Having A Dog Improves Children’s Health – Study

A study from Finland confirms that children growing up in homes with a dog are less prone to infections, including ear infections and respiratory infections:

Overall, babies in homes with cats or dogs were about 30 per cent less likely to have respiratory infectious symptoms – which included cough, wheezing, rhinitis (stuffy or runny nose) and fever – and about half as likely to get ear infections.

“If children had dog or cat contacts at home, they were significantly healthier during the study period,” said the study led by experts at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland.

The most protective association was seen in children who had a dog inside at home for up to six hours a day, compared to children who did not have any dogs or who had dogs that were always outside.’

How does this work?

It has been hypothesised that an immune system under-exposed to pathogens (as in a child protected from all infection) will function less effectively.

Exposing a child to infection (in small doses, obviously) can kick-start the immune system into higher gear (so to speak) making it work better.

This is what exposure to a dog can do.

Why are dogs better then cats or say, guinea pigs?

No reason, I suspect. It is simply a matter of children having greater physical contact with dogs then with other pets.

So if you want to get your child to be healthier – buy a dog.

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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