Often, our gorgeous doggy friends are the first ‘babies’ we come to love and care for. While thousands of YouTube videos have proven that babies and dogs go together like Bert and Ernie, many prospective parents hold concerns about the two spending time together.
Yes, while babies and dogs present the sweetest photo opportunities, we can’t help but worry as our tots enjoy tummy time in our dogs’ favourite spot on the sitting room carpet!
If you’re a new or prospective parent, and you’re feeling a little concerned, then we have some wonderful news – your baby can actually benefit from hanging out with your four-legged family pet!
According to a new study carried out by researchers from the University of Alberta, households with dogs can actually provide a healthier environment for babies.
Yes, it turns out that sharing a house with a dog can cause babies to develop the beneficial gut bacteria, ruminococcus and oscillospira, which have been linked to a decrease in the risk of developing obesity and childhood allergic diseases.
As part of the study, researchers looked at data belonging to 746 infants and their mothers, from 2009 to 2012. They asked the mothers whether or not they had a pet in their home during the second or third trimester, and then again three months after birth.
In this study, 70 percent of the ‘household furry pets’ mentioned turned out to be dogs; man’s best friend.
Next, the researchers examined each child’s gut health, through faecal samples. They then explored their results, comparing those exposed to pets during pregnancy to their counterparts who were not exposed to any household pets.
As it turned out, being exposed to pets during pregnancy (as early as the second trimester) or after birth caused ‘more than a twofold greater likelihood of high abundance’ of the aforementioned good bacteria.
The study authors reported: “The impact of pet ownership varies under different birth scenarios. However, in common, exposure to pets increased the abundance of two bacteria…which have been negatively associated with childhood atopy and obesity.”
Go and give your gorgeous doggy an extra treat and a cuddle today!