Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 7, 2023 by Crystal Uys


This post is sponsored by NomNomNow and contains affiliate links*

Research in human medicine is starting to reveal that the vast ecosystem of organisms in our digestive systems might be the key to health and healthy aging. And thankfully, researchers are also starting to look at and understand just how much this complex system impacts the health of our companion animals.

What is the microbiome?

The microbiome is a community of bacteria and other microbes that inhabit living organisms and impact a spectacular portion of daily life. While we generally think about the types of bacteria that make us sick, the microbiome is home to trillions of beneficial bacteria that help digest food, shape immune systems and maintain a healthy weight. Our pets’ gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of organisms that can be affected by many factors—including diet, the underlying biology of the pet, the development of the pet’s microbiome (i.e. the environment the pet grew up in and the diet they grew up eating), and other environmental factors. For this reason, there can be a lot of diversity between pets.

Introducing Dr. Ryan Honaker, Director of  Microbiology at NomNomNow

NomNomNow, the company you’ve come to know for its veterinarian formulated, gently cooked fresh diet, believes that the microbiome is an important part of keeping our pets healthy, and has hired Dr. Ryan Honaker as the Director of Microbiology. He  is also known as their “Poop Czar.” Dr. Honaker is working on analyzing the microbiomes of cats and dogs through DNA sequencing techniques. As he grows his research, NomNomNow will utilize the findings to optimize diet and processes, thereby, further enhancing the lives of pets.

I had a chance to ask Dr. Honaker about his research.

How did you get interested in research into the microbiome of pets?

I have been interested and working in the microbiome field for a number of years prior to joining NomNomNow. Scientifically, pets have some advantages over studying the microbiome in people. For example, we have better control over what they’re eating. Specifically for our customers, we know exactly what they’re eating, and there seems to be less variability between pets than people. These differences will help us to remove some significant sources of noise in the data, better enabling us to see meaningful signals. Second, people are happy and willing to share lots of health information about their pets, and this type of information makes the underlying microbiome information much more meaningful.

Additionally, being part of a pet health company that offers a suite of products and services can help us provide more holistic treatment solutions. And finally, there are some interesting publications implying that the microbiome of dogs is related to that of people, unsurprising really since we’ve been cohabitating and sharing food for a long time, so that findings in pets may be useful for human medicine. Bundled together it makes for a very interesting place to explore this rapidly expanding and very promising field of science.

What are the benefits of submitting your pet’s sample for analysis?

NomNomNow:INSIGHTS is our way of providing pet parents with as much actionable information about their pets as possible. By submitting your pets’ samples, you’ll be equipped with in-depth information about their gut health that can be shared with your veterinary medical team, and that can be monitored for changes over time. Since your pets can’t tell you how their feeling, obtaining detailed information regarding their physical well-being can help inform many decisions about their daily and long-term care.

What types of recommendations can pet parents expect after submitting their samples?

Currently, the report provides detailed information comparisons based on what is known in the literature regarding the individual bacterial groups and diversity scores. There are also dietary and supplement information and recommendations.

The report is very much a living document, which will expand both as the field progresses, but also as we collect sufficient data to do deeper and more interesting analysis and begin to generate our own insights and recommendations, and we regularly release updates. As part of this, we are working hard at looking deeper into the existing literature, following new developments, as well as analyzing our own data to provide more in-depth, personalized, and actionable recommendations.


NomNomNow Microbiome Testing Kit

The NomNomNow Insights Microbiome Kit will test for the microbes that are present in your cat’s gut at the time the sample is taken. Once they sequence your cat’s sample, you will receive an in-depth report describing the specific types and amounts of bacteria that colonize your cat’s gut and how that compares to an average cat. The information in the report will expand as more research data from other samples becomes available.

For more information about the Microbiome Testing Kit and to purchase, visit


About NomNomNow

Formulated by Dr. Justin Shmalberg, Clinical Associate Professor and Service Chief, Integrative Medicine, at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, all of NomNomNow’s formulas contain only fresh ingredients.

  • All food is human grade
  • Vitamins are all natural
  • All recipes meet AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) requirements
  • Recipes are made from only a handful of ingredients: meat, vegetables, healthy oils, and a vitamin and nutrient blend.
  • No additives, no artificial ingredients
  • Individually portioned meals to suit your cat’s caloric needs
  • Easy open pouch: simply tear open.

And best of all, it’s delivered fresh to your front door.

Read our review of NomNomNow here.

For more information about NomNomNow, and to order, please visit

*FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, which means that I was compensated to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will only see products or services featured on this site that I believe are of interest to our readers. The Conscious Cat is a participant in NomNomNow’s affiliate program. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. 

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