Let your kid grow up with a female dog—it reduces their risk of asthma
New study says your child's early exposure to dogs is healthier than you think
Nov 27, 2018
Good news for parents who also happen to be dog lovers: While some people say you can’t raise a child with dogs inside your house because of the bacteria it carries, scientists have found out that this bacteria is actually helpful in strengthening your kid’s immune system.
Last year, the US National Institute of Health has established in this study that exposure to certain allergens from dogs “early in life, before asthma develops, elicits a preventive effect.” The findings fall in line with the “hygiene hypothesis,” which suggested that lack of exposure to germs, bacteria, and microbes during childhood could trigger more allergies growing up since the immune system is not used to that kind of exposure.
In a new Swedish study published this week, medical researchers stated that the gender of the dogs six-year-olds grew up with is a factor in strengthening the kids’ immune system. “In our study, we found that children exposed to female dogs had about 16 percent lower risk of asthma than their exposure to male dogs.”
The five-member team analyzed children born in Sweden from Jan. 1, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2004, which totaled to 23,585 infants. They then took into account all characteristics that could affect the risk of developing asthma or allergies, such as the prescription medicines and parents’ medical history, the team saw a link between the gender of the dogs six-year-olds grew up with.
“This is unlikely to be a result of a selection bias, supported by the fact that similar proportion of female dogs were reported among households with and without parental asthma and allergy phenotypes,” the study read.
Co-lead author Tove Fall explained that “the sex of the dog can affect the amount of allergens released, and we know that uncastrated male dogs express more of a particular allergen than castrated dogs and female dogs.”
The more, the healthier
Moreover, the study stated that the more female dogs a child grows up with, the more protected he is from allergies. “Children living with two or more dogs had a 21 percent lower risk of asthma than those who only lived with one dog.”
This is because it increases the “good bacteria” and microbes inside homes.
The researchers also stressed that there’s no scientific evidence that supports the belief that the “hypoallergenic dog breeds or those with a non-shedding coat” are suitable for people who have already been diagnosed with allergies. “The likely explanation for this higher risk is that families with a history of allergy to furred pets more often choose these dogs, and also that ‘allergy friendly’ dogs do not in fact release less allergens,” said medical professor Catarina Almqvist Malmros, who was also one of the authors.
One thing’s for sure: You don’t have to worry about separating your babies from your pets anymore!
Header image courtesy of Unsplash
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