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Are our pets probiotic?

Wed, 14 June 2017

Are our pets probiotic?

The science world is paying increasing attention to the microbiome, which is the system of bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit our homes. We are generally encouraged to think that these things are bad for us but only a tiny proportion of such bugs pose a threat to people.

In fact, recent research has concluded that reducing the microbiome through use of anti-bacterial soap, disinfectants and other products could pose a threat to us.

The research suggests that when there aren’t credible threats for our immune system to fight, it begins to turn on our bodies leading to the increase in conditions such as asthma and allergies in modern society.

However, recent studies have revealed that keeping pets such as dogs or outdoor cats could introduce beneficial elements to the microbiomes of our homes.

Ireland AM’s resident vet Pete Wederburn was in the studio this morning to discuss this finding and where the line should be drawn when it comes to our pets.

He said that “children who grow up with animal around them have much lower instances of allergies and asthma. For example, Amish families where the animals are very much living beside children have far lower rates of these diseases.”

However, while the research points to possible benefits, Pete also notes that we should take sensible precautions when it comes to the cleanliness of our furry friends. He said that we should be particularly mindful of dog worms and that dogs should be treated for worms every one-to-three months. Dog owners should also pick up their faeces regularly as dog worm eggs only become dangerous once they have been in the environment for two to three weeks.

You can find all of Pete’s advice in the video below:

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