The aim of our case-control study is to evaluate the effects of a diet integrated with the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus D2/CSL (CECT 4529) on the nutritional status and faecal consistency of healthy dogs belonging to the English Cocker Spaniel (ECS) and Labrador Retriever (LR) breeds. A total of 30 dogs were enrolled in this study, and they were randomly assigned to a Control (CTR, n = 14) and a Treated group (LACTO, n = 16). The trial consisted in a 7-days adaptation period where all the animals received the same commercial food, followed by a 35-days of data collection period where the LACTO group received the food supplemented with Lactobacillus acidophilus D2/CSL. We evaluated Body weight (BW), Body Condition Score (BCS) and Skinfold thickness, Faecal Score (FS) and Faecal Moisture (FM). All dogs in the LACTO group maintained an ideal BCS score during the whole experimental period compared to the CTR group. A significant decrease in skin thickness was found throughout the trial in the LACTO group. A significant improvement of the FM was recorded in the LACTO compared to the CTR group in the overall period for both dog breeds, and the FS significantly decreased in the LACTO group. Our results showed good maintenance of the nutritional conditions in dogs that are prone to overweight and a significant improvement of faecal parameters, meaning that even in healthy dogs with no gastrointestinal disorder the addition of this supplement to the diet helps to maintain the optimal balance of their intestinal microbiota.
Our study showed a good maintenance of the nutritional status and a significant improvement of faecal parameters of dogs, meaning that the supplement helps to maintain the optimal balance of their intestinal microbiota. Further studies are needed to increase the sample size and to test the long term Lactobacillus acidophilus D2/CSL effects on weight control and on faecal parameters of healthy dogs, and on gut health status of dogs with intestinal disorders or dysbiosis. Based on present data and other recent research results, the use of probiotics, prebiotics, or synbiotic developed for modulating the gut microbiomes, could be considered as a novel approach and a valid alternative or additional therapy for canine overweight and other metabolic disorders in the near future.