Characterization of gut microbiomes of household pets in the United States using a direct-to-consumer approach

Our findings: In 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.