Is anyone planning on getting a puppy for their kids for Christmas? This is Neighbor Dog, we babysit her once a week. She is soooooo cute, I mean how can I resist that face? Especially when she looks up under those big bushy eyebrows!
At first, I was really nervous about having a dog in our house. Hubby and I and all 3 kids have allergies, and everyone but Hubby has asthma. So, when we started to babysit (or dog sit) Neighbor Dog, I wasn't so sure how it would turn out. It affected our allergies at first, but we seem better now. We don't sneeze and wheeze as much as we used to.
I just read an article in The Wall Street Journal, and I had to look at the title twice, because it said "How Dogs Might Protect Kids Against Asthma: Gut Bacteria."
Huh?! The first line in the article sums it up:
"Scientists studying why pets appear to protect kids against asthma and allergies say the answer might lie in the world of bacteria that live in the gut."
Like all experiments, they were done on mice. But the study showed that mice that were exposed to dust from households that have dogs, had a change in the gut microbes. When they were exposed to allergens, they had "significantly reduced allergic responses." (The mice didn't over-react to the dust!!)
Why is that important? Because with asthma, the body over-reacts (it's called hyper-responsiveness and hyper-reactivity) to things "normal" people (aka people who DON'T have allergies and asthma) experience.That's why some people can pet a cat or dog and it's not a big deal. But if someone with allergies and asthma pets a cat or dog, the body over-reacts. Our noses run, throat itches, eyes swell up, we start sneezing, and can have an asthma attack. All from just petting a dog or cat. Stupid bodies. Why do they have to do that??!!
So, it sounds like if you have a baby, and you have a dog, that being exposed to the dog will sort of de-sensitize the baby. It will help their immune system, so their bodies won't over-react to things they are exposed to. That's basically the same thing my kids had to do, but instead of living with a dog, they all had to have 5 year's worth of allergies shots to de-sensitize their bodies.
I'm not saying having a dog will replace allergy shots, but if it can help their bodies from over-reacting to allergies, I would do it! I mean, dogs are A LOT cuter than the needles they use for allergy shots.
Read the article for yourself, and let me know what you think. My teenagers are WAY to old to try getting a dog and see if it helps their allergic response. So, we'll keep dog-sitting Neighbor Dog. But, if and when my college aged sons get married, maybe they should consider getting a dog to protect their future families.....just a thought!