Skip to main content
Puppy with a kid on the staircase

Pets and child allergies

Q: I am pregnant for the first time, and I’m concerned that our child will develop allergies from growing up with our two cats. Should I find the cats a new home?

A: Multiple studies have proven that pets in the home actually protect children from allergies. A recent study shows that protection increases with the number of pets in the household.

The study followed nearly 1300 children from age 6 months until they were 8 to 9 years old. Researchers recorded the number of cats and dogs in the home and the children’s allergy episodes, including allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes), eczema and asthma.

They found that nearly half the children without pets developed allergies. By contrast, significantly fewer children who lived with pets during infancy experienced allergies as they grew up.

Moreover, the study showed that a larger number of pets in the home was associated with a lower incidence of allergy, which gradually declined to zero for children who lived with five or more pets.

These children were protected from both animal and pollen allergens, suggesting that the children’s immune systems learned to tolerate allergens from the animals themselves and the pollens they carried on their fur.

These findings are consistent with earlier studies that showed a decreased incidence of allergies in children who grew up on farms.

Your two cats will help lower the chance of your child developing allergies—but not as effectively as if you adopt three more pets.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by Reviews.com since 2017.

Man sitting on bench with his dog

We believe that seeking out the best...

Small dog being examined by veterinarian

At Figo, we hear this question often...

What do the Cockapoo, the Puggle, the...

Dog receiving treat from woman

August 8th is #NationalCBD day! At Figo...

Advertisement for pet insurance.

More From Figo Blog
Cat scratching on a cat post

You may have heard the phrase, “Cats can’t...

Puppy crate training in progress

There are many tools I utilize when training...

Small dog playing with toy

 

Your dog won’t come up to you...

Kristin Levine with dog

We recently had the opportunity to interview...

Dog and pet parent listening to music in front of speaker

Whether you’re rocking out to your favorite...

Woman drinking coffee and holding small cat near

On any given day, between 50 and 70 million...

Labrador Retriever retrieving a blue frisbee from the yard

One of the best things about owning a dog is...