To Keep Baby Healthy, Get a Dog
Canine presence cuts infants' ear infection risk: study
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jul 9, 2012 8:09 AM CDT
Updated Jul 14, 2012 7:44 AM CDT
Having a dog around may help babies avoid infection, a study suggests.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The best preventive health care for your baby may come in canine form. A study focused on respiratory tract infections (like colds and ensuing ear infections) found that Finnish infants who lived with dogs were healthy 73% of the time during their first 12 months; for kids without dogs, the figure was 65%, the Wall Street Journal reports. The kids who were healthy most often (75.7% of the time) lived with dogs who spent at least 18 hours a day romping outdoors. That could be because those pups bring home more dirt and germs, which experts say can help boost a developing immune system.

Babies with dogs also needed fewer antibiotics, a researcher says. Overall, kids in homes with dogs had about a 30% lower risk of respiratory infection symptoms and about half the ear infection risk, the AFP notes. Cats, too, appeared to help babies' health, but the link was weaker. The study reviewed 397 kids born in the same hospital; research was based on weekly parental polls, starting when the baby was nine weeks old. But almost no one got off scot-free: Only 3% of babies didn't have a runny nose at some point.

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Showing 3 of 23 comments
Jul 14, 2012 4:42 PM CDT
Oh, not this kind of crap again. This is just poor science people. It's a small sample size from one area. It's hardly conclusive data. Correlation does not equal causation.
Jul 14, 2012 10:51 AM CDT
Only in 2012 do people think their kids can only be exposed to germs by buying them a pet. WALL-E will definitely be a reality. Only they will have fat pets sitting on those floating chairs with them. It will make them healthy.
Jul 14, 2012 9:24 AM CDT
What about cats? Just wondering!