There is no greater reward in life than owning a dog, if one is able to make the daily and lifetime commitment to proper pet care and ownership. It’s hard to imagine life without a dog, knowing how much joy they bring into our hearts and homes. Their unconditional love and devotion is often beyond comprehension.
Dogs are known for their ability to interpret our words, emotions, tonality, body movements and hand signals. They lower our blood pressure, ease loneliness, promote a happier mood, get us out to exercise and spark social interaction as we converse with other dog owners. Not to mention military, therapy and service dogs with unique training and skills that benefit humankind in extraordinary ways.
This amazing bond with our dogs is sparking a considerable amount of anthropological focus.
Researchers at the University of Arizona are now launching a study to determine if dogs can actually improve human health via possible “probiotic” effects inside our bodies.
According to the Phys.org article “Could Man’s Best Friend be Man’s Best Medicine?” (by Alexis Blue): “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. “Is it just that they’re fuzzy and we like to pet them, or is there something else going on under the skin? The question really is: Has the relationship between dogs and humans gotten under the skin? And we believe it has.”
The focus of the study is to explore whether living with dogs, in a cage-free and loving home environment, promotes the growth of positive microorganisms (i.e. “good bacteria”) that result in greater mental and physical health, particularly in older adults.
This study is an initiative by UA’s new Human-Animal Interaction Research and collaboration between the UA School of Animal & Comparative Biomedical Sciences, UA Norton School of Family and Consumer Science, the UA Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego and the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
Participants in the study must be 50 years or older, in relatively good health and not have lived with a dog for the past 6 months. They will be paired with a canine companion from the Humane Society and live together for 3 months.
There will be an initial evaluation of the human and dog’s gut bacteria, diet, physical activity levels and immune functions. Subsequent evaluations will be conducted each month to measure any positive impacts on gut microflora in both human and dog. Researchers also will note any changes in the mental health and emotional well-being of each participant.
Time will soon tell if this study flushes out the possibility whether dogs have a positive, probiotic effect on our internal systems as well as the physical and outwardly benefits we achieve by living with dogs.
For the complete Phys.org article, visit:
Hug your dog today and see how much better you feel!
Hugs from Doolittle’s Doghouse,