Are Children Raised in a Pet-Friendly Home Healthier?
Pets have become an important part of our families over time. The growing demand of dog-ownership (in specific) increased the focus of researchers on the benefits reaped by dog-owners. The studies have highlighted the positive impacts of dogs on our babies and young children.
It’s a well-known fact that a dog is man’s best friend. Dogs have proved their loyalty by providing an amazing companionship to their kids and helping their children develop emotionally and physically strong personalities.
Various studies have shown how dogs can play a role in children’s long-term health:
- Prevent Allergies:
A study conducted at the University of Alberta has shown that babies born in a pet-friendly home have less risk of allergies and asthma. During the first few months of baby’s life, the immune system is beginning to strengthen itself. When the baby is exposed to microbial bacteria present on pet’s skin, the baby develops immunity against them. Moreover, there are two kinds of gut bacteria— Oscillospira and Ruminococcus—that are two times greater in population in a Pet-friendly environment. The former reduces the risk of allergies and the latter is associated with leanness. Pets such as cats and dogs are carriers of these beneficial bacteria that transfer to human companions through cuddles and licks.
- Protect the Baby During Prenatal Development:
The research also studied the impact of pet presence during pregnancy. It showed that there is still a high number of healthy microbes that lower the risk of allergies and obesity in infants due to pets.
- Prevent Obesity:
Pets prevent obesity in children who are born by C-section. In 2015, Maternal and Child Health Journal published a research that focused on the obesity of infant born by birth canal versus those born by C-section. It was found that C-section infants missed out the beneficial microbes present in the birth canal that prevent obesity in them. The University of Alberta furthered the study by finding that C-section elevated the levels of Enterobacteriaceae—which is linked to obesity. Surprisingly, having pets around the house reduced the risk to a great extent.
- Reduce the Risk of Pneumonia:
A new study has shown that pets around the house reduce the chance of transmission of Group B streptococcus—bacteria common in 10 to 30% of women in North America. Streptococcus increases the chances of pneumonia in newborn babies.
- Decreased Risk of Asthma:
Pets not only reduce the chances of allergies but also lower the risk of asthma in children. A highly sanitized and clean environment has proven to make a child weak and vulnerable to allergies and respiratory diseases. A recent study conducted by the University of California showed that dogs prevent respiratory infections that lead to childhood asthma.
- Strengthen the Immune System:
Dr. Eija Bergroth, a pediatrician at Kuopio University Hospital, says that pets mature the immune system before time by exposing them to microbes present on their body and in their saliva. It prepares the child’s immune system for possible viruses and bacteria.
- Reduce Stress:
Children raised in a pet-friendly home have 12% of clinical anxiety as compared to 21% found in kids without pets, shows a study conducted at Basset Medical Center in New York. Moreover, taking care of a pet reduces the release of stress hormones and increases the releases of endorphins—happy hormones.
- Pets Make Your Child Emotionally and Socially Intelligent:
Pets provide companionship to kids to share their problems. They provide them opportunities to go out and socialize with other kids. Remember to keep the dog leashed during walks outside to prevent any accidents. Dogs create a discipline in their lives when they fulfill the pet responsibilities throughout the day. An emotionally balanced personality of kids is seen who are raised in a pet-friendly home.
Wouldn’t you consider getting a pet to help your infant or child become healthy and emotionally intelligent?