Dog Lovers Rejoice! Healthier Babies Linked to Dog-Owning Families
July 30, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Besides being man’s best friend, dog’s may be also serve to protect infants against not only breathing problems, but also infections, according to a new study out of Europe.
Researchers from the Kuopio University Hospital in Finland found that Finland babies who lived with a dog, had fewer weeks with runny noses, coughs, and ear infections.
“These results suggest that dog contacts may have a protective effect on respiratory tract infections during the first year of life,” wrote lead author Eija Bergroth and colleagues at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland.
“Our findings support the theory that during the first year of life, animal contacts are important, possibly leading to better resistance to infectious respiratory illnesses during childhood,” Bergroth further commented.
Specifically, babies without dog contact at home were free from illness for 65 percent of the study period, while 74 percent on average of infants were healthy who had a dog at home. Infants in dog-owning households were 29 percent less likely to require antibiotics and 44 percent less likely to develop inner ear infections than there no-dog family counterparts.
“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,” wrote the researchers.
The benefits may stem from the germs and dirt a dog brings into a household that may help an infant’s immune system to develop and mature faster. A maturer immune system makes it better to defend against both bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory problems.
Not all research to date agrees that exposure to dogs helps protect young children against respiratory and breathing problems, the research is trending in that way.
The authors report appears in the journal Pediatrics.
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