Gulf News readers participated on a discussion on our Facebook page. The topic was: According to recent medical studies, pets especially dogs and cats help toddlers to build their immune system, reduce possibility of asthma and improve social skills. Does this mean more people should keep pets? Readers had a mixed reaction. Some readers feel that pets are a must while others are hesitant because it restricts their freedom or because they feel pets are unhygienic. We present a selection of views.

A pet is a must

Pets bring love, companionship and health rewards to a family. All homes should have a pet of some kind; this teaches children to respect and love living beings. I have 18 cats and two dogs at home. I have rescued them from the streets of Dubai, as cruel ignorant people throw them away. My door is always open for more. Just to clarify, my home is still very lovely clean and hygienic. If anyone needs a cat just let me know I am fostering some at the moment!

From Ms Mel Savage


Dependant on owners

I absolutely agree. Pets are wonderful and numerous studies have shown the benefits of owning a pet. Dogs, for instance, have been proved to be able to detect cancer on their owner; reduce risk of eczema; help during seizures; protect people with extreme allergies and rehabilitate from illness. Needless to say, they are wonderful companions and a great addition to a family...However you must be willing to put in the time to care and love then otherwise don’t bother owning a pet, they are highly dependant on their owners and if you are not a pet person you should not get one. Despite the numerous benefits of owning a pet they are not toys and shouldn’t be adopted for the wrong reasons.

From Ms Talicia Correa

Abu Dhabi

Systemic desensitisation

I think this one’s called systemic desensitisation? Like if chicken usually gives you hive, it is much more okay to continue eating it than avoiding it because eventually your immune system will develop tolerance to the allergens. On the issue of pets improving social skills, I don’t think pets play a vital role.

From Ms Eriko Pleyto



The question over here is very complicated. If medical reports have shown such results then of course it is advisable to have keep pets. However pets must not be kept with the idea that they will help us morally and physically. They should be kept only out of love and care because once we start thinking of ourselves we become cruel to the pets. Therefore if we keep pets out of love and passion both we and the pets are at gain.

From Ms Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury


Unconditional love

People who have never had pets have never been loved unconditionally. They are missing out on something big in life.

From Mr Derek John Mulder


Complete a family

Pets are not dirty! They are the ones who love you without asking for any sort of return. They are clever and loving. I have a dog, but he is not a pet, he is family. I feel sorry for people in Dubai, who don’t like pets, especially dogs. I have noticed people often look at dogs with disgust and hate. I feel sorry that they never have and never will experience the love from an animal. My dog sleeps in my bed, lives inside my home; I cuddle him everyday and guess what I’m still alive and completely healthy. Moreover, I’m happy.

From Ms Cristina Elena


Home away from home

Pets help reduce anxiety and stress level especially if you live far away from your family.

From Ms Rubi Backer



I agree that pets might be great companions, but at the same time I don’t believe in housing them as I want them to be free. Freedom is a right of every living being.

From Mr Sahil Bothra


Live longer

In came across a study entitled ‘the truth about aging’ and the findings said that people who have pets live longer than those who don’t.

From Mr Akram Ayyash


Be responsible

Of course, everyone should have pets. But if you can’t take care of them you better not have them. Pet owners have to take care of these innocent lives.

From Ms M. L. Ida



I don’t think so… Animals are dirty as they go to dirty places and pick up all the germs. If anyone touches animals, they can get infected by harmful viruses.

From Mr Muhammad Sarkar

Doha, Qatar

False information

I am sorry, but I disagree. Pets are not dirty or infected. I have had both cats and dogs my entire life. When my children were babies and also now, my children never fell sick from any virus that my pets would have brought home. In fact my children use to play with them all day and also end up sleeping with them.

From Ms Anna-Karin Marquard

Ras Al Khaimah

Allow pets in buildings

Yes I agree that pets make a home a better place to live in. However, I wish we were allowed to keep pets in buildings in Dubai.

From Mr George Francis



I am not to sure about this statement. At home, we grew up with pets both cats and dogs, but my brother still got asthma.

From Mr Imraan Turpin


Positive atmosphere

I agree! Pets don’t only teach children, but also adults to love and take care of other living beings. Gradually they help developing a happier n positive atmosphere at home.

From Ms Nisha Khiara


Can be allergic

It seems true, because being exposed to germs makes our immune system stronger. Also we should let our kids play in dirt and dust. There isn’t much scientific evidence in medical literature to suggest that dogs or cats currently available are non-allergenic. As long as cats and dogs have allergen proteins in their skin, saliva, blood and urine, exposure can aggravate allergies. Pet dander can cause allergy symptoms through indirect contact (airborne allergen inhaled into the nose and lungs) or by transfer of the dander directly to nasal or ocular mucosa by direct contact with pet allergen from contaminated hands or clothing. Sebaceous glands in the skin also produce these protein allergens. Male cats and dogs have greater amounts of secretion and are often more allergenic than females or neutered males. Most people believe airborne pet fur/hair causes allergy symptoms, which is not actually the case. Airborne saliva and urine-derived proteins are a major source of pet allergen.

From Mr Zen Khan


Be careful

Pets are good for people. They are a source of joy and can help improve our health. Beyond this, they also help teach children basic values and social skills. But it’s also true that some pets carry diseases that can be dangerous for young children. Reptiles such as turtles, lizards and snakes, often carry salmonella, a kind of bacteria germ.

From Mr Amin Afridi

Abu Dhbai

Home them

Yes everybody should go and adopt a kitten or puppy from your local animal shelter and give an abandoned life a loving home.

From Mr Steve Mc. T.


Keeping sane

I love my cats. They help keep me sane.

From Ms Andy Trevathan


Feeling better

Yes! In our home we do not view them as pets but as family. My brother had asthma as a child, but we grew up with dogs and it just got better.

From Ms Nikki Angeli Sarmiento



If the recent studies show that pets do more good than harm, then why not. So as long as pets are vaccination and all safety precautions are in place, we should have pets.

From Ms Vini Cayas

Batangas City, Philippines

No more asthma

I have suffered from asthma all my life. But since I bought home some cats, I haven’t had a single attack. I have become tolerant to smoke and pollution. So I agree with this statement to a great extent!

From Ms Ayesha A. K.


Better than humans

Yes absolutely! It’s so good to have animals around. They teach compassion, friendship and unconditional love! I wish humans did the same.

From Ms Cristina Sibaldi Fraser

Milan, Italy

Treat them well

Yes I do agree with the statement, but this country treats animals so badly that it’s disgusting. I have two cats and my two year old loves them. Pets are wonderful! They bring happiness home.

From Ms Samantha Yvonne Davies


Social skills

Sometimes the only time I see pleasure on my child’s face is when he sees pets. Pets definately improve social skills of children.

From Mr Zeeshan Mohammad

Abu Dhabi

Welcome home

We have two dogs, and when you come home, they always welcome you with a happy swinging tale. I can’t say the same about my two daughters in puberty. Hence, I love dogs.

From Mr Peter Rutjes


Editor’s note: Would you like to participate in our Facebook discussions and debates? Share your opinion on topics that might interest you on our Facebook page.