Interpretive Summary: Evaluation of faba beans as an ingredient in dog diets: apparent total tract digestibility of extruded diets with graded levels of dehulled faba beans (Vicia faba L.) by dogs
By: Anne Wallace
Pet foods with health benefit claims from novel food ingredients may have the potential to sell better than standard pet foods. The addition of novel ingredients like tapioca or chickpeas, for instance, may boost nutritional content or add phytochemicals and antioxidants. Faba beans (FB) are a novel legume ingredient with the potential to enhance health claims and the marketability of pet foods. However, FB in companion animal food is not well investigated.
This Journal of Animal Science study (April 2020) evaluated the potential health effects of adding dehulled FB to the diets of dogs. Weight, apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD), stool quality, and blood counts were evaluated in 12 beagles fed one of four diets: no FB (the control diet), or 10%, 20%, or 30% FB.
There were no noted differences in the overall health, weights, blood values and fecal scores of all dogs in this study. However, the frequency and softness of stools were increased with a greater percentage of FB in the diet, especially more notable after 20%. Dogs fed no fava beans also had a higher ATTD for crude protein, dry matter and organic matter.
Overall, the results of this study suggest that FB may have the potential to become a novel ingredient in dog food. The authors recommend the diet have no more than 20% FB due to increased stool frequency. This does, however, bring up the question of whether adding FB to dog food may give it potential marketability as an ingredient to benefit dogs with constipation or overly firm stools. The ability of FB to potentially increase the frequency and softness of stools would be an area of interest for further investigation. Larger studies looking at the health impacts of FB in dog food is warranted to better explore the findings of this study.