Dog owners less likely to develop eczema

A recent report revealed that children who own dogs are less likely to suffer from obesity, and now new research has also shown that children who own dogs are less likely to suffer from eczema too.

The obesity research came from here in the UK, but this new research into dogs and their effects at combating eczema has come from the USA, the University of Cincinnati and from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. They have concluded that children who live in a home with dogs are at a much lower risk of developing the symptoms of eczema.

They also revealed that owning cats has no effect on eczema – so bad news for cat owners!

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) usually begins at an early age and affects the skin, producing rashes, flaking and blistering. In the US many children suffer from eczema according to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology as many as 18.1% of children in the US suffered from eczema over the last year. The highest number of reported cases was on the East Coast, as well as in Idaho, Utah and Nevada – very dry areas.

The latest research looked at 636 children who were believed to be a high risk for eczema due to the medical histories of their parents. Each of the children were tested over a three year period, between the ages of 1 and 4, for as many as 17 different allergies.

dogs and kids
Less likely to develop eczema if you own a dog

The findings show that children who had dog allergies, and lived in homes with dogs since before their first birthday, were unlikely to develop eczema by the age of 4. Children who had dog allergies and didn’t live in a home with a dog however were more likely to develop eczema.

Dr. Tolly Epstein commented:

“Children with dog allergies who did not own dogs were 4 times more likely to develop eczema.”

The presence of cats in the homes of children who suffered with cat allergies however had the opposite effect, with those children being 13 times more likely to suffer from eczema.

It should also be noted that just because a child has dog allergies (or even cat allergies) it doesn’t mean they can’t have dogs in the home. Some children even manage to grow out of their allergies over time.