Monday, February 9, 2015

Kiss Your Dog - It's Good for You

All animals have microbiomes, an invisible blanket of trillions of bacterial organisms that live all over and in us.  Microbial communities vary widely between species and across individuals within a species, affected by age, environment, familial genetics and diet.  
A recent study suggests that our housemates may also directly affect the composition of our personal microbial signature, and the family dog is no exception.
If you kiss, hug, and share a bed with your dog, the two of you have more in common than you might think.  A study reveals that dog-owning families have more diverse and different microbial colonies than dog-less households. 

Adults who share a dog have more similar mouth microbes than those who don’t. Parents tend to share more kinds of mouth bacteria with their dog than they do their children. And children raised with dogs have many different microbes than dog-less kids. 
Whether or not these spit swapping microbes serve a purpose or are just passing though is not clear.  But research shows that children raised with dogs are less likely to be afflicted by asthma.