THURSDAY August 4, 2022 (HealthDay News)
Switching from Fido to a new dog food? What happens in his gut as a result is nothing short of remarkable, a new study reveals.
The population of bacteria living in his gut – his microbiome – will change drastically in as little as a week.
It starts when the “wallflower bacteria,” the ones that were on the sidelines, rapidly multiply to replace the old ones, according to the study. The chemical byproducts of these microorganisms change as they compete for dominance. Many of these byproducts are crucial to your dog’s overall health.
“The metabolites change very quickly, within days,” study co-author Kelly Swanson, professor of human nutrition at the University of Illinois, told Urbana. “The bacteria reactively metabolize and process the substrates fed to them in the new diet. Then it takes a few more days to sort through the microbial hierarchy, if you will. Our data shows that everything stabilizes by day six.
In mammals, the interplay between nutrients, microbes and their chemical by-products has long been known, but until now scientists have only theorized the rate of microbial turnover. This new study shows that it happens quickly.
“Ever since I’ve been doing animal nutrition research, we’ve argued about how long we should feed a new diet before we collect samples, when everything’s stabilized,” Swanson said in a university press release. “No one has ever definitively tested it.”
For the study, Swanson’s team fed the dogs dry kibble for two weeks and then abruptly switched to a new food for 14 days. Half of the dogs ate fiber-rich kibble, the other half a high-fat, high-protein canned diet.
Two days after the diet change, the researchers took fecal samples. They did it every four days after that. The researchers conducted the process twice and switched the dogs to the opposite experimental diet the second time.
“A lot of times we feed a diet and scavenge feces, but there’s kind of a black box in terms of what happens in the gut. We know what certain bacterial species metabolize, but much of it is certainly unknown. “Swanson said. “Our correlations are the starting point to connect some dots, but more focused research still needs to be done.”
The key aim of the study – which was published August 1 in the journal animal microbiome — was to monitor microbial changes over time, but it also confirmed previous findings that a high-fiber diet is healthier for dogs than a high-fat, high-protein diet.
These results weren’t unexpected, but the researchers were surprised that the two extreme diets reached equilibrium at the same time. Changes in metabolites were found for both diets on day two and changes in bacterial community on day six.
Swanson said the general findings could apply to gut bacteria from other mammals, especially those from pets and livestock that eat a constant, controlled diet. For example, the rate at which the gut microbiome adjusts and stabilizes after a dietary change may be standard for most. And while specific bacterial species and strains may vary between dogs, humans and other mammals, the metabolite/species correlations may be the same, he said.
While the researchers tested an extreme change in diet, the results still support the usual advice from veterinarians to gradually switch to a new brand of dog food.
“People typically suggest moving pets to a new diet over a seven-day period. Our study suggests microbes can completely change in that time frame,” Swanson said. body must adapt, but the microbes must also change. If they are not in a happy situation, you end up with loose stools or flatulence. So it’s probably good to do it a bit more gradually at home than we did in the lab.
This research was conducted in conjunction with pet food manufacturer NomNomNow, Inc.
“Understanding the microbiome is central to our efforts to improve pet health, and this study brings us even closer to how the canine gut actually responds to a novel diet,” said Ryan Honaker, director of the microbiology of society.
The American Kennel Club has more to say about modifying your dog’s diet.
SOURCE: University of Illinois, press release, August 1, 2022
By Sydney Murphy Health Day Reporter
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