A Finnish study has shown that growing up with a dog in the house improves the immune response of babies. Early respiratory infections, gastroenteritis and allergic reactions are reduced.
If a man has type one diabetes his chance of passing this on to his children is one in three. Maternal type one diabetes also increases the risk of type one in children but to a much lesser degree. Genetic susceptibility is reduced to a small extent if the baby is brought up in a house where the dog lives in the house. Unfortunately cats don’t confer the same benefit.
Reported in JAMA Paediatrics 2014 and BMJ 19th July 2014