Children Who Grow Up With Dogs Are Less Likely To Develop Asthma, Study Says

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There have been countless studies that show the benefits of having a dog, from being in better shape to being more socially adept to having reduced levels of stress and depression. Now, there is a new study that found owning a dog may lower your risk of asthma.


Published in JAMA Pediatrics, this study observed nine different data sets that accounted for more than one million children and discovered that those who had dogs by the age of one, had a 15 percent lower rate of asthma than those who didn’t grow up with a dog in their house.


Tove Fall, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Uppsala University in Sweden and a coordinator on the study, says their findings indicate that having a dog in the household may affect a child’s microbiome, the unique bacterial environment of the gut that is determined by a number of factors, including the air we breathe and the food we eat.


She believes there may be a specific strain of bacteria that is transmitted from the dog to the child that makes the latter less prone to asthma. Children with dogs are also likely to spend more time outside and exercising more which could also lower the risk for asthma.


Other researchers have found that children who grow up on farms are also less likely to develop asthma. An analysis of 39 studies on this found kids who had exposure to farm animals (such as cattle and sheep) early on, had a 25 percent lower risk for getting asthma, compared to kids who didn’t grow up on a farm.


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