The One Health-related Reason You Should Consider Getting a Pet
You may be considering getting a pet, like a cat or a dog, but you are not sure because you are also considering having a family and you have heard that raising kids with animals may increase your offsprings’ chances of developing pet allergies. I am here to tell you that actually, more and more studies that come out show that exactly the opposite happens and actually infants that grow in an environment around furred friends are less likely to develop allergies and asthma.
I was one of the luckiest kids on Earth and I mean it! I grew up on a farm surrounded by animals, woods, and plants. Being exposed to bacteria and dirt from a young age helped me develop the necessary antibodies to grow healthy with no occurrences of allergies and asthma or any other of the modern disease that seem to affect the younger population today.
However, as a healthy teenager when I moved to the city, I was in awe to see how many individuals my age had allergies to peanuts or other types of food, animals, and dust. The most bizarre allergy of all, I thought, was to pollen. Allergy to pollen? I could not comprehend it. I have never heard of allergies before moving to the city and I was meeting all those people that could not be around trees and animals that was so crucial in my life while I was growing up.
An overwhelming amount of research on scientific platforms reinforces that children raised around animals or being exposed even from the time they were in mummy’s tummy are less likely to develop allergies and asthma. Specifically, when scientists analyzed the blood of babies immediately after birth and a year later, they discovered that not only infants were 33% less likely to develop pet allergies but also they had a stronger immune system and were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition.
A study in Australia showed that pet owners seem to visit doctors less frequently and take fewer medications compared to individuals that do not own a pet, meaning that pet owners tend to be overall healthier.
If you are debating whether you should get a pet, then the simple answer is get one. It is pivotal for your health.
I understand that living in the city comes with some restrictions such as not in all houses pets are allowed and not all neighborhoods have a farm nearby. Don’t worry though, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you raise healthy kids.
If you are pregnant or have just had a baby, make sure to plan regular visits to parks, hills or the beach. Some may be easier accessible to you than others but all are important for a healthy development of a baby. More and more cities have created small areas where they host farm animals such as sheep, pigs, ponies, chickens, so pay them a visit at least monthly and if you are put off by the smell then think that it is for the greater good of your family. Last but not least, allow your kids to get dirty, it is beneficial for building a strong immune system.