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The microbial aura of our pets

In Dirty Dog: Do Pets Track Bacteria in Your Home? on the Popular Science blog, science journalist Brooke Borel describes her recent experience contributing to the citizen science experiment called The Wild Life of Our Homes run by Rob Dunn and Holly Menninger at North Carolina State University. Here she presents a beautiful graphic depicting how the samples that she collected from her house, herself and her dog compared with some of the other participants in the study. This graphic was published as a sidebar to a longer article on the Wild Life of Our Homes project by Joel Warner in the April issue of Popular Science. One of the interesting things Brooke learned from participating in the study is that apparently she has dog microbes on her tongue and other parts of her body. She wants to know what we all think about sharing our houses, beds, couches and microbes with our pets.

Yuki picking up some soil microbes to bring back home
Yuki picking up some soil microbes to bring back home. Photo by Holly Ganz.

Personally I’m all for microbial sharing with our pets. I even think that we should allow dogs in restaurants, trains, buses and other public places like they do in Europe. I was going to posit that maybe Europeans are better at picking up after their dogs than we are but then I remembered that when I stepped in dog poop last year while visiting Marseille, my friend Marie said “Welcome to France!”

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