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Reference: Sandri, M, Dal Monego, S, Conte, G, Sgorlon, S & Stefanon, B 2017, “Raw meat based diet influences faecal microbiome and end products of fermentation in healthy dogs”, BMC Veterinary Research, vol. 13, pp 65-75.

Design: Randomised control trial



8 healthy adult Boxer dogs were randomly allocated into two experimental blocks of 4 individuals. Dogs were regularly fed a commercial extruded diet (RD) and starting from the beginning of the trial, one group received the raw based diet (MD) and the other group continued to be fed with the RD diet (CD) for a fortnight. After 14 days, the two groups were inverted.

Faeces were collected at the beginning of the study (T0), after 14 days (T14) before the change of diet and at the end of experimental period (T28) for DNA extraction and analysis of metagenome by sequencing 16SrRNA V3 and V4 regions, short chain fatty acids (SCFA), lactate and faecal score.


Key findings:

  • when fed the raw balanced diet, dogs showed abundance of the families Lactobacillaceae, Fusobacteriaceae, Coriobacteriaceae, Clostridiaceae 1, Enterobacteriaceae, Streptococcaceae and Enterococcaceae.  A decreased proportion of Lactobacillus, Paralactobacillus and Prevotella genera was observed.  Shannon biodiversity Index significantly increased in comparison to the kibble fed dogs. 

  • The raw diet significantly decreased the Faecal Score and increased the lactic acid concentration in the faeces

  • Faecal acetate was negatively correlated with Escherichia/Shigella and Megamonas, whilst butyrate (an essential substrate for cells of intestinal mucosa) was positively correlated with Blautia and Peptococcus. Positive correlations were found between lactate and Megamonas, Escherichia/Shigella and Lactococcus.


Relevance:  A raw balanced diet promoted a more balanced growth of bacterial communities and healthier gut functions compared to an extruded kibble diet.


Funding: the authors are associated with the raw food company in Italy (Nutrigene srl) which provided funding for the study.

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