Pucker Up: Your Dog’s Kisses Could Prevent Allergies

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Remember that scene from Charlie Brown’s Halloween classic “The Great Pumpkin”… the one where Lucy comes lip to lip with Snoopy while bobbing for apples and runs screaming “uck, bluck, poison dog lips!” Well guess what, she was wrong!

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Yes it turns out that those of us who love to give our boys a big hug and a kiss right on the smacker got it right because man’s best friend might very well hold the key to alleviating those nasty allergic reactions.

It’s true! Apparently we carry close to 10 times more bacteria than cells in our bodies and researchers from the University of Arizona are launching a new study to see if bacteria found on dogs (and their saliva) can help lessen the sneezing, itching and hives that go along with allergic reactions.

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How? Over a 12 week period, they will partner 50 to 60 year olds with dogs and then measure to see if their immune responses are affected by Rover’s presence. Apparently the dog could work as a “probiotic” and help build healthy bacteria colonies in the human.

In fact, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Vanderbilt University claim earlier studies found infants born to a household with dogs had lower rates of allergies and asthma. Apparently pooches tend to spread the love (and bacteria) by licking everything in sight and this likely explains how that good bacteria gets shared. No kidding!

But researchers are also keen to figure out why allergies and asthma have increased in the Western world. One theory is that human bacteria has been depleted by not being exposed to other harmless bacteria and the thinking is that dog slobber could help restore that balance.

The study is just the first step to investigating how dogs and their bacteria can affect immune health, say researchers.  But be honest, we all know you’ll never convince the cat that it’s cool to let the dog lick her.

[Source: ABC News]


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