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Study: Having cats or dogs can reduce children’s chance of food allergies

These products help ensure furry friends’ shedding won’t get in the way of their positive health impact

A new study has found that having certain pets in the home during pregnancy and infancy might reduce the child's risk of developing food allergies. Cats and dogs specifically have been linked to a variety of positive health benefits for both owners and their children. However, pet ownership comes with many responsibilities, including shedding pet hair. These products let you pursue a healthier life for your family, no matter how many furry friends it includes.

In this article: Furminator De-Shedding Tool for Large Dogs with Short Hair, Burt’s Bees for Cats 2-in-1 Double Sided Pin and Bristle Brush and Shark Rocket Pet Plus Corded Stick Vacuum.

About the study

The Japanese study evaluated data from more than 90,000 households, including 65,000 children. It concluded that exposure to cats or indoor dogs during early childhood development was associated with a reduced risk of the baby developing food allergies — up to 16% lower risk. Cats were linked to reducing the risk of allergies to eggs, milk and nuts, while dogs were linked to eggs, wheat and soy.  

The mechanism is believed to be connected to the child’s gut microbiome, which is the beneficial bacteria that live within the digestive system. The microbiome affects the immune system, so having exposure to pets can strengthen that microbiome and children’s immune responses, preventing the development of allergies.

Other studies have connected pet ownership with lower rates of atopic dermatitis as well as asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Having pets in the household also contributes to a general increase in psychological well-being.

While the effect of pets on childhood food allergies is still being studied, researchers hope that these findings reassure new parents who are also pet owners. 

How to manage pet hair

Regular grooming is the best way to nip shedding in the bud. Brush your pet’s coat with an appropriately sized brush or comb that features the right kind of bristles for their coat type. Dogs with an undercoat may need a special de-shedding brush to trap the fine hairs as they start to shed during warmer weather. Regular bathing can also help wash away shedding hair. Talk to your veterinarian for guidance on appropriate grooming tools for your pet.

Along with frequent vacuuming, try lint rollers, duct tape or even ordinary rubber gloves to capture pet hair on hard surfaces and upholstery. For your floors, try pet hair removal brooms with rubber bristles that collect hairs without scratching your floor.

Best pet grooming brushes 

Furminator De-Shedding Tool for Large Dogs with Short Hair

Sized for dogs 51 to 90 pounds, this tool features a stainless steel edge that gently removes your dog’s undercoat to reduce shedding by up to 90%. Push the button to eject collected hair for easy, mess-free cleanup.

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Furminator Adjustable De-Matter Dog and Cat Tool

This versatile tool can be used on both dogs and cats to safely and easily remove matted hair. The ergonomic, nonslip grip gives users more control, and the button adjusts the tool to different coat lengths and types.

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CeleMoon Cat Brush

This grooming brush is made from soft, flexible silicone, so it’s comfortable for cats and users alike. Its compact, round shape includes a built-in handle for a comfortable, secure grip.

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Burt’s Bees for Cats 2-in-1 Double-Sided Pin and Bristle Brush

Featuring pin bristles on one side and soft hemp bristles on the other, this brush helps remove shedding hair from cats while making their coat smooth and shiny. Plus, it’s made from eco-friendly hemp and bamboo along with recycled materials.

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Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush for Dogs and Cats

It’s easy to clean this brush thanks to a button that extends and retracts the bristles with each use, separating the hair and minimizing scratched surfaces. It’s available in different sizes and with rubber-tipped bristles for pets with sensitive skin.

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Best dog grooming products 

Oster Golden A5 Two-Speed Animal Grooming Clippers

These grooming clippers are a great starter pair if you want to be able to trim your dog’s hair at home. The sturdy design features virtually unbreakable plastic and the CryogenX blade boasts extended durability and smoother, tug-free clipping.

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Flying Pig High-Velocity Dog Grooming Dryer

If your dog has a double coat, a dog dryer can help them dry off faster after a bath. This durable machine is made from stainless steel and features a 10-foot hose with two nozzles and a filter.

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iPettie Pet Hair Dryer with Slicker Brush

This dog dryer comes with a slicker brush and fur removal tool to help detangle and de-shed small dogs after bath time. The combination tool is easy to use and quiet so it won’t scare your dog.

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Best vacuums for pet hair

Shark Rocket Pet Plus Corded Stick Vacuum

This feature-packed stick vacuum makes it easy to clean up pet fur on all surfaces thanks to its extra-large dirt cup, LED headlights and special pet attachments. Its Advanced Swivel Steering helps it reach into corners and under furniture.

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Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum

Quickly and easily clean up pet hair with this convenient cordless vacuum. Three layers of filtration help catch dirt and debris, while the included specialized pet tools make it easy to clean stairs, upholstery and more.

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Samsung Jet Bot Plus Robot Vacuum Cleaner with Clean Station

Daily vacuuming is recommended to keep up with pet hair, but if that doesn’t fit with your schedule, consider a robotic vacuum such as this self-emptying one. Its HEPA filter traps 99.99% of dust and it easily cleans both hard surfaces and carpet.

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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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