Dogs not only serve as playful and loving family companions, but now research suggests they also help keep kids’ immune systems healthy.
A study found pregnant moms with a dog in the home had children with less immunoglobulin E (IgE) allergies. Adolescents who had prenatal exposure to dogs showed nearly a 30% decrease in IgE trajectory levels compared to adolescents whose mothers did not have a dog while pregnant (p=0.0005). Higher IgE levels are associated with conditions such as eczema and asthma.
The benefit to a child’s immune systems may in part be due to dogs bringing bacteria into the home, which likely impacts the gut microbiome. We always love learning about the various ways to influence gut health and the immune system. Dog adoptions have increased during the pandemic to help with social isolation and wellbeing – perhaps this research offers another reason to include a furry friend in your family!