Scientists cook up pea-based dog food

Beagles eating pet food

Photo: U of S Communications.

University of Saskatchewan researchers who are cooking up new ways to enhance the health benefits of peas in dry dog food have received more than $107,000 in research support from Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).

Dr. Lynn Weber of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Murray Drew of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources are co-investigators on the project that will explore the benefits of altering conditions such as temperature and particle size during the processing of dog food.

The study is actually an extension of Weber’s earlier research – now in its final phase – which has confirmed that peas have the lowest glycemic index when compared to other carbohydrates like corn or rice that are commonly found in dog food. (see the Autumn 2009 issue of Vet Topics).

The glycemic index (GI) classifies carbohydrates according to how fast they raise blood glucose levels. Low glycemic foods, which contain starch that digests slowly, cause only mild fluctuations in the body’s blood glucose and insulin levels and are proven to be beneficial for controlling weight and reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

“With this project we plan to refine the conditions we use in producing the dog food so that we can retain or even enhance the health benefits of peas,” explains Weber, an assistant professor in the WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences. “Using that information, we will likely go back and confirm that we can improve upon the health benefits of the test pea-based diet from the original project.”



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