Characterization of gut microbiomes of household pets in the United States using a direct-to-consumer approachJha AR, Shmalberg J, Tanprasertsuk J, Perry LM, Massey D, Honaker RW (2020) Characterization of gut microbiomes of household pets in the United States using a direct-to-consumer approach. PLoS ONE 15(2): e0227289
Our findingsIn one of the largest pet microbiome studies to date, we characterized the gut microbiome of pet dogs and cats, describing details about the bacterial phyla that are most commonly found as well as details about the diversity of bacteria (did you know it’s higher in cats than in dogs?) The findings also indicate that deeper sequencing resolution, such as those provided by newer sequencing approaches, will lead to a better understanding of the microbiome and its functions.
Why is it important?Characterizing gut microbes is the first crucial step to better understand how they affect pets' health. It also demonstrates that sequencing with the help of interested pet parents is an effective way to do important science.
Longitudinal fecal microbiome and metabolite data demonstrate rapid shifts and subsequent stabilization after an abrupt dietary change in healthy adult dogs
Lin CY., Jha A.R., Oba P. M., Yotis S.M., Shmalberg J., Honaker R.W., Swanson K.S. Longitudinal fecal microbiome and metabolite data demonstrate rapid shifts and subsequent stabilization after an abrupt dietary change in healthy adult dogs. Animal Microbiome, 4, 46 (2022)
Our findingsIn this study the gut microbiome and metabolite profiles of healthy adult dogs were monitored for two weeks following a diet change to either a high-fiber or protein-rich diet. The diversity and composition of the microbiome were found to shift within days of a diet change, stabilizing around day six. Likewise metabolite profiles were found to dramatically change and stabilize within only a few days following a diet change. The findings also indicate functional changes in the gut microbiome resulted from a diet change. Key microbe-metabolite relationships were also identified that were unique to the high-fiber and protein-rich diets.
Why is it important?While we know that diet change results in changes in the gastrointestinal environment of dogs, how quickly these changes occur and stabilize had previously not been well studied. This study highlights that drastic changes occur within days of diet change, stabilize well within a two-week time frame, and are unique to diet type.
Tanprasertsuk, J., Tate, D.E., Shmalberg, J. Roles of plant-based ingredients and phytonutrients in canine nutrition and health. J Anim Physiol Nutr (Berl), 2022 May;106(3):586-613.
Our findingsThis review article examines current published evidence on the relationship between consumption of plant-based foods and phytonutrients (such as plant-derived fibers, carotenoids, flavonoids) and biomarkers of canine health and diseases. We also highlight current research gaps in existing studies and provide future research directions to better understand the impact of incorporating plant-based ingredients in canine diets.
Why is it important?Many consumers don't understand the benefit of vegetables and plant-based ingredients in dog food. This review highlights the nutritional and health benefits of including these ingredients as a part of a balanced canine diet.
Apparent total tract nutrient digestibility and metabolizable energy estimation in commercial fresh and extruded dry kibble dog foodsTanprasertsuk J, Perry LM, Tate DE, Honaker RW, Shmalberg J (2021) Apparent total tract nutrient digestibility and metabolizable energy estimation in commercial fresh and extruded dry kibble dog foods, Translational Animal Science, Volume 5, Issue 3, txab071
Our findingsWe demonstrated that the digestibility (apparent total tract digestibility of dry matter, protein, fat, nitrogen-free extract, and calories) of a kibble diet with a comparable macronutrient profile was significantly lower than Nom Nom’s fresh diets. The results also suggest that canine fresh diets should be assessed using calculations similar to those used in human nutrition (standard Atwater factors).
Why is it important?While commercial fresh diets are rapidly gaining in popularity, there is a somewhat limited understanding of their digestibility and metabolizable energy, both of which are crucial measures when planning a diet regime. Our findings expand the knowledge on these two measures for Nom Nom fresh food and others similar to it.
Heterogeneity of gut microbial responses in healthy household dogs transitioning from an extruded to a mildly cooked dietTanprasertsuk J, Shmalberg J, Maughan H, Tate DE, Perry LM, Jha AR, Honaker RW. (2021) Heterogeneity of gut microbial responses in healthy household dogs transitioning from an extruded to a mildly cooked diet. PeerJ 9:e11648
Our findingsIn this study, healthy dogs were switched from various brands of kibble to Nom Nom’s fresh diet for four weeks. Pet parents all reported either improvement or no change in health, and the diet change led to a significant shift in the gut microbial composition. Interestingly, the magnitude of the microbial shift was associated with baseline gut microbiota as well as baseline dietary protein content.
Why is it important?The gut microbiota is associated with canine health in numerous ways, and can be heavily affected by diet. Fresh diets have become increasingly popular in the U.S. but their impact on the microbiome and overall health remains largely unknown. Our findings help lay the groundwork for an understanding of both, and may provide a basis for personalized nutrition in pet dogs.
The microbiota of healthy dogs demonstrates individualized responses to synbiotic supplementation in a randomized controlled trial.Tanprasertsuk J, Jha AR, Shmalberg J, Jones RB, Perry LM, Maughan H, Honaker RW (2021). The microbiota of healthy dogs demonstrates individualized responses to synbiotic supplementation in a randomized controlled trial. Animal microbiome, 3(1), 36. https://doi.org/10.1186/s42523-021-00098-0
Our findingsThis study demonstrates the ability of our Nom Nom Full Spectrum Probiotics for Dogs to impact the gut microbiome of healthy pet dogs. We found a significant enrichment of probiotic strains, among other beneficial bacteria, after four weeks of probiotic use. Interestingly, the magnitude of microbial shift was also associated with the composition of the gut microbiome before beginning the study, and the gut microbiome also largely returned to baseline two weeks after stopping the probiotics. Dogs given the probiotics also tended to have lower diarrhea incidence, which we talk about more in-depth here.
Why is it important?The role of probiotics in health maintenance and the effect on healthy dogs is poorly understood, and these findings advance our knowledge. Also, we observed that the magnitude of response to the supplement was associated with microbial profile at baseline. To our knowledge, this is the first study documenting such an effect in companion dogs, and increased understanding of this will help pave the way for more personalized treatments for all pets.