The results of two studies presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting found that the presence of dogs can reduce eczema risk and mitigate asthma symptoms in children.
Researchers found that children born to mothers who were exposed to dogs during pregnancy were less likely to develop eczema by the age of 2 years, compared with children born to mothers who were not exposed to dogs. However, the study revealed that by the time children reached the age of 10 years, the protective effects of prenatal dog exposure declined.
Researchers investigated how dog exposure affected asthma severity in children with the condition. The team evaluated the effects of two types of dog exposure: exposure to the protein that triggers an allergic reaction in children with dog allergy, and exposure to certain particles — such as bacteria — that a dog might carry.
They found that children who were exposed to bacteria and other particles from a dog experienced a reduction in asthma symptoms. However, exposure to the dog protein appeared to exacerbate symptoms of the respiratory condition.