Dog Microbiome Gut Health Test: How They Work, Best Kits & Benefits

dog microbiome gut health test

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Did you know the gut microbiome plays a crucial role in a dog’s overall health, and an imbalance in the gut microbiome can lead to various health problems in dogs, such as digestive issues, allergies, and even behavioral problems?

Fortunately, advances in veterinary medicine have made it possible to test a dog’s gut microbiome health using a dog microbiome gut health test. While some veterinarians may offer these tests, at-home testing kits are also available for dog owners. However, with the variety of testing kits available, it can be challenging to determine which ones are worth investing in and whether the results provide helpful, accurate information about a dog’s health.

This article will explore the benefits of testing your dog’s gut health and every question in between. We also share the best dog microbiome gut health test kits available. Let’s dive right in!

Best Dog Gut Health Test At A Glance

Scroll to the right to see all our recommendations for the best microbiome dog gut health tests.

Click this link to go straight to the reviews. However, we encourage you to keep reading to make a more educated decision before picking a dog gut health test.

What Is A Dog Gut Microbiome?

A gut microbiome refers to the microbes in your dog’s digestive system. The dog’s stomach, intestines, colon, and esophagus are all important parts of its GI tract and contain microbes that affect the digestion process. These microbes can be good or bad bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms that help digest food, produce essential nutrients, and maintain the immune system. Collectively, these microscopic organisms are referred to as gut microbiota or flora.

When dogs have an imbalance of gut microbes, various health effects may occur. Common symptoms of gut disruptions may include bloating, stool changes, heartburn, and other health problems.

The Impact of Gut Microbiome Imbalance On Dogs

Impacts of a gut microbiome imbalance can have some health effects on our pets.

  • Behavior changes
  • Obesity
  • Skin issues
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Inflammation
  • Cancers
  • Liver diseases
  • Oral health
  • Diabetes

What Is Dog Gut Microbiome Testing?

The dog microbiome gut health test is a non-invasive test that analyzes the bacteria and other microorganisms in a dog’s gut. The test measures various parameters such as the microbiome’s diversity, specific bacteria’s presence, and pathogenic bacteria’s presence. A gut health test detects bacterial imbalances and provides actionable insights for personalized diet, supplement, or lifestyle changes to improve your dog’s health. This could lead to a better quality of life and increased overall health for their dog.

How Do Dog Microbiome Tests Work?

The dog microbiome gut health test analyzes a sample of your dog’s stool. The sample is sent to a laboratory and analyzed using next-generation DNA sequencing technology. This technology provides a detailed analysis of the microbiome present in the sample. The test measures various parameters, such as the microbiome’s diversity, specific bacteria’s presence, and pathogenic bacteria’s presence.

What Can You Learn From Testing Your Dog’s Gut?

Here are some benefits and what you can learn from testing your dog’s microbiome.

  • Bacterial imbalances
  • Unique nutritional insights
  • Better management of chronic conditions
  • Personalized nutrition recommendations
  • Dietary impact when changing their food
  • Monitor puppy gut health and development
  • Monitor the impact of a new medicine or supplement
  • Identify and/or prevent serious health issues
  • Reduces the need for unnecessary treatments and medications

For example, an imbalance in the gut microbiome can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. By identifying an imbalance in the gut microbiome early, you can take steps to correct the issue before it becomes more serious.

Why Test Your Dog’s Microbiome? The Research

Here are the main research-backed reasons supporting testing your dog’s biome and its importance.

  • Diet impacts dog skin microbiome. This study was the first of its kind and highlighted how different pet foods impact skin microbiomes. Research demonstrated that feeding fresh food to dogs instead of dry foods promoted a relative decrease in skin microbiome in healthy pet dogs.[1]
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). A study’s results demonstrated that dogs with IBD have significantly different gut microbiota compared to healthy control dogs.[2]
  • Modulates brain development and behavior. The gut microbiota is essential for the development of the enteric nervous system. Germ-free mice display abnormally increased motor activity and decreased anxiety responses, which normalize after colonization with microbiota from conventional mice.[3]
  • GI diseases. The gut microbiome has been found to be altered during both acute and chronic diarrhea.[4]
  • Overall health. The composition of the gut microbiome in dogs is correlated with overall health. The gut microbiome is stable in healthy adult dogs, but age, diet, and many other environmental factors may influence the maintenance of a healthy microbiome.[5] 

At-Home Dog Gut Health Test vs. Vet’s Office Tests

At-home dog microbiome testing is relatively easy to administer and provides quick results. They are convenient and cheaper as the results can be obtained without visiting a veterinarian’s office. However, an at-home gut dog test should not be used to self-diagnose potential health problems. After your test, you should bring your results to your next vet’s appointment and discuss further steps to take regarding your dog’s health.

