Our pets are magical creatures that can heal pretty much any emotional ailment we might be experiencing. But science claims that your dog is doing more than nursing your broken heart.
Your furry companion might actually be boosting your immune system and keeping you from getting sick.
Last year, in The New England Journal of Medicine, a study was published showing that Amish children who grew up with many animals were much less likely to be diagnosed with asthma than those who were raised separate from pets.
Jack Gilbert, the director of the Microbiome Center at the University of Chicago, told the New York Times this is because animals carry many different kinds of bacteria that actually strengthened their immune system from a young age.
When you have a dog in the house, you automatically have more bacterial species floating around, but although that sounds gross, it can serve a purpose for your health.
When you don’t come into contact with enough bacterial allies, as they’re called, your immune system has a hard time distinguishing between what microbes are friendly and which aren’t. That’s why your system gets stronger when it’s exposed to a variety of bacteria—and that’s exactly what your dog brings into the equation.
Dr. Gilbert thinks living with dogs (and even cats) can make us healthier in the long run. There still needs to be more research conducted to find further conclusions, but it’s safe to say that your dog is your hero.