Dogs can help reduce the risk of asthma

Last updated at 06:53
A dog

Have you got a dog at home?

Well new research suggests having a dog reduces the risk of children getting asthma by 15%.

Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden also say being close to farm animals can reduce asthma by up to 50%.

Their findings suggest that living in too-clean conditions when you're a baby or child can increase the likelihood of developing allergy conditions such as asthma.

This is known as ''the hygiene hypothesis.''

The scientists looked at data on more than one million children born between 2001 and 2010 in Sweden, where people own dogs or farm animals.

It has to be registered by law so it's easy to check.

Every visit to a doctor and every prescription for medicine is also recorded.

One of the co-author's, Professor Catarina Almqvist Malmros, from Sweden's Karolinska Institute, said: "We know that children with established allergy to cats or dogs should avoid them.

But our results also show that children who grow up with dogs have reduced risks of asthma later in life.''