Study confirms earlier research that children benefit to early exposure to dogs.
Tove Fall, Assistant Professor in Epidemiology at the Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University, remarked, “Earlier studies have shown that growing up on a farm reduces a child’s risk of asthma to about half. We wanted to see if this relationship also was true also for children growing up with dogs in their homes. Our results confirmed the farming effect, and we also saw that children who grew up with dogs had about 15 percent less asthma than children without dogs. Because we had access to such a large and detailed data set, we could account for confounding factors such as asthma in parents, area of residence and socioeconomic status.”
Fall coordinated the study with other research teams from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
These new data tend to support the theory, known as the “hygiene hypothesis,” that early exposure to animals can decrease the likelihood of developing childhood asthma in children at age 6.
The study was published in the November 2 issue of the JAMA Pediatrics.