The dust in your house consists of dead skin cells, decomposing insects, fibers from clothes and other fabrics, dirt and plant debris from outdoors, bacteria, pet dander, and a lot of other stuff that you probably don’t want to know about. Another fun fact: the microbes found in household dust usually correspond to the microbes found in the homeowners’ guts. Gross, right?
Well, microbes in your gut can influence your immune system. And research has shown that owning pets increases the diversity of the bacteria found in your household dust. (Not surprising.) But when researchers at UC San Francisco fed this bacteria-rich dust to mice, they found that the mice that ingested the “dog dust” were less likely to have allergic reactions than mice that ingested bacteria found in a non-pet home.
So far, it seems that the protective effects have their greatest impact on young offspring- especially newborns. If these new findings are confirmed in humans, this could help researchers in the development of probiotics for infants that could potentially reduce the risk of allergies later in life. But as this isn’t the first study showing a correlation between animal exposure early in life and reduced sensitivity to allergens, that puppy doesn’t sound like such a bad idea! Read more: