Dogs help kids to live allergy-free
A new study conducted by the University of Dundee has revealed that children who live with dogs are less likely to develop food allergies. Perhaps it’s time that humans viewed canines in a different light.
Are we obsessed with sanitising our homes?
In recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on hygiene in the home. Families are confronted by an incredible array of cleaning products whenever they visit the supermarket. There’s a spray or gel for everything these days. Sold with promises of protecting kids, the various concoctions could engender paranoia and might be putting parents off keeping pets. After all, a pet would introduce bacteria into the home – heaven forbid!
Nobody would recommend having a dirty home. However, pets should not be an issue. The research by the University of Dundee suggests that children who grow up with dogs don’t come down with all sorts of ailments as a result. Better still, they are up to 90% less likely to suffer from food allergies and intolerance's when compared to those living without pets.
Infants with dogs don’t develop food allergies
The parents who took part in the study were questioned about their children's daily routines and whether the family pets were allowed to sleep in the same room. The responses indicated that living with dogs protects kids from developing food allergies.
49 infants who lived with two or more dogs were monitored by researchers and none developed a food allergy. The exposure of youngsters to environmental microbiota (bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi and viruses) in household dust is also associated with protection from developing various conditions including atopy and asthma.
Further health benefits of dog ownership
In addition to being protected from allergies, dog owners tend to be more active which is always a good thing and they develop more friendships too. Pooches also bring family members into closer and more regular contact with their local vegetative environment which could be significant in enhancing resistance to allergies and disease.
Unfortunately, food allergies affect up to 10% of children in the UK. Intolerance to milk, eggs, peanuts, soy and wheat are particularly common. But children who live on farms or with several pets are far less likely to develop issues.
The UK has some of the highest rates of allergies in the world. Indeed, hospital admissions for food allergies among children have risen by 500% in the last 20 years. Doctors don’t know what is behind the problem, but it could be our increasingly sanitised homes. Less time spent in the great outdoors could also be a factor and is another problem which could be neatly solved by dog ownership.
An important development
As food allergies can be life-threatening, the discovery of any way to prevent them is an important development. Pets just might prove to be the key to addressing food allergies, if parents obsessed with cleanliness can be persuaded to embrace the benefits of man’s best friend.
How wonderful to hear that our furry friends actually benefit kids’ health. Of course, it has been known for some time that dogs reduce stress and anxiety in both adults and children. Dogs are also outstanding companions for youngsters and have helped many children on the autistic spectrum to develop their confidence and social skills.
There’s no end to their talents!
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