A study of overweight dogs fed a diet low in calories, high in protein and fiber for 24 weeks found that dogs’ body composition and markers of inflammation changed over time in ways that paralleled the positive changes observed in humans on similar diets. The dogs achieved a healthy weight without losing much muscle mass, and all triglycerides, insulin and inflammatory markers in the blood decreased with the weight loss.
All of these changes are beneficial, said Kelly Swanson, a professor of animal sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who led the new research.
Previous studies have shown that overweight and obesity lead to shorter lifespans and a lower quality of life — in dogs and humans, Swanson said.
“Some of the problems we see in obese humans also occur in pet dogs,” he said. “There’s extra stress on the joints, there’s an intolerance to exercise and heat; there’s also glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance. And if you look at pet insurance claims, obesity is a big factor there.”
mentioned in Animal Science JournalThe study is unusual in that it also measures changes in dogs’ fecal microbiota over the course of weight loss, Swanson said.
He said that while there are similarities between dogs and humans’ metabolism and digestive processes, dogs and humans differ in the types of microbes that inhabit the gut. However, these microbes perform similar functions. They metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and other molecules derived from food but not digested by the host; It breaks down fibers to produce short-chain fatty acids that are important in regulating glucose and appetite, reducing inflammation, strengthening the immune system, and providing energy for cells in the colon.
Some of the microbial changes observed in dogs have been difficult to explain, Swanson said, but it is possible that the decrease in fecal ammonia — possibly as a result of eating less protein in the calorie-restricted diet — would be beneficial.
“High concentrations of ammonia are toxic,” he said.
Dogs who lost weight also increased their sex bacteria Allobaculum. higher lobacolum The population is associated with an increase in faecal butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that is a by-product of dietary fiber fermentation. Previous studies have shown that butyrate has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects in the gut.
However, total concentrations of short-chain fatty acids did not change over time. The researchers reported that this may reflect the fact that most of these organic acids are absorbed rather than excreted.
Most studies of the gut microbiome focus on humans, so the new research provides insight into the similarities and differences between dogs and humans, and how they respond to dietary changes and weight loss. Swanson said more research will be needed to clarify the findings.
This project was funded by Perfect Companion Group Co. Ltd. , Thailand.
Material provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Desk. Original by Diana Yates. Note: Content can be modified according to style and length.