Sure, dogs are often said to be man’s best friend, and at times they even look like us. But it is about to change that they have another instead surprising similarity- their poop.
“We saw many similarities between the gene content of the human and dog gut microbiomes, ” Dr Coelho said in a statement. “The results of this comparison suggest that we are more similar to man’s best friend than we originally thought.”
In the study, the researchers evaluated the intestine microbiome of two breeds of dog, beagles and retrievers. Sixty-four puppies were used in the study, which were all fed the same diet of commercially available dog food for four weeks.
The researchers then, well, collected the turd of the dogs- there were 129 turd samples in total- after four and eight weeks. They then extracted DNA from the samples to create a catalog of the dog gut microbiome, containing more than a million genes.
Comparing that to existing catalogs for humen, mouse, and animals( they didn’t have to handle their turd, fortunately ), they found that the dog’s gene content was more similar to that of a human than pigs or mouse were.
“These findings suggest that dogs could be a better model for nutrition studies than swine or mice and we could potentially use data from dogs to study the impact of diet on gut microbiota in humans, and humans could be a good model to study the nutrition of dogs, ” Dr Coelho said.
Speaking to Popular Science, he noted that the dog microbiome has some of the same species of bacteria as humen but different strains. So much so that their “intestinal flora could be cousins, ” the site noted.
The researchers also found that the diet of humans and puppies, specifically the amount of protein and carbohydrates, had a similar consequence on the microbiota of both. For example, obese dogs( half in the study were overweight) were more responsive to a high protein diet than lean puppies. Healthy microbiomes changed less, which is what you want, indicating they are more resilient.
So remember, dogs can be sneaky little devils. But we’re more similar than you thought, in a instead surprising way.