Vet’s office tests can be more expensive and time-consuming than at-home tests. Additionally, some dogs may find the experience of visiting a veterinary clinic stressful, which can affect the accuracy of the test results. The main advantage of vet’s office tests is that they provide a more comprehensive assessment of a dog’s health and may include a physical examination, blood work, and other diagnostic tests.

You should choose which test to do depending on your needs. It’s important to note that the test your vet uses, is usually the same as an at-home test. The only difference is the brand test they use.

Best At Home Dog Gut Health Tests Kits

Here are the top recommendation for the best dog gut microbiome test kits.

Best Overall Embark Vet Gut Health Test Review

Our rating: 4.8

Overview

Analysis: DNA sequencing ┊ Personalization: Yes┊ Results: 2-3 weeks

Overview

• Analysis: DNA sequencing
Personalization: Yes
• Results
: 2-3 Weeks

Why We Picked & Recommended It

Embark Vet is a reputable company known for their comprehensive dog DNA tests. However, they also offer a gut health test. Embark Vet gut health test wins our top pick because they use DNA sequencing to analyze the bacteria in the sample and compare it to our healthy dog reference set to determine if an imbalance is present. Embark Vet is powered by AnimalBiome, the world’s largest cat and dog microbiome sample database. They have gathered and examined over 30,000 fecal samples from domestic cats and dogs. From this pool of samples, they have compiled a set of samples that set their standards for healthy pets.

What Sets It Apart From Competitors

By using AnimalBiome’s database, they were able to build a profile of the specific bacterial taxa (groups) they could expect to find in the gut microbiome of a healthy dog. They identified a “healthy reference set” consisting of 17 taxa that make up the core microbiome of dogs.

Key Features

  • Personalized recommendations. They suggest diet, supplement, or lifestyle changes based on your dog’s results.
  • Largest database. Embark Vet compares your dog’s results to the most extensive and growing database of healthy pets to determine how closely the types and amounts of bacteria in your pet’s gut match that healthy reference set.
  • Imbalances. They can detect any bacterial imbalances flagging harmful bacteria that may be causing troublesome symptoms like diarrhea or itchy skin.

What We Like & Don’t Like

Pros

  • A thorough report of bacterial imbalances and microbiome diversity
  • Backed by 20 years of research on animal-microbial interactions
  • World-class microbiome sequencing

Cons


Best For Consultation DoggyBiome Gut Health Test Reviews

Our rating: 4.6

Overview

Analysis: DNA sequencing ┊ Personalization: Yes┊ Results: 2 weeks

Overview

• Analysis: DNA sequencing
Personalization: Yes
• Results
: 2 Weeks

Why We Picked & Recommended It

What we loved about this DoggyBiome Gut Health Test is the free 15-minute phone consultation with one of their gut microbiome test experts to review your dog’s personalized gut health report. This test kit includes everything you need to collect a stool sample from your dog and send it back to us for assessment.

What Sets It Apart From Competitors

DoggyBiome compares your dog’s results with its healthy reference set, revealing whether it lacks essential bacterial groups. If so, that absence may result from antibiotic use, diet, illness, or other factors.

Key Features

  • Problematic bacteria. Identifies pathogens or harmful bacteria that don’t belong in a healthy dog’s gut or normal microbiome members that have grown too numerous.

