Healthier Gut, Happier Dog!
It can be hard to navigate your way through all the information (and misinformation) that’s out there when it comes to your dog’s nutrition. People have lots of grand ideas and theories, but unless the information is backed by science we don’t pay too much attention.
Study Shows Improved Gut Health with Raw Food Diet
A 2016 study published in BMC Veterinary Research compared how well healthy dogs digested raw diets compared to kibble. The study used 8 dogs (boxers, if you were wondering. Anybody else think boxers are super cute? I mean, they are hard to beat when it comes to being loving, family dogs with a high snuggle score).
The dogs were divided into two groups. Four received a raw food diet for 14 days while the others ate kibble. For the next 14 days, the groups were switched - the kibble dogs switched to raw, the raw food dogs given kibble.
Investigating Dog Poop
You may wonder how, exactly, one assesses what’s going on in the gut of dogs on different diets. Well, to put it bluntly, you examine their poop (I’m thinking that was a job assigned to the newest addition to the lab team). This was done three times - on day one, at the end of day 14 (before the diets were switched around) and on the last day of the study. The stool samples were analysed to see how much bacteria (and what types) were present.
One of the things you look for in a healthy gut is variation in the kinds of bacteria and a higher percentage of ‘good’ bugs (like Lactobacillus). Lots of the good bacteria indicates the gut is functioning well.
Raw Food Diet Promoted Good Bacteria
Turns out that dogs fed the raw food diet had “… a more balanced growth of bacterial communities and a positive change in the readouts of healthy gut functions…” Based on our understanding of gut health, that would seem to indicate “…an enhancement of gut health.”
The other observation made was that the doggy doo doo of dogs on the raw diet was smaller. The study concludes this is because the raw diet is more digestible than the kibble.
We Love the Science - Let’s Have More!
We are pretty happy to see that the scientific community is coming around to seeing the need for proper studies to identify optimal feeding strategies for our pets. Dogs deserve the best, but if we don’t understand what the best really means based on quantifiable evidence, it’s impossible to give it to them. We’d love to see additional research in this area but meanwhile, if you happen to run across any studies we might not have found ourselves, do let us know.
The findings of this study are great news for pet owners who are choosing raw food diets (like the meals we offer through Rawmate, our premium raw food subscription program for your dog). More digestible food means fewer gut problems and, bonus, less poop to pick up!
More on Dog Poop
Because we are chatting so openly about dog poop, I can’t resist sharing this nugget of information. Did you know that the 2014 IgNoble prize in biology went to a researcher who discovered that when dogs squat to do their business they tend to align themselves from north to south? They may point their head towards the north or the south, but this does suggest they are able to somehow sense the Earth’s magnetic field and may explain why they are so good at finding their way around, even when travelling long distances. The study was originally published in Frontiers in Zoology, but if you want to read a pretty interesting summary of the findings, have a read of this article. Next time you take your pup out for a stroll, that will give you something to consider when he squats.
To learn more about how we formulate our Rawmate raw food diet for your dogs, poke around a bit on the Rawmate website.