Link Between Dog Bacteria and Human Health

Mar 20, 2015Dog Health, Human - Dog Bond, Human Health

Dog kisses – some people like them while others are totally grossed out by even the thought of touching lips with their furry family members. It turns out there may actually be health benefits to doggie smooches. Researchers from University of Arizona (Human-Animal Interaction Research Initiative or HAIRI) and UC San Diego (Professor Rob Knight) are investigating if a dogs microbiota (the microorganisms that inhabit the dogs body) are beneficial to human health. The theory is that dogs may be acting similar to yogurt by providing beneficial bacteria and having a probiotic effect on their owners.

The study was partially inspired by research at University of Colorado Boulder in 2013 that showed married couples share more microbiota with their dog than with their spouse. In fact, the study also indicated there is a stronger microbial connection between parents and the family dog than between parents and their children.

Dr. Charles Raison, the principal investigator at the University of Arizona, said that kids raised with dogs don’t tend to get allergies and asthma. He believes dogs may have an anti-inflammatory effect based on effects in children. Just a few of the effects of inflammation are, allergies, asthma, arthritis, ciliac disease, crohn’s disease, atherosclerosis, fibromyalgia.

We at Pawsitive Paws have always believed dog kisses are not only a good thing but necessary for good health. Now we are happy to announce that science is backing up what we have known for a long time. So don’t be shy, smooch your pooch. If anybody gives you a hard time tell them it’s for your health.

If you are interested in what you, your family or even your dogs gut bacteria look like, visit the link below. This project is looking for people who would like to see how their gut bacteria measure up to the general population. There is a small fee but the results might be interesting. If we participate we’ll enter a blog post with the results.
American Gut Project

For an interesting write-up on the University of Colorado, Boulder study, follow the link below.
University of Colorado Boulder – “Microbial Differences Between Parents, Kids and Dogs”

A good article in New York Magazine written by someone who participated in the American Gut Project
“Some of My Best Friends Are Germs”

For a local article on the subject see the San Diego U-T article, “Dog Germs May Be Good For You”.