Could pets offer “probiotic” benefits to their owners?
Researchers out of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) believe that pets could be a source of good gut health for their humans and plan to research the effects of pets in their owners’ lives.
The research is being funded by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and will look at pet owners who are 60 years or older and are taking antibiotics.
Antibiotics are broad-spectrum medicines that disrupt gut health.
They don’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria in a gut; they just go after it all so that infection and disease can be killed. And while that’s important for killing the infection and disease, it also kills the good bacteria in a gut that can bring everything from diarrhea to severe Clostridioides Difficile (C.Diff) infection. (An important sidenote about antibiotics in dogs–they DO disrupt a dog’s gut health, so if your dog is given a course of antibiotics from your vet, it’s important to build his gut back up. Bernie’s Perfect Poop is the best and easiest way to do this!)
The researchers hypothesize that pets may be a source of microbiota that can help bring balance to their owner’s gut microbiome, and therefore help improve their human’s gut health!
They believe that the gut microbiomes of humans and their pets look similar to each other before the course of the antibiotics and then break during the phase the human is taking the antibiotics, but steadily come back in sync after the antibiotics are completed.
The ability of animal contact to impact the human microbiome
In an article with Veterinary Practice News, Dr Laurel Redding said, “A growing number of studies have documented the ability of animal contact to impact the human microbiome in ways that may help prevent certain types of disease, such as cardiovascular disease and asthma. In conducting this study, our goal is to shed light on the microbial exchanges that occur between pets and pet owners and assess whether pets can mitigate disruption of their owner’s gut microbiome following antibiotic therapy.” Dr. Redding is an assistant professor of epidemiology at Penn Vet, and the principal investigator of the study.
In effect, your dog’s good gut health could help your gut health be better too! And we all know that good health begins in the gut!
The study’s results could even support the importance of the relationship of older adults with pets for not just better mental health and bonding, but physical health as well.
Steven Feldman is the president of HABRI and says they’re proud to fund the research because it will offer more understanding to the physiological health benefits between pets and their humans. Feldman says that pets and humans are good for each other so it’s exciting to continue to find more evidence to support this.
Another big takeaway from this research is the importance of keeping your dog’s gut health the healthiest it can be! Ensuring his microbiome is thriving and balanced could be key to helping yours be the same.
The easiest way to do this is to make sure you add Bernie’s Perfect Poop to each meal! Perfect Poop combines premium fiber, pre- and probiotics and digestive enzymes to help your dog get the most from every bite and keep his gut health in tip top shape. Perfect Poop helps keep your dog’s gut balanced, and that may mean he’ll be able to help you keep yours balanced too!
Aren’t dogs AMAZING?