New parents may get anxious about how their beloved family pet will react to a new baby, and whether its safe for the animal to be around the new child. But a new study shows that the presence of an animal in your home can actually be beneficial for your children.
Researchers found that having animals in the home helped children build immunity to allergies and stave off diseases like obesity. When a pet is around, kids develop gut microbes that help them build up a healthy immune system because they have been exposed to a wider range of bacteria.
Researchers studied households that had pets during pregnancy but not once a baby was born, households that had pets during pregnancy and when the child was born, and households without pets. They examined fecal samples from 746 Canadian babies and found that babies from homes that had pets had twice the amount of two kinds of bacteria, Ruminococcus and Oscillospira. The presence of the bacteria has been linked to decreases in allergies, asthma and obesity.
Notably, the benefits werent just found in babies who lived with pets after they were born. Children of mothers who had pets in ...