Besides being man’s best friends and giving unconditional love to their owners, recent research proves that dogs can be beneficial for their families’ health, especially the youngest members if we introduce pet exposure from a young age.
A new study conducted by the University of Alberta explains just how owning a dog reduces the possibility for a child to be obese or suffer from severe cases of allergy. The non-development of these common health conditions in children is associated with two types of microbes that children growing up with dogs tend to have more.
Theory of study
The theory of the study is based on the early exposure of children to bacteria and dirt provoking early immunity development. Scientists aren’t quite sure if the immunity is due to the bacteria on the fur and paws of the dogs, or by direct transfer onto the child’s skin.
Just like a vaccination, the immune response can develop only if a correct time schedule would be followed. Pet exposure while the baby is still in the womb and three months after birth is in correlation with an abundance of Oscillospira and Ruminococcus. This bacteria is responsible for reducing obesity and infant allergies. Ruminococcus and Oscillospira are gut microbes. Meaning, that they are a part of the physiological microflora in the digestive system of many animals and human.
Microbe exposure works in dog-mother-baby line while the child is in the womb. During this period positive microbes’ development is enhanced when there is a dog in the house. For example, if during this time the owners gave the dog away, the baby would still have higher chances of avoiding health issues later on in life.
In any case, direct contact is important as well in the first three months of the child’s life being the most important for developing the immunity. Research data shows that 70 % of children exposed to pets during their development in the womb and three months after birth have never had an obesity, asthma or another type of allergy-related health issue.
Additional health improvements
This microbe exchange showed to be quite beneficial for the child’s immunity. Even when birth scenarios that are shown to reduce immunity happen. Such scenarios include Cesarean sections, mothers taking antibiotics during birth and absence of lactation.
Another interesting health-related fact is that having a dog in your house reduces the possibility of transmitting the Group B Strep (bacteria) from mother to children. These bacteria are generally linked to pneumonia in infants. The usual medical procedure for preventing this disease is giving antibiotics to the mother at the time of delivery.
And what if you are a potential parent, but still can’t imagine living in a household with a dog? Well, don’t g
et discouraged just yet because scientist suggests the possibility of creating a “dog pill”. This dog pill will come as a supplement containing the two beneficial microbes. Something in the form of probiotics to prevent childhood obesity and allergies.
This new discovery comes only as an addition to the already known psychological and physiological positive contributions of dogs, and other types of pets for the human health.
If you want to read more articles for pet owners, go to our Pet Owners section.
DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published on September 2nd, 2017.