Scientists Reveal a Surprising Similarity Between Dogs and Humans
A new study indicates that our furry family members share more than a loving bond with us- and it’s microbes from their poop.
For the most part, history of humankind wouldn’t be complete without the man’s best friend: according to some sources, ours and canine ancestors were companions even 35,000 years ago. And since we practically evolved together, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we share many things, even on a microbial level.
A paper published in the journal Microbiome revealed one particularly surprising similarity we share with our pooches- gut flora and response to diet. The most unexpected part was that the researchers weren’t even looking for similarities, but while they were sifting through poop samples, they’ve noticed that canine microbiome responds in a way similar to ours.
The research included 32 labrador retrievers and 32 beagles, with an equal number of fit and chubby pooches in each of the groups. They were monitored for 8 weeks, first half of which they were all chowing down on Purina, while the second part of the study had some dogs put on a high protein, low carb diet, and the others on a high carb, low protein diet. The gut flora collected at the end of the research was compared to that of humans, mice, and pigs- scientists discovered that canine gut microbiome has some of the same species of bacteria that we have, but different strains.
The fact that, in this aspect, we have more similarities with dogs than with animals commonly used for purposes of medical research, has scientists excited. The similarities in gut flora and dietary response could help researchers better understand both human and canine nutritive needs, by analyzing the microbiome of either.
Considering that pet obesity (as well as human) is on the steady rise, we need better insights into dog nutrition than ever before. Knowing what types of food will help a pooch loose weight or balance out their diet could make all the difference: and analyzing our own gut flora could help.