In today’s material world, researchers are looking inward towards our microbiome for answers to what ails us. Our microbiome is the gut environment where we have over 100 trillion bacteria living. That’s more bacteria than our total number of cells for our body! These bacteria work in balance to help with our digestion, immune system, and even chronic illnesses. It is becoming common knowledge that supplementing with probiotics can help diversify our overall microbiome, so we have more strains of bacteria working for us. And after a recent study, it seems that living with a dog also helps diversify our microbiomes.
If you’ve never been on the dog-ownership bandwagon, this gives you a new reason to consider it. Dogs may roll in the mud, sniff questionable things, and track in germs into our homes and laps…. which is EXACTLY what we need! Our worlds have become too clean, thanks to antibacterial soaps, sanitizers, and household cleaners. In our quest to clean up, we have literally wiped out microbes that our immune system needs to develop properly. So man’s best friend can provide us a healthy solution.
People spend a majority of time in almost sterile indoor environments. Latest research shows that children growing up in households with dogs have a lower risk for developing autoimmune illnesses like asthma and allergies.
- We all shed millions of bacteria into our environment, pets included.
- Exposure to animal micro-organisms during the first 3 months of life helps to stimulate a child’s immune system so it doesn’t become overly sensitive later in life.
Not all bacteria from pets is beneficial, so always remember to wash hands after handling pets, as they could carry salmonella bacteria on their skin and feces. Cats can carry toxoplasmosis; and dogs can lick us after licking questionable other things, transmitting that bacteria through breaks in our skin. But in the grand scheme of things, there is more to gain from pet ownership than risks.
When considering adopting a new pet please consider animal shelters first; and remember to spay/neuter your new pets. The overpopulation of pets is creating harsh realities for these innocent lives.