Kylie Jenner did something that so many people think is totally weird, but it actually might be totally good for her health. She posted a Snapchat of herself giving her dog a big ol’ munchie kiss.
Is it really that much weirder than sniffing Frito feet? It’s definitely healthier. Here’s why:
The researchers at the University of Arizona (UA) believe that the tiny microbes in a dog’s gut might have a probiotic effect on humans. Our bodies have 500 different types of bacteria living inside of us (ew), some of it’s bad and some of it’s good. The helpful bacteria keeps our digestive and immune systems in tip top shape. As we age, we lose a lot of our good bacteria, negatively impacting our mental and physical health.
Researchers at UA’s new Human-Animal Interaction Research Initiative theorize that owning a dog and letting them plant a big smacker on you once in a while, will help replace the positive microorganisms in your body.
To prove this theory, researchers at UA are conducting a study that pairs adults 50 years or older with rescue pups from The Humane Society of Southern Arizona. Researchers will test the gut bacteria, mental well-being, activity level and immune function of the participants every month. They’ll also test the bacteria and emotional and physical state of the dogs over the course of the study. All tests will be non-invasive to keep members of both two-legged and four-legged groups happy.
Because a successful pup-human relationship is crucial to the study, volunteers can choose their study-buddy. At the end of the trial, the participants will have the option adopt the pups.
The study servers two important roles. Us humans have done a lot of work to eliminate the bad bacteria from our lives, but according to Dr. Charles Raison, a professor of psychiatry at UA and head of the study, we’re overusing antibacterials and eliminating the good stuff from our systems. Our furry friends could help replenish some of those microbes. Raison says,
“We think dogs might work as probiotics to enhance the health of the bacteria that live in our guts.”
Anthropologist Kim Kelly notes that everyone on the study is driven by a strong love of animals. She and her collaborators want to explore the deep bond between dogs and humans.
“Has the relationship between dogs and humans gotten under the skin? We believe it has.”
The bond we share with our furbabies may be more than emotional. It’s likely physical, too.
If the results of this study prove positive, you’ll have definitive proof that the reason why you never leave your dog’s side isn’t because you’re irrationally attached, it’s because SCIENCE!!!
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