We have one dog and two cats. I am a dog guy and the ladies of the house brought in those cats. True to form, the cats sense the one person in the house that wishes they were not there (me) and always seem to want to climb on my lap. I love Jake the dog. Any of you dog lovers out there know that special bond you have with your dog. That “unconditional love” thing is something to behold.
Well, when it comes to weight control, we all know that more walks with our dogs will boost caloric expenditure and help our weight control efforts. However, here is sort of a surprise: Having dogs and/or cats can improve your chances of not having obesity issues and the reason has zero to do with exercise.
A study out of Alberta showed that homes with pets (70% dogs) showed higher levels of two types of microbes, Ruminococcus and Oscillospira, associated with lower risks of allergic disease and obesity. Having certain microbes in our guts are beneficial in body functions including immunity. However, absorption of “bad” calories can also be impacted by a change in our bodies’ microbial flora.
Now, by no means I am suggesting that having a dog (or ugh, a cat) will allow you to eat Twinkies and not gain weight. However, perhaps aside from the enforced exercise a dog will provide you, there may exist another mechanism as to how having animals may help you control weight.
Go visit the nearest dog rescue!!!