A recently published open access paper (December 2018) has added to the growing evidence that living with pets can help protect children against allergy development.
The study looked at two cohorts of children (one aged 7-8 years of age) and one looking at children up to the ages of 8-9 years. Looking at the presence of asthma and allergy diagnoses and their exposure to pets during their first year of life.
The results showed that a dose-response association was seen, with less allergic manifestations (any of asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, or eczema) with increasing numbers of household cats and dogs during the first year of life. Furthermore, the percentage of those with allergies ever decreased with 49% in children with no pets to zero in those with five or more pets. The same pattern was seen in both cohorts. Sensitisation to animals, as well as pollens, also decreased with increasing numbers of animals in the household.