National Pet Day
For you animal lovers out there, today (11th April) is National Pet Day, a day to simply celebrate your pets! So here at Love Your Gut we’ve explored the effect that pets can have on your microbiota.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, cats and dogs top the charts for the most popular pets we own and, since the beginning of the pandemic with so many of us spending more time at home, this has prompted even more people to become pet owners.
Pets and your gut microbiota!
Now, you may be thinking that although your pet gets celebrated every day, they do so many wonderful things for us that they deserve this day dedicated to them. What you may not know about your pet though, is the effect they could be having on your gut microbiota – the community of microbes living inside our gastrointestinal tract.
Researchers exploring the gut microbiota of people living in America found some differences between people who owned a pet and those who didn’t. Eleven operational taxonomic units (OTUs) – groups of closely related bacteria – were found to be different between people who owned a pet and those that didn’t. In particular, four OTUs were more abundant in those who did own a pet – including the genus Akkermansia, which has previously been shown to be associated with lower levels of obesity.
These findings suggest that the close contact we share with our pets could be providing us with the benefit of not only comfort and affection, but also their microbes! More research is needed to understand if these changes have an effect on our health.
So this National Pet Day, remember to show your pets some love, and they might just give you something you weren’t expecting in return.
Love Your Gut
To find out more see the Love Your Gut website
- YouGov (2020) UK pet ownership: cats vs dogs
- Ratschen et al. (2020) PLoS ONE 15(9): e0239397
- Kates et al. (2020) Front Cell Infect Microbiol doi:10.3389/fcimb.2020.00073
- Zhou et al. (2020) Nutr Metab doi.org/10.1186/s12986-020-00516-1