Se bioavailability in commercial pet foods has been shown to be highly variable. The aim of the present study was to identify dietary factors associated with in vitro accessibility of Se (Se Aiv) in pet foods. Se Aiv is defined as the percentage of Se from the diet that is potentially available for absorption after in vitro digestion. Sixty-two diets (dog, n 52; cat, n 10) were in vitro enzymatically digested: fifty-four of them were commercially available (kibble, n 20; pellet, n 8; canned, n 17; raw meat, n 6; steamed meat, n 3) and eight were unprocessed (kibble, n 4; canned, n 4) from the same batch as the corresponding processed diets. The present investigation examined if Se Aiv was affected by diet type, dietary protein, methionine, cysteine, lysine and Se content, DM, organic matter and crude protein (CP) digestibility. Se Aiv differed significantly among diet types (P< 0·001). Canned and steamed meat diets had a lower Se Aiv than pelleted and raw meat diets. Se Aiv correlated positively with CP digestibility in extruded diets (kibbles, n 19; r 0·540, P =0·017) and negatively in canned diets (n 16; r − 0·611, P =0·012). Moreover, the canning process (n 4) decreased Se Aiv (P =0·001), whereas extrusion (n 4) revealed no effect on Se Aiv (P =0·297). These differences in Se Aiv between diet types warrant quantification of diet type effects on in vivo Se bioavailability.