If dog loyalty and love for the owner is not enough to get one, how about their ability to help protect kids from allergies and obesity?
Researchers have been studying the role that pets, particularly dogs, need to play in rates of allergies in children. Many have discovered that the so-called hygiene hypothesis is actually correct, which means that a little dirt early in Life can help fight allergies, including obesity in children. The latest research by Anita kozyrskyj a pediatric specialist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, discovered new evidence on these human dog bonds and how this reduces the development of everything from asthma to obesity.
As of 2013, she wondered whether she could point out what and how this may be occurring. Her team collected stool specimens from children of 4 months old in the Canadian Healthy Infants Longitudinal Development (CHILD) pilot study. Of the 24 children surveyed, 15 were living at home with at least one dog or a cat. What they found was that in a family with pets, children had a greater range of microbes in their guts. Microbes, as we now know, can be a good thing for our gut microbiome and the immune systems really develop along our gut’s "germs.’ This implies that if children grow in a more "sterile" pet-free environment, they would be more ill-equipped to "battle" germs as they grow up.
Kozyrskyj pointed out that "the profusion of these two bacteria (Firmicutes microbes) increased twice when there was a pet at home," indicating that the pet exposure was revealed to indirectly affects the guts microbiome in a roundabout way – from puppy to mother to unborn infant-throughout pregnancy and also throughout the first few months of the infant’s life. Interestingly, this study revealed that the presence of pets in a home reduces the probability of vaginal transmission of GBS (group B strep) during childbirth, which causes pneumonia in infants and is prevented by giving pregnant mothers antibiotics during delivery.
Kozyrskyj research affirms and extends the work that many other scientists have revealed that some "dirt" can be helpful and help prevent disease. Including one conducted at the Kuopio University Hospital in Finland in 2012, which focused on children during their first year, and examine the impact of contact with dogs on "incidence of respiratory symptoms and contaminations." Information about the period of time a dog spent inside was also gathered, and ends up being one of the key pointers
The outcomes were enlightening. Children with dogs at home were generally healthier, had less infectious respiratory issues, fewer ear infections and were less likely to require antibiotics. The researchers believe that these findings support the theory that children who live with dogs during their early years of life have better resistance during childhood. The researchers also discover that the consequence was greater if the dog spent less than six hours indoors, probably because the longer the dogs are outdoors, the more dirt it brings. And more dirt, more "bacterial diversity". It is believed that this diversity has a protective effect to help the child's immune system to mature, that is, to respond more effectively to infectious agents.
Subsequently, in 2013 the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, conducted a study and discovered that living with a dog may prevent children from developing asthma. A childhood airway infectious agent known as Respiratory Syncytial virus (RSV), which is common in children, is related to a higher threat of childhood asthma. As indicated by Dr. Susan Lynch of the group, “Exposing the gastrointestinal tract to pet dust and additional microbes early in life prepares it to react properly to a range of invaders. But because our recent way of life involves living in spotless houses; our immune systems frequently overreact instead.” Early infancy is a significant period for developing a defense against allergies and asthma, and contact with pets like a dog can help.
Ever since 2013, a Canadian researcher, Kozyrskyj has extended her research from 24 to 746 children, around half of whom were staying in households with pets. Her group then compared the babies' microbial communities.
The outcome was essentially the same, microbial life increased in the children living with pets. And not only that, the “team was now able to demonstrate that babies from families with pets (of which 70% were dogs) had higher levels of two kinds of Firmicutes microbes — Oscillospira and Ruminococcus , which have been connected with lesser risk of allergic sickness and leanness, respectively.
“Pet exposure can lessen allergic sickness and obesity” later in life, according to Hein Min Tun, a microbial epidemiologist and veterinarian and a member of Kozyrskyj’s research group.
Although it may be too soon to forecast how this study will play out in the future, they don’t rule out the idea of a “dog in a pill” as a protective tool for allergies and obesity.