The aim of this paper was to study the effect of pers and other domestic animals on bronchial asthma among United Arab Emirates (UAE) schoolchildren aged 6-14 years. A cross-sectional study of 850 schoolchildren living in both urban and rural areas (average age 9.36 +/- 2.11 years, 46.8% boys and 53.2% girls) was conducted using self-administered questionnaires between October 1992 and May 1993. Prevalence rate for asthma, rhinitis, wheeze, cough, and eczema in children from families with and without animals were investigated. A total of 40.7% of families studied were found to keep animals in their homes. Children from families with animals were found to have a significantly higher prevalence rate of respiratory symptoms than those without. The prevalence rate for asthma in children with animals was found to be twice that of children without (RR: 2.03; 95% Cl: 1.40-2.951. The risk of having chronic cough (RR: 1.93; 95% Cl: 1.21-3.10), breathlessness/chest tightness (RR: 2.53; 95% Cl: 1.59-4.02), chronic wheeze (RR: 2.10; 95% Cl: 1.20-3.67), allergic rhinitis (RR: 1.53; 95% Cl: 1.17-2.00) was significantly higher in children with animals than in children without. Similarly, the risk of having eczema (RR: 2.55; 95%, Cl: 1.74-3.75) was significantly higher among children with animals than among those without. Overall, there was a highly statistically significant difference in the prevalence of asthma, wheeze, nocturnal cough, eczema and rhinitis between children in families with animals and those without (p < 0.0001). It is concluded that unlike what is alleged to be known, a large proportion of the national population (40.7%) kept animals at home, and that was an important aggravating factor, which should be considered in the management of asthma in the UAE.