Is it OK to kiss your dog?
Well, if you ask us dogs, the answer is yes. And if you ask the scientists, it’s an ‘aye aye’ again!
The researchers at the University of Arizona (UA) believe that the tiny microbes in a dog’s gut might have a probiotic effect on humans. Human bodies have 500 different types of bacteria living inside of us, some of it’s bad and some of it’s good. The helpful bacteria help keep our digestive and immune systems in shape. As we age, we lose a lot of our good bacteria, negatively impacting our mental and physical health.
Researchers at the UA’s new Human-Animal Interaction Research Initiative theorize that dog kisses have a probiotic effect on the human body.
“We’ve co-evolved with dogs over the millennia, but nobody really understands what it is about this dog-human relationship that makes us feel good about being around dogs,” said Kim Kelly, an anthropology doctoral student and one of the primary investigators on the study.
Previous research has shown that dog owners tend to be happier and healthier. Other studies have shown that dogs and their owners share much of the same gut bacteria over time.
“We think dogs might work as probiotics to enhance the health of the bacteria that live in our guts. These bacteria, or ‘microbiota,’ are increasingly recognized as playing an essential role in our mental and physical health, especially as we age,” said Dr. Charles Raison, principal investigator for the study and a UA professor of psychiatry in the College of Medicine.
It seems that just like yogurt, dog kisses do have a probiotic effect. So go ahead and kiss your dog! And while you are at it, share with us the pictures for a feature at Dog with Blog 🙂