A cat’s belly looks like a carrot!
This is because it contains a large number of bacteria that is often eaten by dogs.
But what does this mean for our health?
Read more:Dog owners may think the cat’s “belly” is a banana, but they are actually eating bacteria.
Bacteria can cause problems for humans and other animals, including stomach ulcers, diarrhoea, blood clots and cancer.
The bacterial load in our gut is a reflection of how well we are digesting the food we eat.
“Our gut bacteria is very important for digestion, and our food choices, whether it’s cheese or biscuits or chips or whatever,” says Dr Maryanne Mottram, an expert in food microbiology at the University of York.
“It’s like a kitchen sink.
Our bacteria are there to clean things up.
It’s important to keep this in mind, because we can have some bad outcomes.”
In humans, it is not just bacteria that cause bowel problems.
Some bacteria are also involved in obesity.
“When you look at our gut bacteria, we are really, really good at controlling obesity,” Dr Mottrams says.
But what does it mean for us?
Read More:How to protect yourself against a dog bite: What you need to knowIf you are a dog owner, this could be a surprise for you.
“We know that dogs are attracted to certain types of food and they will chase it away.
That’s why dogs have big tummies,” says Louise.”
But we don’t think this is the case for humans.
Our gut bacteria may not be the problem.
It may be the other way round.”
Louise has been watching her dog for the last six years.
When she first saw him, she didn’t think anything of it.
But he has become very good with his new owner, and has become the centre of Louise’s life.
“He’s been very protective of me,” she says.
“When he was a baby, he was my main dog and he would just chase me around.
I’d try to catch him.
He would come to me for help, and he always stayed in my arms.”
Louise says her husband has also noticed a change in her.
“He’s much more attentive to her, and I can see that now.
I’m not worried about him being upset with her.”
The change in behaviour Louise is seeing, as well as the increase in bowel problems, have been noticed in the cat community as well.
Cat owners say they feel like they have to be more careful.
“It’s always important to look after the health of your pets, especially when you come from a rural community, so I think it’s a good thing to be careful,” Louise says.
For dog owners, there is no doubt that the increased amount of bacteria in their intestines may be causing problems.
“We have got a big problem with bacteria,” says Ms Mottrama.
“What is causing this is that the dog is eating more of the food than they are digestable, and that can lead to a bacterial overgrowth.”
“It has nothing to do with the bacteria, but the human diet,” she continues.
“They’re taking more of what the dog eats than they can digest.”
If your dog eats too much, it can cause diarrhoeas and even cancer.
“There’s a lot of evidence to show that if you have a dog that is a high-fat, low-protein diet, then it is more likely to cause colonic issues,” says Professor Mottrop.
“And the bacteria that we’re talking about are not only present in the gut, but also in the colonic wall.”
So what can we do?
Louise has noticed a lot more positive things about her new home.
“I love it.
I don’t know why.
I’ve only seen him in the morning, and then I go out and play and then he comes and sits and sleeps in the front yard,” she said.”
I haven’t had a problem at all.”
Louie is one of the lucky ones.
“My husband is the most patient person in the world, so he’s been extremely supportive.
It really is just a matter of keeping him occupied.”
Dr Mottrap says while the increase of bacteria may be affecting the gut of dogs, the increase is less likely to be affecting humans.
“In the last decade or so, there’s been a huge increase in the number of dogs that are being raised in homes with good sanitation, which means that there’s less bacteria present in those animals.”
“If we think of our gut as a toilet, then the bacteria are in there,” she adds.
“So, if you’re feeding a dog a lot, then that’s probably going to lead to the bacteria getting in there and being transferred to the human, as we’ve seen with other types of faecal bacteria.”Louises