between low and high protein groups suggesting that genetics and mineral composition of the diet has more of an influence on skeletal development in large breed dogs.

Brief: This study examines the effects of high protein diets on fat loss in cats. It found that obese cats fed a diet high in protein had greater fat loss than cats fed a diet with 30% protein. Cats fed a high protein diet were also able to maintain their lean body mass, which has been shown to lessen the risk of weight rebound.

Brief: A review of the evidence regarding the safety of dietary protein in dogs. This review concludes that protein does not adversely affect kidney function and that protein restriction in senior animals is unnecessary and can be detrimental to the health of the animal.

Brief: This study evaluates the effect of dietary protein content on renal parameters in 23 healthy spayed female cats. The objective was to determine if cats eating diets high in protein will have higher serum urea nitrogen (UN) and creatinine values without a detectable change in kidney function, as assessed by urinalysis. A single random cross-over design was used.

Brief: This review addresses the myths and fallacies surrounding high protein diets and kidney failure in dogs. Results from several experimental studies on dogs that have failed to provide evidence of the benefit of reduced protein intake on renal function are reported.

Brief: Taurine is an amino acid which can only be found in animal protein. It can be synthesised in dogs from the precursor amino acids cysteine and methionine. It is not present in vegetarian protein sources such as grains and/or legumes. ACANA Lamb & Apple Singles formula uses FRESH and RAW lamb meat as the first ingredient and contains WholePrey ratios of meat, organs and cartilage. Of the 27 percent protein in the ACANA Singles foods, more than 85 percent comes directly from the meat and organ inclusions, which are rich in taurine.