I love this article which I read at United-Academics.org.
Babies are healthier when there is a dog at home.
New research published in Pediatrics suggests that children living with a dog are significantly healthier than those living without it. The researchers followed up 397 Finnish children, asking their parents to fill in weekly questionnaires about their health until they were 1 year old. Scientists believe that this is so because dog contact helps the babies build up their immune system.
The results showed that children with a dog at home were healthy for about 73% of the time, while the percentage on children without a dog was of 65%. According to the study, the former ‘had fewer respiratory tract symptoms or infections’, as well as ‘less frequent otitis and tended to need fewer courses of antibiotics’ than those without dog contacts, according to Eija Bergroth, the study’s lead author and a pediatrician affiliated with Kuopio University Hospital in Kuopio, Finland.
Moreover, when dogs spent most of their time outside the home, the babies were healthier.
Dogs that spend a lot of time outside are likely to bring more dirt and bacteria inside the home compared with dogs that spend more time indoors. Researchers believe that exposure to dirt and bacteria builds up babies’ immune systems.
The study emphasizes the benefits of exposure to animals, at least when it comes to the so-called ‘man’s best friend’. The researchers also analyzed cat contacts, but it seems that the influence of cats on the baby’s health was weaker.