Interpretive Summary: Effects of a mildly cooked human-grade dog diet on gene expression, skin and coat health measures, and fecal microbiota of healthy adult dogs
This study tested the effects of a mildly cooked human-grade diet and a feed-grade extruded kibble diet on the fecal microbiome, skin and coat health measures, and expression of genes related to inflammation and oxidative stress in healthy adult dogs. During a 4-week baseline, 20 beagles consumed the kibble diet. After baseline, 10 dogs continued to consume that diet, while 10 dogs consumed the mildly cooked diet for 12 weeks. After baseline and treatment phases, fresh fecal, blood, and hair samples were collected and skin was analyzed. The mildly cooked diet led to lower fecal pH and dry matter percentage, but fecal scores were not affected. The mildly cooked diet dramatically altered the fecal microbiome, shifting the relative abundances of over 30 bacterial species and 165 bacterial metabolic pathways. Measures of skin sebum content and hydration status were not different between groups, but skin water loss was lower in dogs consuming the mildly cooked diet. Baseline and post-treatment gene expression and hair surface scores were noted, but hair cortex and delayed-type hypersensitivity testing were not altered by diet. Our results demonstrate that mildly cooked diets dramatically change the fecal microbiome, but may not impact skin and coat in healthy adult dogs over a short time period.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.