There are many pros of owning pets for children’s development. A child who has a pet to take care of can feel confident and learn to care for the environment and all living creatures. But can it positively affect the child’s health and, in particular, prevent the development of respiratory problems such as asthma? Yes!
Asthma and How Deadly It Is
Many people know that asthma is a lung disease. Due to high air pollution, more and more children suffer from it. Actually, lots of adults have had asthma ever since childhood. But what does this disease do? What does it take away from people?
Well, it deprives them of a chance for a normal life. Parents of children with this disease are often withdrawn and abstain from social activities because they focus all their energy on caring for their little ones. On the physical side, these children often experience attacks in the form of breathlessness, very often chest tightness, and wheezing.
Their sleep is disturbed by a persistent cough that continues into the early morning. How dangerous is it? It depends on the person and how much the lungs are damaged.
Although we do not know for sure what causes the disease, studies have found that it can be genetics, environment, and occupation. If a person develops asthma, they always have it, and only in the case of lung damage do the symptoms manifest.
What worries many parents of sick children are asthma attacks. Common triggers are mold, air pollution, smoke, dust mites, pets, and flu. Of course, these are not the only triggers but one of the most common. Of particular concern is the information that ten in every million people die in the U.S. of asthma attacks.
Is Asthma Common Among Children?
Asthma is known to be the most common chronic disease among children. Today, 6.1 million children under the age of 18 suffer from it. Among them, about 3.5 million have experienced an attack or episode, which presents a series of events that affect breathing difficulties.
Today, the world has become lazy. People use machines and technology for everything, which additionally pollutes the air. Consider that people don’t care about the environment too much either. Many of them do not use eco-friendly products and do not choose to go on foot, even to the gym, which is 20 minutes from home.
All that laziness leads to bad air quality and sensitive children. Thanks to genetics and other factors mentioned in the text, children with disabilities need to be very careful. In addition to mold, air pollution, smoke, dust mites, pets, and flu, there are also stress, excitement, temperature change, and exercise that might cause asthma.
How Owning a Pet Helps Prevent Asthma
There is a popular opinion that owning pets can help prevent asthma. So, where did that come from? A Swedish study that tracked 650,000 children came to that conclusion. That is, children exposed to farm animals, including dogs, were quite healthier.
Young children exposed to a dog as a pet in the first year of life are at a 13% lower risk of developing asthma later in life. Pet hair is one of the most common allergens among children, so, logically, exposure to it reduces the possibility of developing allergies.
Pets also have a positive effect on depression and stress, and the child’s immune system thus gets protected from many diseases. Of course, if the child is already allergic to pet hair, it is not a good idea to bring any pet into the house.
Is It Scientifically Proven?
There are many pros to owning a pet. Exposure to pet allergens helps to develop a good immune system. A strong immune system successfully deals with almost all the accidents that one may encounter.
And this was not only researched by the Swedish study but also by many others. Scientists from Michigan have concluded that household dogs lead to changes in gut microbes. The scientist, Dr. Susan Lynch, researched mice because the internal system in mice is most similar to humans.
She exposed the mice to dust taken from the house where the dogs live every day. The result was a reshape of microbes that live in a mices’ gut. Also, within the gut of these mice, she found special types of bacteria that protect the airways from many allergens.
After determining this, the scientists exposed the mice to cockroaches and protein allergens. They found that mice that had previously breathed the dust from a house where a dog moves daily were less likely to develop asthma. That is, asthma-associated inflammatory responses were very low.
Benefits That You Get From Owning Pets
There are some facts about owning pets that go in favor of the health of both children and adults. Since we found that scientific research has proved that children who grow up with a dog at home have a lower risk of developing asthma, let’s present a few more facts.
Asthma prevention through owning pets — this is not just something people say. It is based on solid foundations that educated people provided us with after years of study. But there are many other pros to owning pets. These little furries (or other kinds of pets) friends help keep our health good overall.
Pets separate children from technology and help them embrace childhood the strongest. They occupy them and make them active. When a child wants a pet, we must explain some things to them. For example, a dog will need its daily walks. Fresh air is also good for your children’s lungs.
And, there’s vitamin D and developing motor skills when we’re out. When children are out, they express themselves in the most creative ways, researching and spending excess energy. Such children are less often emotionally shaken because they are in close contact with nature. Sometimes, technology can make a child nervous and develop aggression.
The child with his pet will also learn the importance of caring for other living beings. They will be happy and satisfied when they feed their pet. They will learn that obligations can be fun, and they will build great self-confidence.