Babies, who frequently interact with dogs, rarely suffer from ear infections and respiratory diseases compared to children whose homes are not animals are kept, according to a Finnish study.
The study does not explain why life in the company of dogs makes immune system of the baby during the first year of life stronger. Cats also seem to provide some protective effect on babies, although it is weaker than that of dogs.
The study involved 397 Finnish children whose parents gave daily information about their health during the first year of life, from 9 th to 52nd week. It turned out that babies whose homes live cats and dogs have 30 percent fewer symptoms of respiratory infection – cough and fever, and about 50 percent fewer symptoms of ear infections. If they have dog or cat, the children are in better health, assured the experts from the University Hospital in Kuopio, Finland.
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The defense is more effective in children who are 6 hours per day in the company of a dog at home, compared to their peers who do not own a dog or dogs which are constantly out.
“We provide the first evidence that owning a dog may have a protective effect against respiratory tract infections during the first year of life the baby,” said the study authors. “We assume that contact with animals enhance immune system, causing a more effective immune response and transient infections.”