Impact of dog and/or cat ownership on functional constipation at 3 years of age: the Japan Environment and Children's study

BMC Pediatr. 2023 Nov 23;23(1):595. doi: 10.1186/s12887-023-04412-4.


Purpose: This investigation assessed the impact of dog and/or cat ownership during infancy on the presence of functional constipation (FC) at 3 years of age.

Methods: The fixed data of 73,936 singleton births from a large national birth cohort study commencing in 2011 were used to identify FC as estimated by Rome III at 3 years of age. Multiple logistic regression analysis was employed to search for correlations between FC development and dog and/or cat ownership in early childhood.

Results: A total of 8,459 toddlers (11.6%) met the Rome III criteria for FC at 3 years of age. Overall, 57,264 (77.5%) participants had never owned a dog or cat. We identified 7,715 (10.4%) infant-period owners, 1,295 (1.8%) current owners, and 7,762 (10.5%) long-term owners. Multivariate analysis showed that infant-period ownership remained significantly associated with the risk of developing FC at 3 years of age after adjusting for covariates (adjusted OR [95% CI] 1.09 [1.01-1.19] based on non-ownership).

Conclusions: This Japanese large nationwide survey uncovered a possible adverse effect of infant-period dog and/or cat ownership prior to 6 months of age on FC status at 3 years of age.

Keywords: Cat; Children; Dog; Functional constipation; Pet ownership.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Ownership*
  • Pets*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires