If you’re a frequent reader of ours, you likely know by now how much we love NomNomNow’s dog food. They are the leading the fresh dog food industry in providing healthy real food delivered for your dog, and NomNomNow is taking an even bigger step towards improving gut health.
The company recently launched two new additions to their lineup of dog products: a microbiome analysis kit for understanding your dog’s gut health and probiotic supplements to help maintain normal digestion.
Before we dive into each one, I sat down with Ryan Honaker, PhD, Director of Microbiology at NomNomNow, to learn a little more about the microbiome.
Interview with NomNomNow’s Director of Microbiology
What is the microbiome?
In both humans and our pets, the microbiome is a population of microorganisms living in and on our bodies, and is an important part of maintaining our pets’ health. This unique population consists of many types of microorganisms, varying in diversity, that can help keep us and our pets healthy. At the same time, these microbes can also contribute to pet illnesses, if the healthy balance of the microbiome is disrupted.
Our Microbiome Testing Kit for Pets is an at-home assessment that characterizes the composition of your pet’s gut bacteria through bacterial DNA sequencing. As part of this process, we ask pet parents to complete a brief pet health survey to provide information that, later on, will aid in understanding and interpreting the test results.
Why should I use a microbiome kit for my pet?
The microbiome of the gut is the largest and most studied microbiome, and has been shown to impact a wide variety of health-related systems including things like food digestion, immune system function, weight management and even mood and behavior.
Our Microbiome Testing Kit offers a baseline report about a pet’s gut health, that can be tracked throughout his or her life. It’s all part of our core belief that long-term pet health is rooted in proper nutrition. Pet parents should feel empowered to care for their pets the best that they can, by gaining insights like those that our kit provides.
What will the results tell me?
The report consists of several sections. There is an overview of the bacterial composition followed up a more in-depth breakdown of interesting and important bacterial groups, as well as descriptions of relevant information for each group. There are also several analyses of the diversity of the bacterial populations with additional interpretive information. For each of these metrics the report shows how the composition compares to other pets. There is also a summary section, providing an overview of the composition, diversity, and possible impact on health. The report itself has been developed by microbiologists and is based on what is known in the scientific literature, and even includes citations to the primary literature.
Using the NomNomNow Microbiome Kit
Your kit includes all the tools you’ll need to obtain a fecal sample (it’s not as terrible as it might sound) from your pet, and mail it back to us. The easy-to-follow instructions in the box will guide you through the process of swabbing your pet’s poop, depositing the sample into the vial provided, and placing everything into the prepaid envelope for mailing. Need an easier way to scoop poop? Check out our guide to the best pooper scoopers!
When I first received the kit, I’ll be honest, I figured I would be swabbing Sasha’s cheek like the dog DNA kits we reviewed; little did I know I had to swab what comes out of the other cheeks! With that said, it really isn’t bad because you don’t have to actually touch anything.
The instructions on the box are very straightforward to follow. As soon as I saw Sasha finish her business, I made the trek outside with a swab in one hand and a vial in the other. Once you swab the poo and have it well covered, you are instructed to place the swab in the water and then detach the tip that sticks out. THIS is where I didn’t read carefully enough.
Take a look at step 3 above. I paid too much attention to the illustration, where it looks like it breaks off. So when I put the poop-swab in the vial, I attempted to break the swab off. It did not work well, and I began to assume this had to be the incorrect method, but I continued bending and twisting until it snapped off.
Only until I came back inside did I read that section again and realize the tip POPS RIGHT OFF if you just push the end of it. Take a look at this below, which shows the proper way.
After the swab was secured, I registered my microbiome ID on NomNomNow’s website and mailed the envelope out. I’m still waiting on the results to come back, but I’ll be sure to update this article as soon as it does.
The analysis takes about 2-3 weeks to complete, so I’m still waiting for the results to come in. I’ll be sure to update the article as soon as they do!
If your Microbiome kit comes back with a few red flags that your pup’s gut health is sub-par, the good news is there’s solutions to improve it. NomNomNow’s probiotic supplement contains 20 billion cultures, including strains specifically derived from healthy dogs and each batch is independently tested to ensure integrity. Here’s the ingredients in each package:
Probiotic Blend: Lactobacillus reuteri, Pediococcus acidilactici, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Prebiotic: Inulin; Other ingredients: maltodextrin, tapioca dextrose, and silica.
The serving size is actually the same for all dogs, regardless of size. Simply mix 1 level scoop in with your dog’s food. Can’t get any easier than that.