New Study Shows Dogs And Human Gut Are Very Similar
20 April, 2018
dog and human gut

There is evidence now that our relationship with dogs goes even further, in fact, all the way into the gut. A new study published in the journal Microbiome suggests that our microbiomes (gut and digestive system) and those of dogs have remarkable similarities which may help understand both canine and human weight loss and diet.

The new research suggested that a dog’s intestines are more similar to humans than pigs

Studying dog microbiomes is important in and of itself, says study lead author Luis Pedro Coelho. After all, dogs are an important companion animal for humans as well as an occasional lab animal. Like pigs and mice, whose microbiomes were compared with those of dogs and humans in the study, they’re a research priority because we study them.

But the new research also revealed something unexpected: the microorganisms that live in dog intestines are more similar to the microbes inside us than to those in either pigs or mice. That suggests that dogs might be a better subject for research into human nutrition than either of those more commonly used species.

The study worked with overweight and healthy breeds and switched up diets to see if there was a correlation

To do the study, researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and Nestlé Purina Research worked with a sample of 32 beagles and 32 Labrador retrievers. Half of the members of each breed were overweight, while the other half were a healthy weight.

For four weeks, they fed all of the dogs the same diet of Purina. Then, they collected poop samples, which is the most straightforward way to get a snapshot of each animal’s intestinal flora. After that, they sorted the dogs into two randomly selected groups. One group ate a high-protein, low-carb diet while the other ate the opposite. At the end of another four weeks, they did the poop test again.

The study demonstrates how a lean dog should look – and that DNA snapshot can help humans

The scientists then sequenced the DNA in these two snapshots to reveal the kinds of microbes that lived in the dogs’ guts. One thing they found was that the leaner dogs’ microbiomes changed a lot less than that of the overweight dogs. That’s significant because it provides evidence for the way a “healthy” dog microbiome should behave. But their finding about the relationship between human and dog microbiomes is what Jack Gilbert, a researcher at the University of Chicago’s Microbiome Center, thinks is newsworthy.

Dogs have been domesticated for a long time and will eat humans’ food which can also explain why our systems are similar

“Dogs were domesticated early in modern human history and frequently shared food resources with humans,” the researchers write. That relationship has been suggested as a reason why dog digestive systems are similar to humans’ today. And we continue to mirror each other—obesity rates in dogs have risen as ours have. These results could affect how dog-food makers approach their recipes, he says, enabling us to give our dogs’ better digestive health.

So the real take-away of the study is that we can look into our own human health or dog’s diet to help control human and animal obesity.

You can read the full study here:  Dog Poop Microbiome

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