Pets Make Kids Healthier

By Steele Quincy Bradshaw III

The list of reasons to add another furry member to the family continues to grow. A Finish study points to one simple and heartwarming conclusion. It turns out that pets are indeed healthy for your newborn child.

The study involving approximately 400 kids concluded that children who grow up with cats or dogs around are less liked to suffer from respiratory infections during their first year of life.

More specifically, the study found that the infants living with dogs developed 31 percent fewer respiratory tract symptoms or infections, 44 percent fewer ear infections, and received 29 percent fewer antibiotic prescriptions. Our favorite snuggle buddies can actually protect us from the common cold, as well as providing a cute and furry form of stress release.

Until this point, dogs have commonly been considered a health hazard to youngsters. It has been known, however, that both dogs and cats can cause lower allergy and asthma rates. This study has taken this a step further as well as dispelled any misconceptions of dogs creating a danger to health. The link between owning a pet dog and your children experiencing lower chances of infection have officially been established.

So why do dogs have this seemingly magical effect?  Researchers believe that the newfound health effect of dogs has something to do with the dirt and debris that pets carry; children are exposed to bacteria they do not typically encounter. As children begin to interact with the pet, sleep with it, and are exposed to constant licking, they are then also exposed to danders that help them develop a natural defense system. Some researchers, however, still believe that it may simply be something about dogs that has this effect on children. Cats, for instance, only have a very slight impact on the strength of the immune system. One potential reason, researchers believe, is that cats are less sociable animals than dogs. The overall study, however, is not entirely conclusive. Although the connection has been made between heightened immunity and dogs, the real reason has yet to be scientifically justified.  Also, the study may have been under some sort of experimental bias as researchers only looked at children in rural and suburban areas. Many updates have been promised by researchers continuing the study.

What does this mean? Well for now, don’t rush to buy a pet for health reasons to help your youngster. Just realize that there is no more need for fear of introducing a dog or cat into your home.