Barley could help weight control in dogs, the Rural Development Administration reported Thursday.
According to the government agency, pet foods containing sprouted barley were found to be conducive to controlling obesity in dogs.
In the study where the researchers fed obese dogs on a diet containing 2.75 percent sprouted barley for four months, the dogs lost an average 6.45 percent of their body weight.
In particular, the level of blood leptin, an indication of obesity, and the density of fat-related microbes in livers were reported to decrease.
"Dog obesity can be controlled through continuous diet and regular exercises, but it's difficult to maintain in the long term as it depends on the owner's strong commitment," said Hwang Seong-su, head of the animal welfare team at the National Institute of Animal Science under the Rural Development Administration.
Recently, the Rural Development Administration applied for a patent for the barley sprout feed.
The agency will also provide technology transfers for local pet food makers who wish to use the technology.