Dogs have been coexisting with humans for thousands of years. They have been our closest allies since the days we were roaming the plains as hunters and gatherers. Dogs have evolved needing us, but have we evolved needing them?
Dogs Can Lower Stress
According to a study from the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, conducted at Replacements, a repair and manufacturing company which had allowed their worker’s to have animals at the workplace for over 15 years. As part of the week-long assessment, they recruited over 75 employees to participate in the experiment, each of whom would give saliva samples upon waking and complete 4 survey tests each day.
Those that had originally brought their dogs to work were asked to bring their dogs on every other day for comparisons. The results of that test showed that those that brought their dogs to work had the lowest levels of stress, about 10 to 20 points lower than those who didn’t have pets with them or at all according to the study’s metrics. All members also scored high on the job satisfaction rate of the survey than the industry norm, which suggested that having animals can have an effect on overall stress levels and performance.
Protection Against Infections, Specifically Asthma
While the exact association between early exposure to animals and subsequent risk for asthma and allergic disease is still unclear, some scientists state that the presence of animals, specifically dogs, throughout the childhood years. According to a study conducted from JAMA Pediatrics, Dog exposure during the first year of life was associated with a decreased risk of asthma in school-aged children and in preschool-aged children 3 years or older, but not in children younger than 3 years.
In the comparable study cases that were referenced, scientists found that the results favored the hygiene hypothesis, which favored maturation of the immune system and exposure to microbes in childhood. The hygiene hypothesis referenced a study made by the University of California, San Fransisco, which stated that asthma-associated inflammatory responses in the lungs were greatly reduced in mice previously exposed to dog-associated dust, when compared to mice that were exposed to dust from homes without pets and control mice not exposed to any dust.