Pet Pointers: Health benefits of having a pet during childhood
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We all know that there is a long list of benefits for adults to have a cat or a dog. A new study from Finland proves dogs can be a baby's best friend as well, especially when it comes to his health.
The study's findings were published in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers tracked almost 400 children from birth to 12 months. Of those children, 245 of them had a dog in the home as a baby; 136 of them had a cat. Researchers found that those babies who had early contact with dogs or cats were 30 percent less likely to experience coughs, ear infections and symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and congestion.
The one key finding that stood out: Babies born in homes with dogs were 44 percent less likely to develop ear infections and 29 percent less likely to have been given antibiotics in that first year compared with children without pets.
During the first year of life, the findings suggest animal contact is important, possibly leading to better resistance to infectious respiratory illnesses during later childhood as well.
There are many benefits of having animals around our kids. Caring for pets helps to teach responsibility and empathy and pets can also help kids and parents relax after a long day.