Study suggests pet exposure might help protect babies from allergies, obesity

  • Study suggests pet exposure might help protect babies from allergies, obesity

Study suggests pet exposure might help protect babies from allergies, obesity

Kozyrskyj's team analysed faecal samples collected from 746 infants who were part of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development Study (CHILD) study, which recruited expectant mothers during their pregnancies in between 2009 and 2012.

"The abundance of these two bacteria were increased twofold when there was a pet in the house", said one of the study authors, Anita Kozyrskyj, from the University of Alberta in Canada. There has been a link found between lower levels of childhood allegies and Ruminococcus and between childhood obesity and Oscillospira.

The study theory suggests that babies exposed to dirt and bacteria from a pet's fur or paws can create early immunity. The team found that if a baby is exposed to pets even while in the womb (or within the first three months of birth) they have an "abundance" of ruminococcus and oscillospira bacteria in their physical makeup; the latter of which has been associated with leanness, lower body mass index.

Kozyrskyz notes that exposure to a pet can indirectly affect the microbiome of the gut: dog to mother to fetus.

In other words, even if a family were to give away their furry friend (responsibly!) prior to the infant being born, the presence of the animal in the household during the mother's pregnancy could confer microbial advantages to the unborn child's gut microbiome.

The findings also suggest pet exposure could cut down the risk of group B strep, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said could cause blood infection, pneumonia and meningitis in newborns.

And a study from the American Psychological Association found that pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to the doctor.

Dog ownership can help prevent allergy and obesity problems, according to new study.

Kozyrskyj argued that these two types of bacteria multiplied whenever a pet was around, living in the same house as the baby.

But by introducing mixtures of beneficial bacteria into the stomach of babies at risk mean they are less likely to develop allergies or asthma. The results also reveal that the benefits of early pet exposure go far beyond child allergies and obesity to predisposition. Researchers have demonstrated that the microbiome of the gut in kids may be altered in ways that boost the immune system from having a dog early during child development.

In this scenario the pharmaceutical industry may attempt to create a supplement made from these microbiomes, similar to what has been done with probiotics.