Rachel Starr, 7, of Boston gets some help from her dog, Violet as she tries to build an igloo on the Boston Common on December 15, 2013. (Jessica Rinaldi For The Boston Globe) (Taken from the Boston Globe)
The Boston Globe recently published an article on their blog covering a study that researched potential health benefits from having a dog at home. Results showed that a specific bacteria, carried by dogs, has a positive effect on immune systems in young children. Thus, it becomes less likely that they will develop allergies and asthma.
The study examined mice exposed to dust from a dog-free home and from a dog owners house. The later were less susceptible to developing reactions from common allergens. The research, currently in early stages, could potentially provide a new method in coping with asthma and allergies.
“While allergies to pet dander certainly keep many families from owning dogs, it turns out having man’s best friend as a pet might actually protect babies from developing allergies and asthma in the first place. A new study conducted with mice could explain the reason why: dust from homes with dogs has a higher amount of beneficial bacteria. This helps establish a balanced immune system in a child that’s less likely to attack harmless allergens.
Previous research suggests that the establishment of certain gut bacteria in the intestinal tracts of newborns could affect their development of asthma later in childhood. Certain harmful bacteria associated with the use of antibiotics, for example, were found by European researchers to increase a child’s risk of asthma, while living with a dog or cat in the house was found in other studies to decrease the risk.