PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dogs may provide more than furry friendship.

A new study found babies who are exposed to dogs in the home before birth may get some protection from eczema.

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The study examined mother-child pairs exposed to a dog. “Exposure” was defined as keeping one or more dogs indoors for at least one hour daily.

We found a mother’s exposure to dogs before the birth of a child is significantly associated with lower risk of eczema by age 2 years, but this protective effect goes down at age 10,” says allergist Edward M. Zoratti, MD, ACAAI member and a study co-author.

Another study says dogs may also provide protections against asthma, even in children allergic to dogs.

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Researchers believe that a child’s contact with factors other than dog allergen, such as bacteria or other unknown factors, may provide the protection against asthma.

However, researchers say people with dog allergies should work with their allergists to reduce exposure.