Evid Based Nurs 16:103 doi:10.1136/eb-2012-101046
  • Child health
  • Cohort study

Contact with dogs during the first year of life is associated with decreased risk of respiratory illness

Editor's Choice
  1. Anne C van der Gugten
  1. Department of Paediatric Pulmonology, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to : Cornelis K van der Ent
    Department of Paediatric Pulmonology, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht, Lundlaan 6, Utrecht 3508 AB, The Netherlands; K.vanderent{at}

Commentary on:

Implications for practice and research

  • Early dog contacts are associated with fewer respiratory infections in infants, especially otitis, but not wheezing after adjustment for possible confounders.

  • Early animal contacts are important, possibly leading to changes in immune development and a better resistance to infectious respiratory diseases in infants.

  • Future research is needed to explore the mechanism of the favourable effect of dog exposure and whether similar results occur over a longer period.


Several groups have studied the associations between animal contacts early in life and asthma and allergic diseases in childhood.1 Reports on the association between pet exposure …

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