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There are many factors for the success of a pet food, including formula and raw material quality, production and technology, diversified channel marketing, etc., and the acceptance of this product by dogs and cats, that is, palatability, is the basis for many success factors.

Animal palatability testing is an important part of evaluating the palatability of pet food. However, the test methods, test samples, test environments and data processing methods we choose will cause great deviations in the test results. Therefore, when we conduct animal palatability tests, we mainly focus on avoiding the interference of external factors and controlling deviations as much as possible. We need to realize that deviation control is the guarantee of the reliability of the results, and to be able to control the deviation, we can introduce new test methods or combine different methods to ensure the consistency of the results.

1.The choice of test method

There are many methods of palatability testing, which can be divided into two categories: non-feeding tests and feeding tests.

The non-feeding test is to judge the palatability of pet food by observing the response of dogs and cats to specific instruments. For example, Kitchell and others have done the pupil response test of dogs and cats, or by measuring the feeding speed of pet food and the time of feeding. The facial expressions of pet food support the palatability of pet food. The non-feeding test has achieved some theoretical research results, but in the actual palatability test, due to the limited application of various objective factors, it can only be used as the corroboration of the feeding test.

The food intake test is a commonly used method at present. The main indicator of the test is the food intake, among which the single-plate and double-plate tests are mainly used. In particular, the double-pan test can intuitively and clearly identify two pet foods with different palatability, so the double-pan test has also become a classic method of palatability testing.

2.The choice of test site
Pet food palatability testing sites include animal breeding bases, family pets, and professional palatability testing centers. These three types of sites have their own advantages and disadvantages.

(1) Animal breeding base

The advantage of the animal breeding base is that the sample size is large, and there are many test dogs and cats to choose from. However, the shortcomings of animal breeding bases are also very clear. There is a single species. Most of the dogs and cats raised are used for breeding or medical experiments. The rotation of dogs and cats is fast, and there is a lack of professional feeding training.

(2) Family trial feeding

Quantitatively, the home tests included more dog and cat breeds and preferences. Another advantage is that the double-pan test in front of the pet owner will allow the pet owner to have an intuitive feeling about the palatability, appearance and smell of the pet food, and can also collect valuable insights from the pet owner and the preference information of domestic pets.

Home test feeding also has obvious disadvantages. Few people will put two pet foods side by side on two plates to compare their palatability. Domestic pets are fed relatively simple, usually one kind of food is fed and replaced with another food after a period of time. Pets either like it or don’t like it, so most domestic pets will not choose. Another difficulty in family trial feeding is to train pet owners to follow standard trial feeding methods, guide pet owners to continuously observe and record during pet feeding, and train domestic pets not to gobble up food when they get food, to overcome left-handed or right-handed people. Propensity. It is easier for cat owners to become participants in the palatability test, but when it comes to the actual test, cats are more difficult to operate, because many households have more than one cat, and we do not know which cat eats it. If a cat’s food intake If it is very large, it will increase the feed intake rate. Therefore, home trial feeding can be used as a corroboration and supplement for the palatability verification of professional testing centers.

(3) Professional testing center

The palatability verification in a professional testing center is the best choice for palatability testing. The dogs and cats in the testing center have been specially trained to have keen selectivity and can distinguish the subtle differences between the two pet foods. However, the threshold for establishing a professional testing center is very high, which requires a lot of manpower and material resources, and is equipped with professional veterinarians and zoologists.

3. Standardization of test samples

The palatability test is conducted in a professional testing center. To make the test results of each test group objective, accurate and consistent, it is necessary to standardize the test animals, and eliminate the breed, size, gender, age, feeding history, sterilization, etc. of the animals. Factors that cause bias in test results. The test animals in each test group were configured to be approximately the same in all of the above-mentioned aspects.

In the test center, in addition to the standardization of the test samples, the test environment is also the same. In the cold winter and the hot summer, the pet’s feed intake is very different from the usual situation. When the indoor temperature exceeds 30 ℃, the pet’s food intake The food intake is only 20% to 40% of the normal situation, and there is no choice.

4. Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is the easiest and most overlooked part. In a limited breeding space, the number of pets, food bowls, water bowls and cleanliness in the same environment have a greater impact on pet food intake. For pet cats, the number of litter boxes is also one of the factors to be considered. In a multi-cat environment, it is necessary to ensure that each cat can eat food independently and freely, and cannot interfere with each other during feeding. At the same time, the breeding density of pets should also be considered. The indoor and outdoor area occupied by each cat should not be less than 1 square meter, and the number of pet dogs raised in each kennel should be 2-6.

5. Data selection and statistics

In the whole trial feeding process, a lot of data selection will be involved. If the selection is not appropriate, it will still cause deviations in the results, such as sample size, feeding time and trial feeding period. The results for 5 dogs and 50 dogs are sometimes completely opposite.

In a rigorous comparative test, it is often necessary to conduct multiple sets of experiments to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the results, and to exclude the influence of other factors including freshness. Consistent results are required in testing centers, animal breeding facilities, and home feeding for these products before they can be marketed.

Post time: Jul-01-2022