I love my dog. Sara and I have often referred to Darla as our “baby before babies.” And while I realize nothing can compare to raising a child, Darla’s two moms both agree that our sweet little rescue dog has taught us a lot about the types of mothers we will be. Darla has been an intro course of sorts to Caretaking 101 for us.
The benefits of having a dog are many. And for those of us who love our four-legged friends, we hardly need another reason to think they’re the cat’s meow. But a recent study out of Finland just uncovered yet another plus to owning a pet: Babies are healthier with a pet in their lives.
After the jump, find out how having a pet can help your baby’s health, and what the study says about cats!
According to Medical News Today, “Babies who are in close contact with dogs or cats during their first twelve months of life were found to enjoy better health and were less likely to suffer from respiratory infections, compared to those without any pets in the house or no close contact with these animals.”
The babies with pets in their homes not only suffered less from respiratory illness and had fewer symptoms of these illnesses, but they also required shortened doses of antibiotics and had fewer ear infections than babies of the same age with no exposure to dogs.
Having a cat also showed to provide similar protections against respiratory infections, but not as much as having a dog. (The study doesn’t say so, but I’m pretty sure that’s because dogs are more cuddly than cats…)
In short, the Finnish study found that, “those with a pet dog in the house had the lowest risk of infections generally, as well as respiratory tract infections. Those with no pets in the house had the highest rates of infections… Early contact with animals impacts the maturation of the immune system in infants, resulting in shorter-lasting infections and better resistance to respiratory infections.”
So give your pooch an extra treat tonight, and thank her (or him!) for helping keep your bundle of joy healthy.
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make A Right