What We Like & Don’t Like

Pros

  • Includes a postage-paid envelope for US residents
  • Detailed report to understand and help restore your dog’s health
  • Useful data and actionable next steps

Cons


Best Affordable Microbiome Dog Test Nom Nom

Our rating: 4.4

Overview

Analysis: DNA sequencing ┊ Personalization: Yes┊ Results: 3-6 weeks

Overview

• Analysis: DNA sequencing
Personalization: Yes
• Results
: 2 Weeks

Why We Picked & Recommended It

Nom Nom Microbiome Testing Kit wins the sport for the most affordable dog gut health test. This test’s price is a third of the cost of our top picks. The test comes with everything you need to test your pet’s microbiome comfortably at home and get accurate results digitally. If you’re new to this, the kit has complete instructions, so you’ll never go wrong. After you submit your pet’s sample for testing, you’ll receive a comprehensive digital report of your pet’s unique microbiome.

What Sets It Apart From Competitors

The kit can detect more than 65 different types of bacteria and their levels.

What We Like & Don’t Like

Pros

  • Contribute to and advance pet health science
  • Nutrition, supplement, and lifestyle recommendations
  • Comparative data to see how your pet’s gut microbiome stacks up against other pets

Cons


How Much Does Dog Microbiome Testing Cost?

The cost of dog microbiome testing can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of test, the laboratory conducting the analysis, and the location. Generally, at-home dog microbiome testing kits cost anywhere from $35 to $100, depending on the brand and the features included in the kit.

On the other hand, veterinary clinics may offer more comprehensive testing that includes a physical exam, blood work, other diagnostic tests, and gut microbiome testing. These tests can cost several hundred dollars or more, depending on the specific tests performed and the clinic’s location.

Alternatives To At-Home Microbiome Tests

At-home dog microbiome tests are a convenient way to assess the health of a dog’s gut microbiome. However, alternative ways to monitor the health of a dog’s gut may be more suitable for some pet owners.

  • Dietary changes. Modifying a dog’s diet can also improve gut health. Switching to a high-fiber diet, for example, can increase microbial diversity and the abundance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Pet owners can consult a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to determine the best diet for their dog’s needs.
  • Probiotics and prebiotics: Probiotics are supplements that can be added to a dog’s diet to promote gut health. Dog probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that can help restore the balance of the gut microbiome. In contrast, prebiotics contains dietary fibers that can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
  • Stress management. Stress can have an adverse effect on gut health in dogs, just like in humans. Pet owners can reduce stress levels in their dogs by providing a comfortable and safe environment, regular exercise, and training to help reduce anxiety.
  • Dog allergy testing. If you suspect food allergies or sensitivities, the first step is to keep a food diary, carefully noting what your dog eats, drinks, and any symptoms they experience daily. Performing a dog food allergy test can help you pinpoint those ingredients that cause distress in your dog’s digestive system. By identifying these food triggers, you may be able to make dietary changes to ease gut symptoms. For example, this food sensitivity test from 5Strands uses hair samples to identify 255 dogs’ most common possible food sensitivities.

Dog Gut Microbiome Health Test Conclusion

Testing your dog’s gut health is a simple yet effective way to assess its overall health and well-being. Identifying potential health issues early can prevent more severe health problems from developing. If you are considering using a dog microbiome gut health test, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine which test is best for your dog. Additionally, it is necessary to follow the instructions the test kit manufacturer provides carefully. Finally, always work with your veterinarian to interpret the test results and create a plan for improving your dog’s gut health. Pet insurance might cover the cost of this kit.


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Canine Bible uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

[1] Effects of Diet on the Gut Microbiome of the Dog, [2] Characterization of the Fecal & Mucosa-Associated Microbiota in Dogs, [3] Normal Gut Microbiota Modulates Brain Development & Behavior, [4] The Fecal Microbiome in Dogs with Acute Diarrhea & Idiopathic Inflammatory Bowel Disease [5] The Role of the Canine Gut Microbiome and Metabolome in Health & Gastrointestinal Disease

Editorial Team at Canine Bible | + posts

Canine Bible authorship represents the unified voice of our entire editorial team and our in-house veterinarians rather than a single author. Each article, blog post, and review published under the Canine Bible name undergoes a rigorous review process, involving all team members to guarantee accuracy and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research. This collaborative effort is an integral part of our editorial process and aligns with our four pillars of content creation. This approach ensures our content is backed by expert knowledge and factual information, offering our readers reliable, actionable, and trustworthy content.


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