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We live in a world where bacteria is given a bum rap, but new research is showing there is a lot bacteria can do for us.


Exposing babies to puppies and other furry pets might help them accumulate two types of bacteria in their gut that are associated with a lower risk of allergies and obesity, a Canadian study suggests.

When researchers analyzed fecal samples from 746 babies, they found having dogs and cats in the home during pregnancy and early infancy was associated with higher levels of two gut microbes: Ruminococcus and Oscillospira, which have been linked with lower odds of allergies and obesity, respectively.

"The concept of a 'dog intervention' during pregnancy as a preventive measure for allergies and obesity is not too far-fetched, but definitive studies are required to provide evidence for this health benefit," said senior study author Anita Kozyrskyj, a pediatrics researcher at the University of Alberta.


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