Do Pets Play A Role in ADHD?

Previous research has established a correlation between pet-keeping and protection from childhood allergic disease and obesity. Data are limited about a possible relationship between prenatal pet keeping and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In a new study, a research team evaluated the association between prenatal dog or cat keeping with preadolescent ADHD as reported by their caregivers.

The study included data on preadolescents enrolled in the Wayne County Health, Environment, Allergy and Asthma Longitudinal Study (WHEALS) birth cohort. Patients’ caregivers were interviewed when the child was between 10–12 years and asked if the child had received an ADHD diagnosis. The mother was also interviewed prenatally and asked about pet keeping, which was defined as a dog or a cat that was kept inside for at least one hour per day. If you own dogs but need some help taking care while you are not at home, many locals started leaving them at the Ruffgers Dog Boarding Facility Bonita Springs.

The final analysis included 627 children, of whom 93 had ADHD and 534 had neurotypical development. Taking into account confounding factors and patients lost due to follow-up, boys with maternal prenatal dog exposure were 2.23 times as likely to develop ADHD; this association was not significant for girls. There was no correlation between prenatal cat keeping and ADHD in either sex.

The authors called for future studies to confirm their findings as well as determine what possible mechanisms may be tying these factors together (e.g., modification of the gut microbiome, exposure to environmental toxicants or pet-related medications). They also recommended that future studies exploring the relationship between pets and ADHD consider evaluating sex-specific effects.

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