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Dust in homes with dogs may lower risk of asthma-linked infection

Published: Sunday, Aug. 30 2015 8:33 a.m. MDT

Annelie Pettersson sits with her two kids Alva, 11, and Gustav, 13 and their dog Nessie Monday, May 7, 2012.  Dust from households with dogs may help protect against an asthma-related respiratory infection, according to results presented Tuesday. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Annelie Pettersson sits with her two kids Alva, 11, and Gustav, 13 and their dog Nessie Monday, May 7, 2012. Dust from households with dogs may help protect against an asthma-related respiratory infection, according to results presented Tuesday. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Our take: Homes with dogs have a lower chance of asthma-related respiratory infections due to bacterial communities dogs carry that is actually helpful bacteria.

Score one for man's best friend. For folks who start to sneeze and wheeze as soon as they enter a dog owner's home, new research may come as a surprise: Dust from households with dogs may help protect against an asthma-related respiratory infection, according to results presented Tuesday at this year's General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Previous research has pointed to the idea that sharing space with cats and dogs could actually be beneficial to the immune system. And lead author Kei Fujimura, a researcher at UC San Francisco, showed in earlier work that such pet-friendly homes actually have microbiomes -- in this case, bacterial communities -- that are actually far more diverse than human-only households. Some of the bugs brought in could very well be helpful bacteria, like the ones that help you digest food in your gut.

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