Feeding “Acid Washed” Pet Foods

by in Frontpage Article May 15, 2018

Some veterinary “prescription” diets utilize ‘hydrolyzed protein’.   In the old days one would have seen the term used to describe a feed ingredient that was not very desirable from a nutritional standpoint made better.    For example, hydrolyzed feather meal.     Chicken feathers.   Boiled in hydrochloric acid and then neutralized with sodium hydroxide it takes the protein and breaks it down into amino acids thus making a very poorly digestible nutrient somewhat more biologically available.     This was at one time a common practice in the beef feedlot industry for making less expensive cattle feed.   The prescription pet food people have adopted the basic practice to other feed ingredients as well.    The idea is that by breaking a protein down into amino acids before feeding it to your pet it might help address some health issues.

Here is one example of an actual ingredient list of such a product (Royal Canin):

Brewers rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fat, dried plain beet pulp, natural flavors, monocalcium phosphate, sodium silico aluminate, vegetable oil, calcium carbonate, fish oil, fructooligosaccharides, potassium chloride, L-tyrosine, salt, taurine, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), inositol, niacin supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), D-calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], choline chloride, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), trace minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid.


Here is one from Hills:

Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Chicken Liver, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Glyceryl Monostearate, Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), DL-Methionine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene.

The theory is that a pet that is allergic to chicken might not react as badly to a chicken based feed ingredient if it is hydrolyzed and thus broken down further.    Your dog’s system may not recognize it as chicken and therefore not react as badly.     In the above example they use hydrolyzed chicken liver.   The RC diet shown in the first example uses soy protein….not usually a recommended protein for dogs.      And look at the first ingredient listed….brewers rice and corn starch.   Ugh.

This may have some application for pets with Inflammatory Bowel disease as well.   So typically a pet with a malabsorption disorder or food allergies/sensitivities may tolerate a hydrolyzed protein formula better.

However, we prefer to work with higher quality protein sources and attempt to find a protein source that your pet does not react negatively to.    We have protein sources from chicken, beef, pork, venison, turkey, duck, kangaroo, salmon, lamb, mackerel and others.

Wouldn’t you rather feed a high quality single source protein rather than acid washed low quality foodstuff?  Ask how we can help!