Growing Up with Pets Reduces Asthma Risk

Did you know that growing up with pets reduces your risk for asthma? Here's the scoop!

©Povorozmiuk Liudmyla | Getty Images
Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Natasha Medvetsky

A retrospective study published in March in the scientific journal PLOS One found that Japanese kids who grew up with dogs or cats in the home were about half as likely to develop asthma as children who did not live with pets.

The protective effects were similar for exposure to both dogs and cats, but in the case of dogs, exposure in the child’s first year of life is more critical. For cats, exposure at any age had a protective effect.

Researchers do not yet know the specific reason that exposure to pets might reduce the likelihood of developing asthma and allergies.

About the Author

Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown

Pet expert Jackie Brown has spent 20 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. She is contributing writer for National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian’s Approach to At-Home Animal Care (April 2019) and author of the book It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: Making Sense of Animal Phrases (Lumina Press, 2006). Jackie is a regular contributor to pet and veterinary industry media and is the former editor of numerous pet magazines, including Dog World, Natural Dog, Puppies 101, Kittens 101 and the Popular Cats Series. Prior to starting her career in publishing, Jackie spent eight years working in veterinary hospitals where she assisted veterinarians as they treated dogs, cats, rabbits, pocket pets, reptiles, birds and one memorable lion cub. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons and miniature poodle Jäger. Reach her at

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