The amount of germs and dirt that is brought into a house by a dog actually causes the child's immune system to "mature faster"
If you're a dog owner and you have a new baby on the way, don't think you have to give away your dog. It turns out your baby may just be healthier with a canine friend in the home.
A recent Finnish study found that babies who lived with a dog (cats too, but to a lesser extent) experienced fewer illnesses such as ear infections, coughs or runny noses. In addition antibiotics were less likely to be needed than in the homes of infants without pets. (Photo: go.funpic.hu/WebmasterGrade.com)
According to the REUTERS report, Dr. Eija Bergroth of the Kupopio University Hospital in Finland studied 397 infants born there between September 2002 and May 2005 during their first year.
They found that "infants with no dog contact at home were healthy for 65% of parents' weekly diary reports. That compared to between 72% and 76% for those who had a dog at home." Also, the babies in "dog-owning families" were 44% less likely to get inner ear infections.
Citing the study, Dr. Bergroth stated that the amount of germs and dirt that is brought into a house by a dog actually causes the child's immune system to "mature faster" making them better able to defend against illnesses.
"In many ways, (the study is) saying, if you're exposed to a natural environment… your immune system recognizes that you don't fight the normal allergens," noted Dr. T. Bernard Kinane, of Boston's MassGeneral Hospital for Children.