How having a puppy could help ward of allergies
Growing up with a dog in the home could help children ward off allergies like hay fever.
A six-year study, which surveyed more than 9,000 parents, discovered that kids who lived with a dog were 50% less likely to be sensitive to allergens, including pollen.
The reason? Dogs bring germs into the home, thereby kick-starting children’s immune systems.
‘Our results show clearly that the presence of a dog in the home during infancy is associated with a significantly low level of sensitisation to pollens and inhaled allergens,’ said lead researcher Dr Joachim Heinrich.
A follow-up survey is planned for when the children turn ten in four years time, to see whether the levels of protection a dog appears to provide continue throughout childhood.
However, Dr Heinrich did add it might not just be dogs who help, but other animals, too.
‘Until we understand the mechanisms underlying this protective effect from dogs, we cannot say that parents-to-be should go out and get a puppy or a kitten,’ he added.