Pet Food Palatability
on December 12, 2013

Food palatability and canine obesity

Is there research available that proves the tastier the petfood, the fatter it will make the pet?

Contrary to common consent, there is no published evidence that the addition of palatability enhancers to industrially produced foods increases the risk of obesity development in dogs. However, there is such evidence for added fat, which is both a conditional palatant and a concentrated energy source.

It has been stated frequently that palatable foods promote obesity development in dogs. The statement seems logical. Appetizing foods blunt the response to satiety signals, thus causing overeating. Obesity, which is the most common medical disorder in dogs, arises when food energy intake exceeds energy expenditure. The ubiquitous availability of highly palatable commercial dog foods and prevention of canine obesity ostensibly are on bad terms.

In the extremely competitive petfood market, high palatability is essential for commercial success of an industrially produced dog food. For repeated purchase of a particular food, the dog must immediately accept the food. The dog must also enjoy the food obviously so the owner perceives it. A dog pleased with its food makes his or her owner happy. Palatability may be defined as subjective pleasure associated with consuming a certain food and is determined by the food's taste, texture and odor.

There is a wide variety of palatability enhancers, but details on composition and application are not made public by petfood and palatant manufacturers. It is common knowledge that palatability of a dry dog food formula is enhanced conditionally by the addition of liver-based preparations, fats (especially poultry fat), sucrose or yeast products. Dogs generally prefer canned foods over…

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