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Compass H e alt h DR. DOG New research shows that the microbes contained in a dog’s gut could have a probiotic effect on the human body — fostering the growth of positive microorganisms and enhancing overall health. T E X T BY M O R G A N L I N D S E Y Studies have long shown that dog owners live happier, healthier lives, but is there more to this than just unconditional love and companionship? The researchers at the University of Arizona believe so. “We think dogs might work as probiotics to enhance the health of the bacteria that live in our guts,” says Dr. Charles Raison of University of Arizona’s College of Medicine. “These ‘microbiota’ are increasingly recognized as playing an essential role in our mental and physical health, especially as we age.” It’s a proven fact that dogs and their owners begin to share much of the same gut bacteria over time, and now it’s time to quantify those health benefits. We don’t expect dogs to replace probiotic yogurt anytime soon, but give your canine friend a big kiss today. It can’t hurt. 22