Dogs’ (And Men’s) Fertility At Risk With Chemical Pollutants In The Home


(Picture Credit: Taboino School/EyeEm/Getty Images)

Most families live with chemical pollutants in their homes, sometimes without even realizing it. Hazardous chemicals can be found in so many of the products that we use every day. Most of the time, we don’t directly feel the effects of these chemicals and go unaware of the risks they present.

However, a new study may have found bigger risks of these chemicals that affect your male family members–including your male dogs.

Researchers from Nottingham traced a concerning decline in fertility among human males. They were able to correlate it to the presence of chemicals in the home.

Not only that, the effect appears to extend to male dogs in the house, as well. These chemicals could be present in your home, too.

You may think you safely lock away hazardous chemicals, like household cleaners, paint, antifreeze, and others. However, dangerous pollutants aren’t always so obvious. You may not be aware that they’re even present in the items you and your dog interact with every day.

Chemical Products At Home: A Fertile Ground For Infertility

Researchers explored two chemicals that are often ever-present in the home. These are DEHP–a plasticizer found in toys, clothes, and upholstery–and polychlorinated biphenyl 153–a dangerous compound that was banned decades ago but is still detectable in the environment, including food and water supplies.

By testing both sperm samples from men and male dogs in the same region, the researchers found that both populations experienced lower fertility after exposure.

Lead researcher and associate professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, Richard Lea, confirmed that the male dog fertility damage mirrors the effects in human male fertility. Exposure to the mentioned chemicals contributed to this damaging effect.

Specifically, the chemical pollutants found in some pet food brands had the same damaging effect on sperm function in male dogs. This resulted in decreased sperm motility and more fragmentation of DNA, both linked to DNA damage in sperm.

“We now believe that this is the same in pet dogs because they live in the same domestic environment and are exposed to the same household contaminants,” said co-author Rebecca Sumner of the University of Nottingham.

Dogs may suffer from some of the same issues as their owners due to factors in the home environment. This opens up possibilities for future studies but also provides new ground for studying infertility in dogs.

One Great Option For Safety: Neutering Your Male Pup

Of course, infertility would not be an issue for pet owners who practice responsible neutering for male dogs. This is an important step to take early in the life of a pup because of the procedure’s life-long benefits.

Male and female pets benefit differently from neutering and spaying procedures. Usually, spayed or neutered dogs generally behave better after treatment. They also have fewer chances of reproductive cancer and unwanted puppies.

Though the study did not touch on the harmful effects of chemical pollutants beyond infertility, spaying or neutering may still end up being a good advantage in the long run.

What do you think of this new study? Are you concerned about the dangerous effects of household chemicals on your dog? Let us know in the comments.

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