Feather meal as an ingredient in hypoallergenic dog food
An allergic reaction occurs when the body has a defence reaction to some protein structures. There is a large amount of various proteins in the raw materials of dog food. Sometimes the body begins to mistakenly recognise some plant or animal proteins as potentially harmful, and antibodies begin to form against them. Such an allergic reaction can arise from very different raw materials of dog food. Chicken meat has relatively low allergenic potential compared to, for example, beef, but it can sometimes also cause allergy, as it is an ingredient widely used in dog foods. To solve this problem, special products have been created for the dog food market using alternative sources of protein, such as duck.
As mentioned, some protein structures can trigger allergies. For many dog foods, the solution is protein cleavage, i.e. hydrolysis. Protein hydrolysis causes them to lose their characteristic shape, no longer provoking reactions of the immune system. The downside of cleavage may be a decrease in palatability, so hydrolysation into pieces too small can also pose its own challenges to recipes.
Could Honkajoki’s new feather meal be a solution to the increasing problem of allergies and atopy in dogs and cats? The size of feather meal proteins has been reduced physically for good digestibility, and their size is likely to be good as to palatability. It is still too early to say whether this hydrolysed protein could be used in prescription dog foods, but could a feather meal-based dog food maybe be one of the alternative protein sources available on the shelf? This product is probably not for everyone, but it certainly cannot be accused of not being a responsible protein alternative. The protein in feather meal is highly digestible and it does not compete with human nutrition, which means it does not take up any extra arable area. Would you buy responsibly produced circular dog food?
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Read more: Honkajoki – Feather Meal