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National Dog Day: Can dogs prevent Crohn’s disease?

Living with dogs may have a positive impact on the gut microbiome.
Small child hugging dog outside
Small child hugging dog outside

In honor of National Dog Day on Aug. 26, we are highlighting one of our newsworthy abstracts from DDW® 2022, that revealed that living with dogs early in life may be a protective factor against developing Crohn’s disease.

“Our study seems to add to others that have explored the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ which suggests that the lack of exposure to microbes early in life may lead to lack of immune regulation toward environmental microbes,” said Williams Turpin, PhD, the study’s senior author and a research associate with Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto.

The study found that exposure to dogs, particularly from ages 5 to 15, was linked with healthy gut permeability and balance between the microbes in the gut and the body’s immune response, all of which might help protect against Crohn’s disease. Similar effects were observed with exposure to dogs across all age groups.

The exact reasons why dog ownership appears to provide protection from Crohn’s disease remains unclear. However, this research further points to the importance of studying the gut microbiome in understanding conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.

AGA's canine companions

Here are some of AGA staff’s own beloved dog companions. We’d love to see your dogs on social media! Tag us and use the hashtag #DogsOfAGA.

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