Dog and Pony cc Andrew Magill

Science has just given every boy and girl ample evidence to argue their case for a new puppy— kids with dogs are less likely to develop asthma.

Growing up in homes with dogs reduces an infant’s chances of developing asthma before age six by 13%, and exposure to horses and other farm animals reduces the risk by a whopping 52%.

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“To let children have a pet in their home is likely to enrich the family life in many ways, and perhaps also enriches the child’s microbiome and immune system,” the study’s lead author, Tove Fall of Uppsala University in Sweden, told Newsweek.

Fall and his team studied meticulous data on more than a million children in Sweden from 2001 through 2010. It identified the link, but didn’t pinpoint the reason why children exposed to animals are less likely to get asthma.

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Scientists have long known that people who grew up on farms tend to have far fewer issues with allergies and asthma than people who didn’t. Now families in the suburbs have a suitable substitute for boosting their immunity, without having to give up the benefits of urban living.

Their findings were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Photo: Andrew Magill, CC

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