Longitudinal fecal microbiome and metabolite data demonstrate rapid shifts and subsequent stabilization after an abrupt dietary change in healthy adult dogs

Ching Yen Lin, Aashish R. Jha, Patrícia M. Oba, Sofia M. Yotis, Justin Shmalberg, Ryan W. Honaker, Kelly S. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Diet has a large influence on gut microbiota diversity and function. Although previous studies have investigated the effect of dietary interventions on the gut microbiome, longitudinal changes in the gut microbiome, microbial functions, and metabolite profiles post dietary interventions have been underexplored. How long these outcomes require to reach a steady-state, how they relate to one another, and their impact on host physiological changes are largely unknown. To address these unknowns, we collected longitudinal fecal samples following an abrupt dietary change in healthy adult beagles (n = 12, age: 5.16 ± 0.87 year, BW: 13.37 ± 0.68 kg) using a crossover design. All dogs were fed a kibble diet (control) from d1-14, and then fed that same diet supplemented with fiber (HFD) or a protein-rich canned diet (CD) from d15-27. Fresh fecal samples were collected on d13, 16, 20, 24, and 27 for metabolite and microbiome assessment. Fecal microbial diversity and composition, metabolite profiles, and microbial functions dramatically diverged and stabilized within a few days (2 d for metabolites; 6 d for microbiota) after dietary interventions. Fecal acetate, propionate, and total short-chain fatty acids increased after change to HFD, while fecal isobutyrate, isovalerate, total branched-chain fatty acids, phenol, and indole increased after dogs consumed CD. Relative abundance of ~ 100 bacterial species mainly belonging to the Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteria phyla increased in HFD. These shifts in gut microbiome diversity and composition were accompanied by functional changes. Transition to HFD led to increases in the relative abundance of KEGG orthology (KO) terms related to starch and sucrose metabolism, fatty acid biosynthesis, and amino sugar and nucleotide sugar metabolism, while transition to CD resulted in increased relative abundance of KO terms pertaining to inositol phosphate metabolism and sulfur metabolism. Significant associations among fecal microbial taxa, KO terms, and metabolites were observed, allowing for high-accuracy prediction of diet group by random forest analysis. Conclusions: Longitudinal sampling and a multi-modal approach to characterizing the gastrointestinal environment allowed us to demonstrate how drastically and quickly dietary changes impact the fecal microbiome and metabolite profiles of dogs following an abrupt dietary change and identify key microbe-metabolite relationships that allowed for treatment prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number46
JournalAnimal Microbiome
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Canine metagenome
  • Fecal metabolites
  • Gastrointestinal health
  • Gut microbiota
  • Microbial function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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