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filler in dog or cat food

March 8th, 2007, 12:18 PM
I think we have be around this explanation before, but I am trying to get clear on what the perception is regarding "filler". I have heard corn is a filler, but it is a carb and protein source. I know pet food companies use the terminology "no filler", but all pet foods have fiber, plant protein and carbs to some extent.
Can anyone shed some light on this?

March 8th, 2007, 12:47 PM
To me, a kibble should be mostly meat. When its loaded with grains, corn, any sort of by-product, to me, those are fillers.

March 8th, 2007, 03:14 PM
Thanks Scott!

March 8th, 2007, 06:36 PM
[Dried] Tomato Pomace & [Dried] Beet Pulp act as both fillers & stool hardeners. Solid Gold added Tomato Pomace to most of their formulas. :frustrated: I won't purchase a kibble that contains either of those two items.

March 8th, 2007, 07:19 PM
Yep. I agree.:D

IMO, filler is anything the dog/cat doesn't use, but jacks up the numbers. Like corn. They don't digest most of the corn, but it hikes up the protein %. But IMO, grains like millet (and others) are better filler than corn or wheat... Millet packs in more nutrition and digestible protein. :shrug:

March 9th, 2007, 10:55 AM
When I recently read on here about problems with keeping grains healthy in the factories, I don't think that I will ever put my two back on food that contains any grain, whether it's healthy ones like millet & whole pearled barley. Even the 'good' ones, I'm leary of now.....:yell:

March 9th, 2007, 11:45 AM
My golden, Bentley, had been on Timberwolf Wild and Natural (grain free) for 5weeks and the changes have been encouraging: less itchy, no hot spots, more energy and a softer coat. I don't plan on ever going back to a formula with grains unless studies show it's beneficial. Another curious plus is that he needed to lose a couple of pounds which seems to be starting to happen. The TO Wild and Natural is very high in calories; so I'm wondering if his body utilizes the higher protein and fat content more efficiently than his old brand of food which had grains and much more carbohydrates.

There seem to be more and more high quality grain free formulas on the market such as Orijen, Innova Evo and Nature's Variety Raw Instinct that I may try some of those in the future. There are enough differences in the analysis and ingredients of them that most people could find one appropriate for their dog if going grain free holds an interest for them.

March 9th, 2007, 12:12 PM

So from what I see here there are two thoughts??? One is the fiber sources being filler, and the other the protein that is used to up the % on label.
So I then have two thoughts, if that fiber source came naturally in another form, ie alfalfa (which has other good stuff) or flax seeds (witch contributes oil and lignins) is that better?
The other thing with boosting the % on label, is that all of the information I can find regarding % digestibility protein and carbohydrate fraction of grains has them at a high level. Granted the amino acid profile is different, but they differ very little. So how does is then become filler????
I appreciate all of the input, trying to understand the terminolgy.

March 9th, 2007, 12:25 PM
If it's filler, it IS fiber. Fiber is anything unsoluble, or undigestible. As corn is mostly undigestible, all it's going to do is move things through (aka fiber).

Proteins are VERY specific. Even if the amino acid content is nearly the same, the shapes are different and the digestive enzymes only recognize one or maybe a couple of different shapes. The rest is undigestible, or digested by accident once in a while. That is why corn is less digestible than meat. The digestive enzymes in a natural carnivore are directed toward meat, not grains and corn. Some dogs can digest them better than others (same with humans and milk, or humans and grain for that matter).

The more digestible the protein within a grain, the better. So with flax, in my experience, the dogs seem to digest it pretty well. The stool doesn't get added volume from it. The oil is digested better (as far as I know, but still not as well as fish oil), but flaxseed oil also breaks down easily on its own. :shrug:

March 9th, 2007, 01:04 PM
Ok so I got the filler=fiber, cause that was where my brain was. On the digestibility end all of the nutrition manuals state that the digestibility of the carbohydrate portion is the same more or less for all grains, and that the % digestibilty for the protein fraction is more or less the same, but that corn is around 87%, and this would be considered on the lower end. This of course is after grinding, as it is expressed in terms of "commercial" pet food.
From my mind meat protein IS where it is at, but in terms of digestibility there seems to very little variablility.

March 9th, 2007, 01:17 PM
It depends who your source is. If it's a dog food company, corn will be higly digestible for dogs. If it's not, corn is around 54% digestible for dogs.:shrug:

March 9th, 2007, 01:47 PM
I got this from the NRC book, and the Canine and Feline Nutrition Case, Carey Hirawaka