Dogs and Cats Linked to Reduced Child Food Allergies
Japanese study tracked pet exposure from prenatal development through early infancy
Children with dogs and cats in their homes were less likely to develop food allergies than other children, a study published Wednesday shows.
The study, led by Dr. Hisao Okabe of Fukushima Medical University, followed more than 66,000 children who were part of the Japan Environment and Children’s Study. Analyzing questionnaires, researchers tracked pet exposure from prenatal development through early infancy and measured the incidence of allergies in children up to 3 years old.
They found that children living with indoor dogs were less likely to experience egg, milk, and nut allergies.
They also determined that children with cats were less likely to have egg, wheat, and soybean allergies.
In general, children exposed to pets during both prenatal development and early infancy had lower rates of food allergies than those exposed in only one of these stages. And children living with dogs allowed indoors had lower allergy rates than those with dogs who live outdoors.
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