Two new studies have found additional evidence that pet dogs offer immune buffs to children.
The first study, led by Dr. Gagandeep Cheema of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, found that children born into homes with pet dogs exhibited a lower likelihood of developing allergic eczema. While the effects were significant across the sample observed, the study also found that this protective effect gradually lessened after children reached the age of ten.
The second study, led by Dr. Po-Yang Tsou of Johns Hopkins University, found that exposure to dogs offered a paradoxical protective effect in children. Among those without allergies to dogs, exposure to dogs provided a protective effect against asthma. In children with allergies to dogs, however, exposure seemed to make asthma symptoms worse. The study’s authors speculate that the mechanism behind the protective effect may be due to bacteria commonly present with dogs, but don’t yet know conclusively.