Pets make for healthier babies - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Pets make for healthier babies

A new study finds babies who lived with a dog or cat during the first year of life were healthier than babies with no dog or cat.

Researchers in Finland found that babies up to a year old in homes with dogs were not only healthier overall, but also had fewer respiratory tract symptoms and fewer infections.

"One question that I get asked a lot as a pediatrician, is can I have a dog in the house," said Dr. Emma Raizman, a Pediatrician at the Cleveland Clinic. "I have this new baby. Is that going to be a problem. So this article really shows that in that first year it can actually be a good thing to have them both together."

Dr. Raizman did not participate in the study, but as she tells us, researchers believe that a dog, and to a lesser extent cats, help a babies immune system mature faster. That means fewer runny noses and doctor visits.

"Now you always want to make sure for safety reasons you never leave your baby alone with your dog, but when it comes to the immune system having a dog in the home can help with that," Dr. Raizman added.                         

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