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Spit take: UA exploring link between good human health, dog saliva

PHOENIX — Fido’s wet kisses may be helping you live longer.

Researchers at the University of Arizona are exploring a possible biological link between good internal health in seniors and man’s best friend. The study will pair 20 older adults with dogs from the local Humane Society for six months.

“Based on the data we have to date, we think that dogs really are protectors of the gut,” Charles Raison said.

He and a team of researchers have a hunch that dog’s drool — and poop — share beneficial microorganisms.

“These organisms help us survive,” Raison explained. “If your microbial material is not rich, you’re much more susceptible to Alzheimer’s … even cancer is beginning to be associated with the microbial species living in our guts.”

If the adults’ biotic levels rise with exposure to the dogs, Raison will expand the study to collect more evidence.

A University of Colorado-Boulder study found married couples share more microbiota with their dogs than with each other.

Raison said studies already show kids raised around dogs and other animals have a reduced risk of getting allergies.