Those slurpy dog licks just might be good for you.
A team of researchers from the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado, Boulder, are about to embark on a study of whether people who live with dogs benefit from their canine companions’ plentiful bacteria. In particular, they’re looking at whether dogs might act “as probiotics to enhance the health of bacteria that live in our guts.”
Modern medicine has eliminated plenty of disease-causing bacteria but could be destroying bacteria that are beneficial. Living with dogs might help, the researchers hypothesize. For instance, studies have shown that children raised with dogs are less prone to asthma and allergies.
The study, slated to start this year, will pair people age 50 and older with shelter dogs over several months, according to the study’s website, www.uadogstudy.org. In addition to bacteria, the study will look at whether whether introducing a dog into the home of older adults will improve their sleep, their muscle and bone strength, their ability to move around and their overall happiness.