Phylogenetic characterization of fecal microbial communities of dogs fed diets with or without supplemental dietary fiber using 454 pyrosequencing

PLoS One. 2010 Mar 22;5(3):e9768. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009768.


Background: Dogs suffer from many of the same maladies as humans that may be affected by the gut microbiome, but knowledge of the canine microbiome is incomplete. This work aimed to use 16S rDNA tag pyrosequencing to phylogenetically characterize hindgut microbiome in dogs and determine how consumption of dietary fiber affects community structure.

Principal findings: Six healthy adult dogs were used in a crossover design. A control diet without supplemental fiber and a beet pulp-supplemented (7.5%) diet were fed. Fecal DNA was extracted and the V3 hypervariable region of the microbial 16S rDNA gene amplified using primers suitable for 454-pyrosequencing. Microbial diversity was assessed on random 2000-sequence subsamples of individual and pooled DNA samples by diet. Our dataset comprised 77,771 reads with an average length of 141 nt. Individual samples contained approximately 129 OTU, with Fusobacteria (23-40% of reads), Firmicutes (14-28% of reads) and Bacteroidetes (31-34% of reads) being co-dominant phyla. Feeding dietary fiber generally decreased Fusobacteria and increased Firmicutes, but these changes were not equally apparent in all dogs. UniFrac analysis revealed that structure of the gut microbiome was affected by diet and Firmicutes appeared to play a strong role in by-diet clustering.

Conclusions: Our data suggest three co-dominant bacterial phyla in the canine hindgut. Furthermore, a relatively small amount of dietary fiber changed the structure of the gut microbiome detectably. Our data are among the first to characterize the healthy canine gut microbiome using pyrosequencing and provide a basis for studies focused on devising dietary interventions for microbiome-associated diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animal Nutrition Sciences
  • Animals
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Fiber*
  • Dogs
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Metagenome
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S