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Pet Food Ingredients
on January 9, 2017

Soybean hulls: filler or quality fiber source for dogs and cats?

Soybean hulls are a good source of insoluble fiber and cellulose for the dog and cat diet.

High-fiber ingredients are often added to pet foods for the benefit of the animal. However, there seems to be some confusion about these fiber sources regarding their value to the animal versus potential profit to the manufacturer and whether or not they may be cheating the consumer. Many of the well-intentioned “experts” or bloggers online criticize the fiber ingredients that nutritionists have to work with by calling them “fillers” (e.g., beet pulp, rice bran, wheat bran, tomato pomace, etc.). However, this may short-change the animal if pet owners select against these ingredients because of misleading information.

One of these fibers is soybean hulls. It is more often found in “mainstream brands” of pet foods. Similar to the other fiber sources, it is often called a cheap filler, but also gets accused of being an allergen, a by-product and part of the “NO-list” ingredients we see on many pet food promotional banners. True this ingredient is inexpensive, derived from soybeans and often fed to livestock, but it also has other uses — most notably, it can be a quality fiber source in a well-balanced dog or cat food.

What are soybean hulls?

Soybean hulls are a co-product stream of the soybean oil and soy protein (soybean meal, soy protein isolate and tofu) industry. Once they arrive at the crushing plant where the oil is separated from the seed, they are screened to remove foreign material and broken or undersized beans. Then, they are ground or cracked (crushed) and the hulls…

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