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Domestic animals share our environment in a variety of ways. One of these ways is as companions in and around our homes. Although a wide variety of species are kept in households for this purpose, the great majority are dogs and cats. Sharing our environment with such animals has a profound effect on the health of the humans concerned. As keeping companion animals is a very widespread activity, about 50% of all households in the Western world have some sort of animal, the effects are far reaching.