A research project of the University of Helsinki and Finnish health and environmental organizations have made some interesting discoveries about the connection between dog and human allergies.
The project, known as DogEnvi, found that dogs are more likely to have allergies when their owners have allergies. The researchers were interested in finding out why, speculating that it might have something to do with a shared gut/skin microbiome among dogs and humans living together.
They studied 168 dog/owner pairs living in both urban and rural environments. Their findings showed that rural dogs and humans had a lower incidence of allergies than urban dog/human pairs.
Interestingly, rural dogs and humans were exposed to a more diverse variety of microbes yet showed fewer signs of allergies.
Why do urban dogs and their owners have more shared allergies? The researchers say that dogs and humans living mostly indoors in close quarters share many of the same microbes, especially skin microbes.
“For both dogs and humans, the risk of developing allergic diseases was at its lowest when the skin microbiota was shaped by a rural environment and a lifestyle that promotes microbial abundance. Such a lifestyle was associated with a number of different animals in the family, as well as larger family size,” said one of the researchers.
Does your dog suffer from skin allergies? Click HERE for more information on canine atopic dermatitis.