Dear Christopher Cat
We don’t have pets, but our day care provider has two cats and a dog. I’m concerned our son will develop allergies from spending so many hours at her house. Is there some supplement I can suggest that she give her pets to make them hypoallergenic?
Don’t worry about your son.
Recent studies have shown that children exposed to cats and dogs early in life are less likely to develop allergies and asthma than children deprived of pets.
In one study, over 400 children whose mothers or fathers had asthma were followed for five years. Children exposed to cats as babies were less likely to be asthmatic at age five than children who were not exposed to cats. The only children who wheezed when exposed to cats were some of the children whose mothers had asthma.
In another study of over 3400 children, researchers found that children with cats – and to a lesser degree, dogs – were less likely to have asthma than children without pets.
However, children who were already allergic before they got a cat were not helped by being exposed to cats.
So relax and let your son enjoy the pets. We can be good influences!