Pets make for healthy baby

Study links presence of dog or cat at home to healthier children

Although researchers aren’t sure why, children whose families own a dog or cat during their first year of life are healthier than children in families without a pet, a study finds.

Research out of the Kuopio University Hospital in Finland followed 397 infants from birth to their first birthday, finding children growing up in an environment with a dog or a cat were sick less often with a cold or other respiratory infections, according to CBC News. Researchers suggested a link to hygiene theory, as houses with dogs that spent significant time inside and outside had the healthiest children, possibly because dogs were introducing the child to more germs.

“As the theory goes, the more a child is exposed to germs, the more their immune system matures and therefore the healthier they are as they grow up,” said Dr. Karl Kabasele, a CBC News medical correspondent.