Use of Fresh Meats in Pet Food: Digestibility and Pet Food

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.