New Research Shows Pets Alter Infants’ Microbiota To Lower Risk Of Allergies, Obesity

By  //  April 12, 2017

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Pet Exposure impact even in utero

Our four-legged friends undoubtedly bring us joy and companionship, but studies have shown that their benefits do not end there, particularly for children.

EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s nothing cuter than a puppy snuggling up to an infant. However, the possibilities can be cringe-worthy–such as a scratch, nip or even a full-blown bite.

Pet-lovers take heart. This article from Medical News Today reports on a Canadian study that strongly suggests some very positive benefits of having those furry friends around during the first year of life, and even in utero.

— Dr. Jim Palermo, Editor-in-Chief

MEDICAL NEWS TODAY — New research highlights the benefits of having pets around the house during childhood, after finding that early-life exposure to furry animals may reduce the risk of developing allergies and obesity.

Led by researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada, the study found that children exposed to dogs, cats, and other furry pets in early life – before birth and up to 3 months after – experienced significant increases in two beneficial gut bacteria: Ruminococcus and Oscillospira.

Previous studies have linked Ruminococcus to a reduced risk of childhood allergies, while Oscillospira has been associated with a decreased obesity risk.

Study co-author Anita Kozyrskyj, of the Department of Pediatrics at Alberta, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Microbiome.

New research suggests that early-life pet exposure could lower the risk of allergies and obesity.

According to The Humane Society of the United States, around 79.7 million households in the U.S. own at least one animal, with dogs taking the top spot as most popular pet.

Our four-legged friends undoubtedly bring us joy and companionship, but studies have shown that their benefits do not end there, particularly for children.

One study reported by Medical News Today last year, for example, found that dog exposure in the first year of a child’s life was associated with a 13 percent decreased asthma risk in later childhood.

It has been suggested that such associations are down to changes in gut microbiota – the population of microorganisms in the intestines – as a result of exposure to bacteria from pets.

CLICK HERE to learn more on MedicalNewsToday.com about how early life exposure to household pets before and after birth may have a beneficial impact on the development of allergies and obesity.


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