Dogs Can Be Your Asthma-Prone Baby’s Best Friend

Having a dog may help prevent your baby from developing asthma, according to research from a team at the University of California. Dust from households with dogs is different from dust from homes without pets and, says The Scientist, “now it appears this unique bacterial assemblage may confer an advantage to the youngest members of the household,” if they are at risk for developing asthma:

Mice fed dog-home dust before being exposed to the common infant infection respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is associated with a high risk of developing asthma, appear to be immune to the virus compared to mice fed on normal house dust.

The immune mice also had “a distinct gastrointestinal bacterial composition,” Kei Fujimura, part of the team from the University of California that announced its findings at the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting last month (June 19), told Wired Science.

Whatever microbes the dogs have actually “may take residence in the gastrointestinal tract of the mice and play a role in modulating the immune response to RSV.”

The researchers are now investigating precisely what microbial species, or combination of them, might be involved with the hopes of developing a vaccine for respiratory diseases.

These findings stood out to me as I had severe asthma as a child; due to relatives’ allergies, we had no pets except for some goldfish.

The research also brings to mind the “hygiene hypothesis,” which argues that children  who are exposed in early life to more microbes (from other children, from animals) develop immune systems that are better able to tolerate the irritants causing asthma and related conditions including food allergies.

Just as being exposed to bacteria associated with living in rural areas may protect children who are especially at risk to hypersensitivity to certain allergens, so, it seems, can some microbes carried by dogs offer special protection for babies prone to asthma and related conditions.

As the Life Lines blog comments, Fujimura and his colleagues’ research is further reason that dogs can indeed be “baby’s best friend.”


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Photo by Lunchbox Photography


Stephen Hauer
Stephen H4 years ago

Got Allergies / Allergic ASTHMA ?

Allergy / Allergic ASTHMA Parents ..

Because the Cumulative Progression of Allergy to Allergic ASTHMA is Strongly Genetically PreDisposed …

If You could PreEmptively take Measures to build Tolerance in your “Future” Child against the likelihood of Allergy… possibly > Asthma ..

Would You ?

For your Consideration …

1st Get Your Allergies under Control.

Begin building Tolerance to 14 Major Aero-Enviro Allergy Sources “ Before “ Conception.

Following Conception …

Continue building Tolerance thru Pregnancy / Nursing..

Following Birth, Be on Allergy Alert to First Signs of Allergy MARCH in your Infant.

STOP & Melt the Allergy SnowBall in your Child Before It Starts Rolling. RELIEF

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

I wonder what will be next. Will you say that smoking is healthy, or something?

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

Hmmm... I've always heard the opposite.

Fiona T.
Past Member 5 years ago

They're our best partners when taking care of patients

Joy S.
Joy s6 years ago

Considering how dogs and cats clean themselves...I would not want a dog licking my child in the mouth.

Sheri P.
Sheri P6 years ago

interesting findings! funny picture, LOL! i know that feeling all too well. get close to a dog's face and before you have chance to react you have a tongue in your face.

Jessica L.
Janne O6 years ago

I love animals, but in my case exposure to animals from I was little didn't prevent me from developing allergies and severe asthma.

I wouldn't recommend letting a dog lick your baby's face. They might get rashes (I did) and more important, they can accidentally transfer dangerous parasites like heart worm, tape worm and hook worm that way.

Joy Mcronald
Joy McRonald6 years ago

WOW! This is good to know.. Thank you.

ii q.
g d c6 years ago


Sheri D.
Sheri D6 years ago