Dogs are so important in our lives. Most of us cannot imagine living without one.
But did you know that they also boost your immune system?
It starts in early childhood. Children raised around pets have significantly less asthma. We know that asthma is a significant co-factor determining the severity of illness with COVID 19 and other respiratory viruses. (https://acaai.org/news/dogs-may-protect-against-childhood-eczema-and-asthma https://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(17)30945-6/fulltext)
A study with college students showed that just petting a dog for just 18 minutes significantly raised the level of IgA in the saliva. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15762389) IgA is the first line of defense in our immune system for bacteria and viruses that enter through the mouth or nose!
Many studies have shown increased diversity of the gut microbiome in pet owners. Increased microbiome diversity is further associated with improved immune response and resilient health. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6125393/)
Dogs provide the best excuse to go for a walk. Exercise, sunshine and fresh air have all shown benefits to our ability to prevent and fight off illness. (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm)
Dogs help us to alleviate stress. And we all know that stress lowers our immune response and makes us much more susceptible to illness.
So give your dog an extra big hug today and thank him or her for helping to keeping you safe.
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