OTTAWA, Apr 9: If you’re thinking of adding a dog to your family, there are now two reasons to say yes.
A new study has found that being exposed to pets from a young age lowers the risk of obesity and results in fewer allergies.
Scientists say that dogs in particular expose children to dirt and bacteria early in life, which creates early immunity, reports Daily Mail.
The study, conducted at the University of Alberta, in Canada, looked at more than 700 infants from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development Study, whose mothers were enrolled during pregnancy between 2009 and 2012.
The mothers were asked to report on whether they owned a pet at enrollment, during the second or third trimester, and three months after birth.
Infant gut microbiotas were studied from fecal samples collected around three months old.
The researchers compared whether the babies were exposed only during pregnancy, or both pre- and postnatally, to no pet exposure.
Over half of the studied infants were exposed to at least one furry pet in the pre- and/or postnatal periods – 70 percent being dogs.
Researchers found that pre- and postnatal pet exposure enriched the amount of two types of bacteria in the gut with more than a twofold greater likelihood of high abundance.