Other Studies Show Conclusively That Raw Fed Dogs Have Overall Healthier Guts Than Dogs Fed Kibble
Other research on how diet impacts the canine gut microbiome has provided better insight into the benefits of feeding species-appropriate diets to dogs. For example, an Italian study published earlier this year compared the influence of a raw meat and vegetable diet versus an extruded diet in eight healthy Boxers.
The study authors concluded that feeding a raw diet “… promoted a more balanced growth of bacterial communities and a positive change in the readouts of healthy gut functions in comparison to [an extruded] diet.”3
In another recent study in New Zealand of 15 adult dogs, the researchers discovered that the dogs fed a raw red meat diet showed higher levels of digestibility of protein and energy than dogs fed kibble. They also produced less poop with lower levels of fecal volatile fatty acids.4 As for gut bacteria, the study authors noted that:
“Diet significantly affected 27 microbial families and 53 genera in the faeces. In particular, the abundances of Bacteriodes, Prevotella, Peptostreptococcus and Faecalibacterium were lower in dogs fed the meat diet, whereas Fusobacterium, Lactobacillus and Clostridium were all more abundant.”
The shift in the microbiota correlates to protein and fat digestibility in the dogs. By understanding the relationship between a dog’s microbiome and digestibility of the food consumed, we can gain insights into the influence of diet on the overall well-being of our pets.
Fresh Food Is the Best Food
For the record, in case anyone thinks I’m endorsing the Freshpet brand of dog foods, I’m not. But as everyone who regularly reads here knows, I’m most definitely in favor of feeding pets fresh food — any brand of nutritionally balanced fresh food, over biologically inappropriate dry food.
I recommend transitioning your pet away from kibble, and instead feeding a nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet, which means food containing high-quality animal protein, moisture, healthy fats and fiber, with low to no starch content.
A nutritionally balanced raw or gently cooked homemade diet is the top choice for pets, but you should only attempt this if you're committed to doing it right. If you don't want to deal with balancing diets at home, choosing to feed a pre-balanced, commercially available raw food is a great choice.
And be sure to incorporate a variety of fresh foods into your pet's diet, too. Blueberries, chia and hemp seeds in coconut oil, raw pumpkin seeds, fermented vegetables and kefir can provide your furry family member with a variety of nutrition and flavors.
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