Reaction: Research links exposure to pets from pregnancy to early childhood with fewer food allergies in babies
Babies who are exposed to dogs and cats during foetal development and early childhood have a lower risk of food allergies up to the age of three, according to a Japanese study published in PLoS ONE. Previous work has focused on the beneficial effect of dogs in this period, while this analysis, based on retrospective data from more than 66,000 children, also includes other pets such as cats and hamsters. According to the study, exposure to dogs is associated with a lower incidence of egg, milk and nut allergies, while contact with cats is linked to a lower incidence of egg, wheat and soy allergies. However, exposure to hamsters is associated with a higher incidence of nut allergy.