Researchers reveal that dog have similar gut microbiomes as humans, according to a new study published on April 19, 2018.
Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, collaborated with Nestlé Research, to evaluate the gut microbiome of two dog breeds. The results revealed that the gene content of the microbiome of these dogs appeared to be similar to the microbiome of the human gut. The similarity was greater than that as compared to mice and pigs with humans.
Dr Luis Pedro Coelho, co-author of the study, said “We found many similarities between the gene content of the human and dog gut microbiomes. The results of this comparison suggest that we are more similar to man’s best friend than we originally thought.”
The team also found that changes in the amount of protein and carbohydrates included in the diet of dogs affected their microbiome in a similar way that human microbiomes are affected, this was observed independent of the dog’s breed or sex.
They found that overweight or obese dogs had microbiomes that were more responsive to a high protein diet as compared to that of lean dogs, which seems to be consistent with the idea that healthy microbiomes are more resilient among humans.
Dr Coelho, said “These findings suggest that dogs could be a better model for nutrition studies than pigs or mice and we could potentially use data from dogs to study the impact of diet on gut microbiota in humans, and humans could be a good model to study the nutrition of dogs. Many people who have pets consider them as part of the family and like humans, dogs have a growing obesity problem. Therefore, it is important to study the implications of different diets.”
Researchers cautioned humans that despite humans and dogs hosting very similar microbes, they are not exactly the same microbes, and only those that are closely related strains.