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March 20, 2019

Get your child several pets to cut allergy risks, new study says

December 20, 2018
The more cats or dogs young children grow up with, the lower the chances that they’ll develop allergies, according to a new study (Sonsedska / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

There’s a new reason to give in if your kids are begging for another pet.

The more cats or dogs young children grow up with, the lower the chances that they’ll develop allergies, according to a new study published in the science journal PLOS One.

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Researchers looked at two separate groups for the Swedish study. One was a questionnaire-based study of 1,029 7- to 8-year-olds that asked questions on asthma and allergies. The other focused on 249 kids who were clinically evaluated for asthma and allergies by pediatricians several times up to the age of 8 to 9. Both groups also gave information on pets during the child’s first year of life.

Overall, the study found that there were less cases of allergies — including asthma and eczema — with increasing numbers of household cats and dogs during a child’s first year of life.

The larger study found that a whopping 49% of kids with no pets during their first year of life suffered from allergies, compared to zero for kids who had with five or more pets. In the middle, 43% of kids with one pet had allergies and 24% of children who had three pets as a baby had allergies.

A similar pattern was seen in the smaller study, with a decreasing frequency of allergic disease with higher numbers of household cats and dogs, the new report states.

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