Dog bless you!
We already know that pets calm and soothe us, reducing stress levels, lowering our blood pressure, and also keeping us in good shape (as long as we don’t keep couch-potatoes). As if passionate pet owners need additional convincing that dogs are good for our health, new research has found even more evidence that dogs contribute to better physical health, in the form of protection from asthma and other kinds of respiratory viruses.
Researchers from UC San Francisco and the University of Michigan have found that dust from houses where dogs are present may actually provide protection from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a respiratory virus that is associated with a higher risk of developing childhood asthma. There has already been some research to show that children who grow up with house pets show increased protection from developing asthma, and this is the latest lab research to provide even stronger evidence to support this claim.
To test whether dogs in fact do provide added protection against developing asthma, the researchers conducted a study using three groups of mice (the scientific lab stand-ins for children, I suppose). They exposed one group of mice to house dust collected from homes that also had one or more dogs as a pet, and then exposed this group of mice to RSV. Another group of mice was not exposed to house dust but was also exposed to the virus. A final group of mice was exposed neither to the house dust or the RSV.