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One Study Says Dog Kisses Can Lead to Better Health

For dog owners everywhere, it’s a common experience to be plastered with sloppy dog kisses on a regular basis. This can be a bit disconcerting for the uninitiated dog owner, for onlookers, or for unsuspecting visitors and guests who get loved on a little more than they were expecting. As a dog owner, you might even contemplate all the things your dog has put in their mouth, from dirty socks, to licking themselves in their nether regions, and even maybe eating some cat feces every now and again.

But luckily, this spreading of dog germs is actually thought to be good for us, according to some new research being done at the University of Arizona. Dr. Charles Raison, the principal investigator for the study, believes the bacteria contained within a dog’s digestive system might be beneficial for our own digestive systems. In essence, these bacteria act as probiotics to enhance our physical and mental health, and are thought to be even more beneficial as we grow older.

The study aims to pair human owners with dogs from the humane society for three months. Before the study begins, both the humans and the dogs will have samples taken from the bacteria in their digestive systems, and researchers will also look at their diet, physical fitness levels, and their immune system responses. Every month, testing will attempt to conclude whether both subjects have had any positive influences on the other for all of the factors that were tested at the beginning of the study.

The researchers won’t be testing for kissing specifically however, as bacteria spreads easily enough between organisms who share the same space for such a length of time. One of the fundamental goals of the research is to answer a question about the relationship between dogs and humans. We know we love our furry companions, but has that changed to include our microbes living in harmony together too? Hopefully this study will shed some light on a newfound reason to love our dogs even more.