A Yucca schidigera plant growing in the desert.

What’s Yucca Schidigera and Why’s It in My Pet’s Food?

If the ingredients list is one of the first things you read when choosing a pet food, you’re not alone. A majority of surveyed pet owners — 57 percent — said “back label” information (e.g., ingredients, nutrition facts) is “very” or “extremely” important to them when buying pet food.

As you’ve scrutinized a pet food’s ingredients, have you ever wondered about the unfamiliar, weird- and chemical-sounding names? If so, you’re not alone with those questions, either. That’s why we’ll be sharing information about some of the ingredients we use in various Diamond dog and cat food formulas.

First up is one of the stranger-looking (and -sounding) ingredients: Yucca schidigera extract.

What is it?

Yucca schidigera, which goes by the common names Mojave yucca and “Spanish dagger,” is an evergreen shrub or small tree found in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern California, southern Nevada and western Arizona, as well as Baja California and Sonora, Mexico. The plant was used in Native American traditional medicine to treat a variety of health issues, including arthritis.

Today, the trunks of Y. schidigera trees are ground and processed into powder and extract forms for use in many products, including dog and cat foods. Yucca schidigera has GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status, so these products are considered safe to eat.

Why add yucca schidigera to pet food?

Yucca schidigera extract is added to some dog and cat foods to enhance flavor and works without affecting the nutrient content, digestibility or stool consistency. It is also used in poultry, livestock, rat, mouse, hamster, gerbil and hedgehog food for stool odor control.

While adding Y. schidigera to pet foods may be relatively new, the plant has been used in livestock and poultry diets for decades.

And now you know!


RELATED POST: Stinky Dog Gas: Dietary Issue or Sign of a Problem?

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


Where to Buy Diamond Pet Foods Near Me