Pets can reduce food allergies in children

Previous research has shown that living with animals can reduce allergies in children such as airborne and food allergies. Now a recent study has confirmed and strengthened this finding.

Researcher Hisao Okabe from the Fukushima regional Center for the Japan Environment and Children’s Study and colleagues studied over 65,000 young children who lived with dogs and cats and found that they had less food allergies than children who do not live with pets.

About 22% were exposed to indoor dogs and cats during their fetal stage and showed a significant reduction in food allergies. It is interesting that the study showed that children exposed to outdoor dogs had no significant reduction in food allergies.

The children who were exposed to indoor dogs were less likely to be allergic to eggs, milk and nuts. The children who were exposed to indoor cats had a lower instance of allergies to eggs, wheat and soybeans. Yet those children who were exposed to hamsters had a higher rate of allergies to nuts.

This study did not go into detail about why this occurred but it is interesting that it did.

Journal Reference:

  1. Hisao Okabe, Koichi Hashimoto, Mika Yamada, Takashi Ono, Kazufumi Yaginuma, Yohei Kume, Mina Chishiki, Akiko Sato, Yuka Ogata, Karin Imaizumi, Tsuyoshi Murata, Hyo Kyozuka, Kosei Shinoki, Seiji Yasumura, Hidekazu Nishigori, Keiya Fujimori, Mitsuaki Hosoya. Associations between fetal or infancy pet exposure and food allergies: The Japan Environment and Children’s StudyPLOS ONE, 2023; 18 (3): e0282725 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0282725