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Pets: Do They Enhance Our Immunity?

By Vidhi Desai, Calvin Leung, Ye Rin Lim, Julie M. Fagan

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Pets can be highly beneficial to the human health and may even aid in the development of the human immune system. Our study specifically targets the area of pet ownership and its effects on the immune system’s capabilities of different age and ethnic groups. To examine this, we conducted a survey at pet events and Rutgers University. In our pilot study of 136 responses, we found that pet ownership decreased the frequency of illness which varied amongst ethnic groups when compared to non-pet owners as blacks and hispanics had a higher rate of sickness than any other ethnic groups. Children ages 3 to 6 had the lowest rates of sickness, sickness length and allergies and may have developed a stronger immune system as a result of pet exposure at an early age. For a significant result, a big sample size, possibly nationwide, study and further research must be performed. We recommend that a much larger study be conducted to determine whether household pets affect the duration and frequency of illness across age and suggest that a
separate, more definitive, survey be done to examine how ethnicity affects the relationship between pet ownership and immunity.


Katie Carroll

Date 2012
Pages 34
Publisher Rutgers University
Department Animal Science
Language English
University Rutgers University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Health
  3. Human health
  4. Illnesses
  5. Immune system diseases
  6. Immunity
  7. Mammals
  8. pet care
  9. Pet ownership
  10. Pets and companion animals