Dogs in the house

If you need a reason to become a dog lover, how about their ability to help protect kids from allergies and obesity and the rest of us from depression. Dogs are good for you.

A new study shows that babies from families with pets – 70 per cent of which were dogs – presented with higher levels of two types of microbes associated with lower risks of allergic disease and obesity.

Bacteria is good for us

Dogs and humans carry a lot of the same bacteria in their guts. The theory is that exposure to dirt and bacteria early in life – for example, in a dog’s coat and on its paws – can create immunity in children.

The latest findings build on two decades of research that show children who grow up with dogs have lower rates of asthma.

Many scientists believe some of the reasons immune problems have been on the increase, in kids particularly, is that we just aren’t coming into contact with enough beneficial bacteria.

Too clean?

pet-hygeineThere is growing concern that in our obsession with hygiene and anti-bacterial products we have become too clean for our own good.

Allergies and asthma are examples of the immune system being out of kilter. An allergy is our immune system attacking something that it shouldn’t attack, because it hasn’t been tuned properly. When deprived of contact with various bacterial allies, like the kind found in dogs, our immune systems sometimes lose the ability to distinguish between friend and foe.

We are running the risk of scrubbing, disinfecting, vacuuming and wiping out the mix of microscopic creatures that our immune systems need to develop properly. Spending so much time in bacteria-poor indoor environments can cause our bodies to overreact to harmless substances later on, making us sick.

Get a dog

Pets, and dogs especially, add a lot to the diversity of the indoor microbiome.

Dogs roll in the mud. They sniff faeces and other dodgy substances and they lick everything. However, if the latest research on pets and human health is to be believed, dogs are good for you and their dog-borne microbes work to keep you and your family healthy.

Dogs keep you healthy

Exposure to animal micro-organisms helps to stimulate a child’s immune system so that it doesn’t become overly sensitive later in life.

A University of Alberta study showed exposure to pets in the womb, or up to three months after birth, increases levels of two types of bacteria: Ruminococcus and Oscillospira. he abundance of these two bacteria were doubled when there was a pet in the house. Pet exposure affected the gut microbiome indirectly – from the dog to mother to unborn baby – and are associated with lower risks of developing autoimmune illnesses like asthma and allergies, as well as obesity.

Dogs make you happy

Pet owners have long known that having animals around can lift our mood. Scientists now suspect that the physiological effect of bacteria in our guts may contribute to the anti-depressive benefit of pet ownership. Certain bacteria, or microbiota, are increasingly recognised as playing an essential role in our mental health.

But at Auckland Kennel & Cattery we’ve always known dogs were good for us, that’s why we love looking after them so much. The people who run and work in our doggie daycare centre love dogs – that’s why they’re here.

Dogs are good for you, so look after your dog when you go away. Staying at our kennels will be a positive, enjoyable experience for your dog. Going on holiday? Plan your dog’s holiday with us as far in advance as you can: reputable, long-standing establishments like our kennels are usually fully booked over summer. Call us on 09 299 7415 to book your dog’s holiday with us.