Here's another reason dogs are known as Man's Best Friend - the latest research shows they also boost human health.
Having a new-born at home you may be worried about the germs from your dog infecting your precious bundle of joy. According to a recent study, a pet, especially a dog, at home may lead to better health for your little one and moms-to-be.
Researchers analyzed 746 family over three years and found that homes where pregnant moms and little ones were exposed to cats or dogs resulted in higher levels of "good for you" gut bacteria that help fight off health conditions like allergies and obesity. (Study by the University of Alberta in Canada )
Research suggests that exposure to pet dander, as well as the microbes that pets carry into the home from outdoors, could boost babies' still-developing immune systems and they adapt early to ward off attack from common allergens and bugs, such as from animals or other bacteria and viruses. Some of these bacteria were associated with lower risk of developing allergic diseases & obesity later in life.
The exposure to pets somehow matures the immune system so when the child meets the microbes, "he might be better prepared for them," says Dr. Eija Bergroth, a pediatrician at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland who led the current study.
- Dogs can boost good bacteria and microbes inside homes because they play outer door more often than other pets.
- Exposure to animal microorganisms during the first 3 months of life helps to stimulate a child's immune system so that it doesn't become overly sensitive later in life.
- When we remove the contact with these ancestral bacterial partners, our immune systems lose the ability to choose from friend or foe.
- Having house pets may reduce the chances of a mother passing on a strep (bacterial) infection during birth that may cause pneumonia in newborns.