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Puppy Kisses Probiotics: Dog licks increase good bacteria in humans?

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Posted on January 6, 2016: “There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face,” said philosopher Bernard Williams. Many dog lovers are well acquainted with this quote, but did you know that the germs that are smeared on your face along with puppy licks may actually be beneficial to you?

Research to drool on

Certain ‘cleanliness’ freaks shudder at the thought of being in proximity with dog fur and cringe at the idea of being licked or sniffed by one. The next time they hammer in their theory to you, tell them that the researchers of the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona, are looking to prove that those who live with dogs actually benefit from their abundant bacteria.

Researchers are looking to conduct a study to unravel whether canines could act as portals of probiotics to better the quality of the bacteria that thrives in the gastrointestinal tract of their human companions. If the test results are affirmative, then these bacteria, also known as microbiota, will be found to better the immunity and overall health of humans.

Modern medicine has annihilated plenty of disease-causing bacteria, but in the process has also done away with beneficial bacteria. The hypothesis of these researchers is that living with dogs may be beneficial in building up good bacteria. Studies indicate that kids brought up with dogs are less prone to developing asthma and allergies.

Process

This research will have two phases. In the first phase, dog and human samples will be collected and the influence of dogs and humans on the microbiome will be analysed. In the next phase, it’ll be examined as to how dogs may give the human immune system a boost.

As per the website for the study: www.uadogstudy.org, people over fifty years of age will be paired with shelter dogs for this research. Apart from the influence of bacteria on them, the study will also explore if introducing a canine to the home of an older adult will lead to better sleep, muscle and bone prowess, locomotion ability and general happiness levels.

Funding

If the results of the research point towards the notion that dogs promote health in humans, the scientists of this study predict that there’ll be an increase in the adoption of dogs from shelter homes. You can donate to this research, by visiting www.uadogstudy.org.  

The fund-raising for the first phase of this research programme is on. It amounts to $30,000 (or roughly Rs 19,85,173.50). The second phase will require an amount of $45,000. The sum total amounts to $75,000 (or approx. Rs. 49, 62,933.75). Crowdsourcing is ongoing to fund this research.

Check out the study’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DogsasProbiotics. Apart from liking the page, you are also encouraged to share how your life has been positively transformed by your dog. You may also follow their mission on Twitter @DogsasProbiotics and post a photograph of yourself with your dog.

A good way to get involved as dog lovers, we say!

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