Study Stresses Dog Gut Health Can Change Quickly

Aug 29, 2022

It makes sense…a dog starts a new diet and his gut flora changes. Research now suggests that that change can take place as quickly as within a week (or less). 
Our dogs’ gut health is governed by a community of nutrients, bacteria, microbes and other metabolic byproducts, and of course, that also depends significantly on what they eat.

Researchers believe that when dogs start new foods, their gut community changes, as new bacteria and ingredients are introduced and sort of fight it out for control of your dog’s gut. It’s important to know this because good dog gut health is crucial for good overall dog health. But how long does that change take?

Researchers from the University of Illinois have found that a dog’s microbiome can change in less than a week after a new food has been introduced. Dr. Kelly Swanson is a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and The Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois.

He’s also the co-author of the latest research that suggests a dog’s microbes can stabilize pretty quickly after being newly introduced.

In fact, Dr. Swanson says the research shows that after two days, microbes in a dog’s gut start making entirely new chemical products within two days after they start a new diet, and within six days, microbial communities shift and stabilize.

Dr. Swanson says that a dog’s gut bacteria quickly responds to and deals with new substrates they’re given in new food and then a few days later, a new microbiome hierarchy takes over.

Basically, according to the research, a new and stable microbiome could occur after 10 days of a new diet.

Of course, it was all about the poop for these researchers. They analyzed the poop of dogs who were fed high-fat, high-protein canned diets as well as those who ate high-fiber kibble. They changed the diets every four days after and analyzed poop each time, looking for the microbial metabolites that showed how the gut community changed. The primary goal of the research was to track microbial changes but it also corroborated other findings that showed the benefits of a high fiber diet (as opposed to a high-fat, high-protein diet).

The team found that regardless of the diet, the bacterial gut equilibrium happened by day six of new food.The takeaway for dog owners is the reiteration of the importance of gut health and its correlation to what you feed your dog (and how quickly you introduce it).

Dr. Swanson says that switching diets means that microbes change as well, and while they can do it completely within 10 days or so, there are often loose stools or flatulence as the change occurs. He suggests gradual introduction to new foods, as has often been suggested by experts.

This research also confirms what we at Bernie’s Best know too: gut health is pivotal for a dog’s overall health, and if there are issues like loose stool, flatulence, constipation or even bad breath, it often can be traced to your dog’s gut health.
That’s why we recommend giving Bernie’s Perfect Poop with each meal (for optimal gut health), but certainly when you are introducing new food to your dog (or he’s eaten something he doesn’t typically eat).

The combination of premium high-fiber, pre- and probiotics (the stuff microbiomes are made of) and digestive enzymes in Perfect Poop is exactly what every dog needs to improve gut health and nutrient absorption, no matter the diet.

And it’s delicious, too, with two formulas dogs love.

Better Diet, Better Life…It makes sense to us. (Also makes a pretty good slogan, if we say so ourselves!)

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