On the day of release of a new product line that we have supported an Australian vet scientist in developing, I thought I would talk about the animals a bit.
I tend to go on and on about the key things in a healthy life being real food, exercise, sleep and learning. But things are never that simple even if we want to categorise life that way. We are connected to many things on this planet - including to our pets in more ways than you think.
When we recently completed our own clinical studies on the effect of seaweed extracts on human gut health, we analyses the gut flora of our participants in full. We could actually see signatures of cat ownership in the gut microbiome of people in our study.
This type of research is expanding now and demonstrating how connected we truly are to the world and life around us. Broadly there are measurable benefits to health through our gut microbiota that are linked to animals. We are truly experiencing, and even benefitting, from microbe sharing with animals.
A recent research group in the USA demonstrated that the gut flora and immune system of children that grew up with strong connections to animals, with a barnyard as a playground, were more well developed. These children had fewer immune system challenges including allergies.
Similarly dogs ownership is now being linked to immune systems and health benefits by diversifying our own gut microbiome. It isn't surprising when we have learnt that both dogs and cats shed 10,000s of bacteria throughout our homes each day, but so do you and I. We each contribute to a pool of probiotics that contribute to the diversity of life in our guts and our homes - like it or not.
That said, just like humans can pass on diseases to each other, so can our animals. It is still important to keep basic (not sterile) hygiene in place with good old soap and water, and keep your pet bowls far away from your own food.
Sometimes when I conduct research, it still surprises me when things turn out the way that theory tells us. My mantra is that life is all so connected, but when the patterns of that shine through in the data, it still blows me away that we can actually measure it.
To celebrate our links to pets, and to support their own gut microbiome which we now know also affects us, we wanted to launch the Anipal range on our website to share with our seaweed lovers.
It has been a few years of discussion between Steph Stubbe, RSPCA veterinarian extraordinaire, and myself, that resulted in her launch of the Anipal range of pet treats targeting the health, joy and sustainable options. We even undertook a study with University of Wollongong students on the ecological pawprint of the prototype products to make sure that they were the most sustainable and healthy treats that they could be.
Currently dog and horse treats are available, and Steph is running a full agenda of plans for our seaweed in pet treats for the future.
Best in seaweed to you and your pets.