Pet dogs can help reduce egg allergies in infants, study finds

Wednesday, 19th September 2012

Having a pet dog can help to reduce the likelihood of egg allergies in infants, new research has found.

A study by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Australia shows that infants who have older siblings and exposure to pets are less likely to be allergic to eggs at the age of one.

The study found that the rate of egg allergies in infants from households with no dogs was 10.2 per cent, while the figure for those who did have a pet dog  was just 5.9 per cent.

Lead researcher, Dr Jennifer Koplin, said: "Our study showed exposure in the first year of life to siblings and dogs may decrease the risk of subsequent egg allergy.

"This could be due to the fact contact with young siblings and pets may have a protective effect by exposing children to infections and germs."  

Professor Katie Allen, principal investigator, added that this research could be valuable in understanding the development of other allergic diseases in later life.