A new study finds that babies born into homes that have pets, especially dogs, are less likely to have allergies or suffer from obesity.
Children born into a house with pets are more likely to be immune to certain allergies and less likely to be obese, a new study finds.
Researchers from the University of Alberta discovered that babies in homes with pets had greater levels of “gut microbes” that prevent allergic disease and obesity. This was especially true in households with dogs, which accounted for 70 percent of the participants.
Gut microbes are identified as “microorganisms or bacteria that live in the digestive tracts of humans and animals,” according to a university release.
But the team warned that the benefits identified for the children in the study occurred when they were exposed to pets during a certain timetable early in their lives.
“There’s definitely a critical window of time when gut immunity and microbes co-develop, and when disruptions to the process result in changes to gut immunity,” says Anita Kozyrskyj, a pediatric epidemiologist at the university and one of the world’s leading researchers on gut microbes, in the news release.
The study examined fecal samples from babies who are part of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study, which is comprised of 3,500 children born after 2010. The study monitors the children to help figure out the various genetic and environmental influences that may lead to allergies and asthma.
Prior research has found that children in homes with dogs are less likely to be asthmatic because of their exposure to bacteria carried by the pets in their fur or on their paws.