Infants who repeatedly come into contact with dogs and cats during the first year of their life are less likely to suffer from respiratory tract symptoms or infections, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics on July 9.
The research suggests pet owners are more likely to have healthy children than non-pet owners, because the children of pet owners are exposed to communities of useful bacteria which pets carry and which help children develop their own important microbiologic cultures.
The study surveyed 397 children living in rural and suburban areas of Finland. When the infants were nine weeks old, parents began keeping weekly diaries to document a number of indicators of their children's health.
Kids with dogs were healthy roughly 75 percent of the time, while kids without dogs were healthy roughly 65 percent of the time.
"The children having dogs at home were healthier, they had less ear infections and they needed less antibiotics," said Eija Bergroth, the study's lead author and a pediatrician affiliated with Kuopio University Hospital in Kuopio, Finland.
by RTT Staff Writer
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