Growing up with a dog reduces chances of getting allergies

Children who grow up with dogs are less likely to develop food allergies, a new study by the University of Dundee has found.

Young children from the age of three months who live in a household with two or more dogs are 90% less likely to develop food intolerances compared to those living without any pets.

Parents who took part in the study were asked about their children's routines and whether pets were allowed to sleep in the same room. After looking closely at babies and young children, they discovered that living with dogs was strongly associated with protection from developing a food allergy.

Living with dogs was associated with a 90% reduction in the odds of developing a food allergy. None of the 49 infants living with at least two dogs developed a food allergy," Professor Irwin McLean who co-led the study explained to the Sunday Post.

"The exposure of children to diverse environmental microbiota among household dust has been associated with protection from developing atopy and asthma," Professor McLean added.

Food allergies affect between six and 10 percent of children in the UK, with many of them having intolerances to milk, eggs, peanuts, soy and wheat. According to the NHS, the most common allergy for young children is hay fever.

The study also found that...

  • Children who lived on farms were also less likely to suffer from allergies
  • Those growing up with more siblings were also not as allergic
  • Identical twins are likely to have the same allergic diseases
  • The exposure of household dust can also help children with allergies

Pet ownership is a huge benefit to our lives. As well as helping with allergies, dogs make brilliant companions for young children and help to reduceany stress and anxiety they may be facing. Just another reason to adopt one of your own.