Dog introduction alters the home dust microbiota

A. R. Sitarik, S. Havstad, A. M. Levin, S. V. Lynch, K. E. Fujimura, D. R. Ownby, C. C. Johnson, G. Wegienka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Research has largely reported that dog exposure is associated with reduced allergic disease risk. Responsible mechanism(s) are not understood. The goal was to investigate whether introducing a dog into the home changes the home dust microbiota. Families without dogs or cats planning to adopt a dog and those who were not were recruited. Dust samples were collected from the homes at recruitment and 12 months later. Microbiota composition and taxa (V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene) were compared between homes that did and did not adopt a dog. A total of 91 dust samples from 54 families (27 each, dog and no dog; 17 dog and 20 no dog homes with paired samples) were analyzed. A significant dog effect was seen across time in both unweighted UniFrac and Canberra metrics (both P =.008), indicating dog introduction may result in rapid establishment of rarer and phylogenetically related taxa. A significant dog-time interaction was seen in both weighted UniFrac (P <.001) and Bray-Curtis (P =.002) metrics, suggesting that while there may not initially be large relative abundance shifts following dog introduction, differences can be seen within a year. Therefore, dog introduction into the home has both immediate effects and effects that emerge over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-547
Number of pages9
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • allergy
  • asthma
  • dog
  • hygiene hypothesis
  • microbiome
  • microbiota hypothesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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