If you're on the receiving end of "Can we get a
puppy?," three new studies might make you consider adding a canine
to your home. Apparently, children who tested positive for dog
allergies were less likely to develop eczema by age 4 if they owned
a dog before they were 1.
"Children with dog allergies who did not own dogs were
four times more likely to develop eczema," says the study's lead
author Dr. Tory Epstein of the University of Cincinnati and
Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Increasingly diagnosed in
childhood, eczema, a chronic skin disorder that involves scaly and
itchy rashes, puts children at a greater risk of developing asthma
and food allergies.
And while you worry you'll be the one taking care of
Sparky, a University of London study of 2,065 children age 9 and 10
found those who own dogs get more exercise than children without a
canine companion, spending 11 minutes more at physical activity and
taking 360 extra steps per day.
Numerous studies on adults have shown pet ownership helps
reduce blood pressure. For children with autism, a specially
trained service dog can help reduce severe anxiety. Researchers at
the University of Montreal tested the amount of cortisol, a stress
hormone, present in the saliva of children with autism before,
during and after living with a trained dog and found a 10 percent
drop in morning cortisol levels while the service dog was
Before you buy a dog, consider adopting from your local
animal shelter or rescue group. Check out the adoptable canines
available through the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance or PAWS Chicago,
the city's largest no-kill animal shelter. Not only will you be
saving an animal, you'll also be saving your wallet: Prices
typically range from $135 to $275 and include spaying/neutering,
vaccinations and microchip identification-a bargain compared to a
breeder or pet shop.
Still on the fence? Fostering a shelter pooch lets you get
your puppy fix without the commitment-but if you fall in love with
your temporary live-in there's always the adoption
Freelance journalist Rita Colorito brings you the latest health news in Chicago Parent’s Health Page.
See more of Rita's stories here.
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