SureBaby Blog

Pets Keep Babies Healthy, Study Shows

Posted by Alissa Robson

Score another point for being a dog person! A new study out of Finland shows that babies who are raised with dogs suffer less often from common ailments.

The study was conducted on 397 babies born between September 2002 and May 2005. It followed them for their first year of life, and parents were asked to keep weekly diary entries starting when the baby was nine weeks old. The entries were to include information on the baby’s overall health, as well as the type of contact they had with cats and dogs.

The study found that babies of families who owned dogs had fewer weeks overall of sicknesses such as ear infections, runny noses and coughs, and were less likely to be prescribed antibiotics than babies from homes that were pet-free.

Cat findings were also positive, though not to the extent of the dog findings.

"These results suggest that dog contacts may have a protective effect on respiratory tract infections during the first year of life," said the study’s lead author Eija Bergroth.

“A possible explanation for this interesting finding might be that the amount of dirt brought inside the home by dogs could be higher in these families because (the dog) spent more time outdoors," it was further explained in the research.

For full breakdown of the statistical impacts of owning a dog or cat and having a baby, the study is published in Pediatrics, the online journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For now, though, we want to hear from our pet-owning parents – did having a dog or cat seem to decrease your child’s sick time? How else is having a pet beneficial to babies?

Share your thoughts in the SureBaby comments!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.